Maybe this will make up for the missing BRZ STI?
We can finally clear up the controversy surrounding the mystery cars that Subaru America was planning to debut for its 50th anniversary celebration. At first there was hope of a turbocharged BRZ, which was promptly squashed when the automaker instead debuted a US version of the BRZ tS that was previously sold only in Japan. But that’s not all Subaru has in store for us. An interview with Subaru’s Planning Manager of America, Todd Hill, revealed that a special WRX STI was also on its way to celebrate the milestone.
We now know that Subie to be the new WRX STI Type RA, a revival of a WRX of the same name that hit the Japanese market in 2013. Like the BRZ tS, the WRX STI Type RA released to America is essentially a US-spec version of the one that Japan got years ago. As such, it doesn’t exactly get any next-generation improvements. Performance is enhanced by an STI-specific cold air intake and high flow exhaust bringing a slight bump in power, up 5 horsepower for a total of 310 horses. A host of suspension and weight-reducing upgrades finalize the transition, with the former of these enabled by inverted front struts and double wishbone suspension at the rear.
Each corner comes fitted with Bilstein dampers while a modified multi-mode VDC helps get the stability control systems up to speed with the car’s increased capabilities. To cut down on weight, Subaru installed a carbon fiber roof panel, took out the spare tire, added a carbon fiber pedestal wing, and swapped the rims for lightweight 19-inch BBS alloys wrapped in Yokohama Advan Sport rubber. Subaru isn't keeping the Type RA subdued either because a nice shade of Cherry Blossom Red accents the front grille and rear bumper cover while an STI front underspoiler finds refuge on the front lip to keep the car stable at speed. Matching the accents are red Brembo brake calipers and Recaro seats with red bolsters and stitching.
Parking lot spotters will see the WRX STI Type RA badges as a dead giveaway, but given that only 500 WRX STI Type RAs and 500 BRZ tS editions will ever be made, sightings won’t be all that common in the first place. Subaru was kind enough to give us a history lesson on what the letters “RA” stand for. “The RA designation stands for 'Record Attempt' and has been applied to various Subaru performance models. The original venture took place in 1989 when a competition version Subaru Legacy broke the FIA World Speed Endurance Record by clocking over 62,000 miles in 18 days and set a top speed record of 138 mph.” That should convince anyone who is complaining about the lack of horsepower, but Subaru is going a step further.
To prove that a short list of modifications is all it takes to break records, the Japanese automaker will take to the Nurburgring and, true to this STI's name, will attempt to break a record. “Furthering this spirit of endeavor, a special race model WRX STI Type RA NBR Special will attempt a Nürburgring speed record this summer.” It's only too bad that we can't get our hands on that Subie.