I just received the Sept. issue of Car and Driver, which has a WRX v. GTI comparo. They liked the WRX and found it faster and "fractionally more fun to drive" than the GTI around their closed loop, but cited uneven power delivery, a "touchy throttle," a harsh suspension, tire and wind noise, and "wander[ing] on the highway" as downsides. The GTI's steering, ride quality, interior, and general refinement gave it the win: "The GTI blunts the WRX's small outright performance advantage...by delivering spectacular steering, excellent brake feel, and ride quality that is so much better than the WRX's that it more than erases the Subie's small handling edge." In short, they said the "GTI doesn't extract payment for its performance the way that the WRX does," and called the latter a "one note experience with some regrettable side effects." Still, they did like the WRX. They said for "good and ill, the new WRX is a great WRX, wholly consistent with its lineage," and that it's a "distinct flavor that's not really offered elsewhere."
I haven't driven either, but given everything else I've read about the WRX, I was surprised C&D cited such a large gap in comfort, ride quality, etc. I would expect the GTI to win those areas, but not so dramatically given the WRX's improvement and how livable the last generation seemed. (I tested the 2010 WRX, and it was smoother and quieter than I expected.) I was also disappointed that, due to its earlier defeat at the hands of the GTI, the Focus ST was omitted. I understand the rationale for an "elimination tournament" approach to comparisons, but I'd still like to know how they think the Focus and WRX compare to each other.
Why? Because after my experience with a Jetta GLX VR6, I won't buy another VW unless I'm thoroughly convinced their reliability woes are in the rear view mirror. I'm far from convinced. So, for me it comes down to the WRX and Focus ST in this segment, and I'm really curious about the changes to the 2015 Focus ST, especially the new steering rack. (I have tested the 2014 ST, and loved it, but with all else being equal I'd prefer AWD, and, having sat in the new STI, I strongly prefer the Subaru's more straightforward controls.)
Unfortunately, for family hauling purposes I probably won't be able to choose the WRX or the ST, even though it's my favorite class of car. I'll probably end up in the new Acura TLX with the I4/8DCT.
Anyway, I thought you'd like to know the article is out there, and for those of you who have driven both, I'm curious what you think of C&D's views.