I did just that. most of the replies read like this;
The reason I found this thread was because I was searching on google to find why I was having so much trouble downshifting into first from second at a reasonable speed. This is needed, especially in critcally important situations, because this car has a LOT of turbo lag, and it's hard to pull at 10mph in 2nd gear. When you've slowed down to enter an intersection, and then realize you have time to make a left turn if you go quickly, and begin to go, can't shift to first, go back to second, floor it, and get nothing because of turbo lag... that is a serious safety problem caused by a bad transmission.
First off, the reason many people talked about going into 2nd before 1st from a standstill in other cars: most gearboxes are a combination crashbox and synchro'd box, with synchros on all gears except 1st and reverse. Since these gears are only needed (theoretically) from a standstill, you don't really need synchros. Therefore, shifting into second allows you to get the drive shaft (I believe I have this the right way) moving at close to the speed of the first gear so that you can then shift to first more easily.
The WRX, however, has a "fully sychromeshed" gearbox, according to the manual. That, I assume, means that every gear, even first and reverse, has sychnros.
Now, if there's a block, an actual bar that steps in and prevents you from going into first from above 10 mph, that would be one thing. But that's not the case, because people are reporting a grinding sound, which indicates the synchro is NOT working. (No matter how you cut it, a grinding synchro is NOT a safety feature). That's called permanent damage. Anyone saying that Subaru made the car to grind in order to save the engine is making a logical mistake, because that would trade the gearbox for the engine. Further, I'd rather burn out the first gear than total the whole car because I can't hit first and the engine bogs and I get nailed making a low speed left turn. That saves the gearbox but wrecks the whole car. Not good either.
So, does first have a synchro? If so, why can't you shift into it at a reasonable speed? If the engine can stand doing 30mph in 1st (which I'm pretty sure is possible) why can't you shift into it? If I shove the hell out of the gear and make it engage, the engine can take it. So am I meant to shove the gear? This is what you'd do in a Porsche, and let their best-around synchros do the work.
As for the lag, this is not a naturally aspirated Ferrari or a twin turbo Porsche. The twin turbo can be tuned to cut down on lag. This is instead a car with a big, laggy turbo, that needs gearing to keep it in the right rev range. You don't want to be sitting at 2k rpms waiting for the turbo to hit, because you'll be waiting a long time. That's when you need to downshift. I've driven other turbos (Saab 93, Audi 1.8T, VW GTI 1.8T, and Mazda RX-7) and they have less lag, especially the RX-7 with twin sequential turbo. The WRX has more power (maybe not than the 7), but the lag is greater.
To sum it up, there are times when the 2-1 downshift is necessary, no matter how good a driver you are. The turbo lag makes the downshift necessary. Blipping might work, by why is it needed? (And no, this is a bug, not a feature.) So what to do? Cram it into gear? Blip, even though it's slower? Take it to the dealer? Never drive at under 30 mph? (From NASIOC)
MOST of the posts I read lean towards what I said. Using the words "bug" "fault" to describe this "flaw". After more digging (more than I really wanted to) I found a few posts to support what you said. This is probably the reason I never heard of this as a FEATURE.
The sensation is as hard to forget as it is to ignore!!!