The Competitive WRX
It’s well known that Subaru has a thing for extremely limited Japanese market editions. Last year it introduced a more powerful, lighter, and better handling WRX STI called the Spec C as a result of European Group N homologation rules. After heeding the requests of many customers who weren’t quick enough to buy one of the original 1000 units, Subaru has released another run, this time as a permanent model.
In essence, the new Spec C is the same as last year’s. Differentiating it from the regular JDM-issue STI is a highly efficient ball bearing turbocharger, retuned ECU, aluminum hood, laminar window glass, and a smaller, lighter battery. Engineers also increased oil flow to power steering for a more responsive helm; revised the fuel pump to ensure constant delivery; and installed an intercooler water sprayer to cool intake air for enhanced engine performance and efficiency.
Of course, stiffer suspension coils and dampers, thicker anti-roll bars, a mechanical rear limited-slip differential (rather than a Torsen LSD), and stickier Bridgestone RE070 (245/40-18) rubber improve grip in all situations. Aside from the subtle badges, gold Brembo calipers visibly set the car apart. Open a door and you’ll notice highly supportive Recaro buckets.
Engine modifications bump up the 2.0-liter flat-four’s (remember, JDM-spec) torque up to 317 pound-feet, while horsepower remains at 304 horses. The extra pull is said to quicken acceleration and drop lap times.
There was no word on how much weight the meager diet cuts, but last year’s limited edition lost 66 pounds with similar measures in place. Live in Japan and want one? You’d better be ready to shell out around $43,559 (converted with Recaro seats and 18-inch wheels). Models with 17-inch wheels and standard buckets ring in at around $39,793.
tS = Tuned by STI
STI’s tS ethos emphasizes the achievement of superior handling without a diminishment of ride quality under any circumstance. This is easier said than done. But if anyone can do it, it is the craftsmen at STI.
The third model in the Japan-only tS lineup sports a full repertoire of revised suspension bits. Parts like redesigned linkages, dampers, coils, tower braces, bushings, and 18-inch alloys are said to provide a dynamic, yet comfortable driving experience to the baseline WRX STI sedan and WRX STI sedan A-Line.
There are also parts like an aluminum hood, tS sills, badges, a push button start, and an upgraded ball bearing turbo carried over from the Spec C. Then there is the Toray Industries carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof that sheds 11 pounds (include the aluminum roof and that figure grows to 29 pounds).
Like the Spec C, the 2.0-liter’s torque jumps up 6 pound-feet to 317 (with 304 horsepower). Five-speed automatic-equipped A-Lines with the 2.5-liter mill offer less power at 296 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
Pricing starts at around $56,488 for the STI tS, while the STI A-Line tS commands $50,463 (both prices are converted from Yen).
Source: Subaru Tecnica International