Subaru has apparently been listening to performance aficionados, giving a boost to two of its hottest models for 2018. That’s especially good news for those who have been frustrated by the sporty looking, albeit anemic, BRZ coupe.
But those looking for more power are going to have to move fast. The Japanese maker says it plans to produce just 500 copies of the 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA and an equal number of BRZ tS models – both set to arrive sometime around mid-winter.
“The RA designation stands for ‘Record Attempt’ and has been applied to various Subaru performance models,” the maker explains. It adds that, “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.”
There’ll be another race model, the WRX STI Type RA NBR Special, taking to the Nurburgring in search of another record over the summer.
The street RA aims to improve performance in a number of ways, including a focus on shaving weight – though Subaru isn’t ready to release final specs. The suspension has also been upgraded, the WRX STI Type RA getting inverted front struts and a rear double-wishbone suspension, with Bilstein shocks all around. The car also has a specially tuned Vehicle Dynamic Control, or VDC system, and it adopts monoblock 6-piston front and dual-piston rear Brembo brakes with cross-drilled rotors.
The 2.5-liter boxer engine gets a new cold-air intake and high-flow exhaust system, a retuned ECU and stronger pistons, all contributing to a bump up to an estimated 310 horsepower. The 6-speed manual gearbox also has been tweaked to optimize torque utilization and ensure a shorter throw.
(Subaru set to electrify core line-up. To get the details, Click Here.)
The RA gets an exclusive Cherry Blossom Red accent color and other exterior revisions, says Subaru, include, “An STI front underspoiler…for better stability at high speeds. The exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, a roof-mounted shark fin antenna and STI fender badges now come in a black finish. The rear deck lid displays the WRX STI Type RA badge.”
Inside, the car gets Recaro performance seats up front, with red stitching and an embossed STI logo on the headrests. The red stitching is repeated throughout the cabin. There’s an ultrasuede-covered steering wheel, and each RA is individually numbered, with a plaque mounted on the center console.
As for the BRZ, the little sports car has been turning heads ever since it debuted as a joint venture between Subaru and Toyota – the latter initially offering the coupe through the Scion brand as the FR-S. It has since been renamed the Toyota 86 in the U.S. since the demise of the Scion brand.
The problem is that the nearly identical pair came out with an undersized four-cylinder engine that left many potential buyers cold. Both automakers launched an upgraded drivetrain this past year, boosting power to as much as 205 horsepower.
(Subaru has a new 3-row flagship. Click Here to check out the new Ascent.)
The Subaru BRZ tS, (short for “tuned by STI”), incorporates a number of other performance-enhancing features. That includes “STI-tuned front and rear SACHS dampers and coil springs as well as flexible V-braces in the engine compartment,” says Subaru, while “New draw stiffeners are added to the chassis and sub-frame to improve steering response.”
The 2018 Subaru BRZ tS gets lightweight 18-inch STI wheels, the first time it will have gotten something so large. The tires are 215/40 R 18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber.
Add an exclusive STI carbon-fiber rear spoiler which can be manually adjusted to fine-tune downforce, and front, rear and side underspoilers to improve aerodynamics and yield a more stable, planted ride, the maker claims.
The BRZ tS also gets that distinctive Cherry Blossom Red accent color Inside, the tS adds black Alcantara and leather upholstery with contrasting red stitching, as well as red leather seat bolsters.
(To see the next Subaru Crosstrek, Click Here.)
Subaru promises to reveal final specs and pricing later this year. The two new variants could be signaling more of a focus on performance for Subaru, the maker last year hinting that we may see more STI versions to come in the near future.