I’ve driven all sorts of exotic cars around my patch of south London and I can’t remember any of them giving me such an energetic pounding. Smooth-ish roads offer no respite, and even at relatively low speeds the WRX affects the ride of a much more serious machine. This is insincere, fetishistic nastiness, the faux fury of a middle manager who’s watched too much of The Apprentice, or a rural pub chef swearing at a waitress because he saw Gordon Ramsey do it once. Unpleasant but in a derivative, inauthentic way.
It doesn’t have to be like this. We know that a road car can be dynamically brilliant without inflicting pain on its occupants. We’ve driven the Ford Focus RS, the Renault Megane RS, a handful of souped-up Volkswagen Golfs, the Seat Leon Cupra R, and all the other £30,000ish performance models. I drove a Honda Civic Type R from London to the Isle of Man to Belfast and then back via Scotland, and I complained about it being a bit rumbly; I can’t imagine how grim that journey would be in the Subaru.