How is it worth an extra $14 grand over the regular STI?
The current Subaru WRX STI is sort of living on borrowed time. A complete redesign is due by 2020, so Subaru is doing what it can to keep the current model in the news. One way of doing so is a special edition, but not just any special edition. The WRX STI RA is the most hardcore we'll likely see of today's all-wheel drive fun box, but it'll cost you big time. With destination, the price tag is about $50,000. A WRX STI Limited tops off at $41k. So what makes the RA so special?
Engineering Explained host Jason Fenske had some wheel time in the WRX STI RA (as well as the BRZ TS) and his overall take is that despite being a hoot and a half to drive, the price tag isn't justifiable. The extra cash gets you one of 500 examples as well as a re-tuned engine control unit, stronger pistons, a new cold-air intake and a freer-flow exhaust.
Yeah yeah, but what about a power increase? The 2.5-liter turbocharged engine's output has been increased by 5 hp for a total of 310 hp. Improved handling, however, is probably the WRX STI RA's strong suit. Thanks to Bilstein-sourced and STI-tuned dampers and new Brembo calipers you'll definitely notice a difference. There's also a new carbon fiber roof that not only helps to reduce overall weight, but also slightly lowers the car's center of gravity. All told, Subaru managed to shave off 68 pounds from the standard WRX STI. Combined with that 5 hp boost and those other new bits, that's what $50k gets you.