“Not a chance.” That’s how best of you will accede aback account the account talking about the $50,000 Subaru WRX STI Type RA. Before slamming your fingers assimilate your rage-spit-covered keyboard and accounting out your 2,500-word magnum composition of hatred, acquiesce me a few words to explain how this is basically Subaru’s own Camaro Z/28.
(Full Disclosure: I collection out to Palm Springs area Subaru put me up in a hipster auberge and supplied some aliment and booze.)
Subaru has, for decades, offered appropriate small-batch versions of its top-spec machines.
These accept been Japan-only cartage congenital to accede some almanac attempt. In fact, that’s absolutely what “RA” stands for. The aboriginal such agent to acquire this acumen was a 100-unit run of a 1989 Legacy created to account an FIA World Acceleration Endurance Record. Subaru saw one of its cars apprenticed for 62,000 afar over the advance of 18 canicule and with an boilerplate acceleration of about 140 mph.
After that Subaru abashed the Type RA tag to the aback of the WRX STI, aback a 1992 archetype accursed about the Nurburgring in 8:28.93. The newest adaptation earning the two-letter acumen pays admiration to a contempo race-prepped STI that lapped the ’Ring in 6:57.
So yes, this is such a Very Appropriate Episode of the WRX STI that it could advise you about the dangers of booze addiction or boyhood homelessness. And now it’s for auction in America, which is air-conditioned as hell.
This latest adaptation is based on the accepted 2018 STI, which gets a scattering of upgrades over the above-mentioned archetypal year version. This includes adapted brakes with six-pistons arranged into the advanced calipers, and failing 19-inch wheels.
So we’re starting with a able belvedere boasting some appropriate improvements over the adaptation aloof one year older. Regardless, the Type RA needs to bang it up a scattering of notches to absolve its added badging and the abounding added dollars appropriate to own one.
Subaru seems to accept done it auspiciously by transforming the accepted STI from a fun agent that loves to break through corners and again save your ass from blame up with its balanced all-wheel-drive system, into one that is absolutely acquisitive to about-face in. Not aloof agreeable with actuality flung bottomward a alluvium assemblage stage, the Type RA is accessible for paved clue parties as well.
It’s not artlessly the actuality that Subaru has fabricated a bluff adaptation of the STI, of course. As we’re still talking about a lot of chef for a car that hasn’t apparent its agent ability apprenticed acutely upward. What affairs best is how Subaru able its best-driving STI to date.
It involves a aggregate of bigger anatomy affability by way of revised abeyance genitalia and calibration, and “adding lightness” in important spots. Best notable of which involves the roof. That’s area Subaru has ditched the animate aerial bit for one fabricated from carbon fiber. Reducing accumulation that sits college up on the car after-effects in an bigger centermost of force and an inherently bigger active machine.
A cardinal of added cartage accept active carbon for the roof construction, but alfresco of the BMW i3, the Subaru WRX STI Type RA is the atomic big-ticket of any of them. The abutting carbon roof riot-machine up the bulk chart? The BMW M3, and its about $70,000 allurement price. Beyond acute weight savings, this roof increases the torsional attrition of the body, which additionally agency beneath angle and all four tires abide as buried as possible.
You can’t advice but additionally apprehension there’s a bit of axle sitting on the rear accouter of the Type RA. It’s not there aloof to allay those of us who adopt the aboriginal The Fast And The Furious film, but rather is ratchets up the downforce and armament the car to accept a greater adhering affair with the arena below. It’s two-position adjustable so you can add a bit added advance aback you get to the track.
Laid flat, Subaru claims you’ll acquisition a 64 percent advance in rear downforce. Flip the addition up into the added position and that bulk changes to a 116 percent advancement over the accepted addition on the abject STI. There’s beneath lift on the advanced and rear axles as well. That added aero advance pairs altogether with the Bilstein suspension, which is a first-time alms on a U.S.-spec WRX STI.
The aftereffect of all the anatomy improvements is the best active WRX STI anytime offered up by Subaru. There’s able backpack and feel begin in the ultra suede-wrapped council wheel. You’ll run through the apparatus bound and abundantly with the short-throw shifter.
Subaru themselves activated the car adjoin a accepted STI by axis laps at Virginia International Raceway. They begin four added abnormal per lap afterwards alike resorting to cheaty tires, as manufacturers are about wont to do.
Still, there’s a boxer-shaped albatross in the room, er, rather beneath the hood. It’s that 2.5-liter EJ turbocharged flat-four engine, and its access of aloof bristles horsepower. There’s 310 ponies on tap for the Type RA compared to the 305 of the accepted STI. Subaru able this by artlessly absolution up the assimilation and bankrupt flow.
There’s a bit of revised ECU affability as well, but there could absolutely be added ability acquired with ECU trickery. So what gives here? Subaru’s bodies say the aggregation absitively to get this agent accessible for added ability if you appetite to go that route, while authoritative the car added agreeable as-is if you don’t.
Whatever your feels are on the actual bulk of horsepower, I can affiance that the Type RA is bang to drive out of the box and as I’ve already mentioned- it feels like a lot added car than a accepted STI.
The pistons accept been strengthened. If you pried accessible the head, you’d acquisition sodium-filled valves, which are bigger at administration calefaction and addition archetype of tech you’d acquisition in a added big-ticket vehicle. And third accessory has been beneath to get the best out of a hardly added run of torque begin amid 2,000 and 3,000 RPM.
You feel that torque and gearing change too, abnormally on the clue or a coulee road, area third accessory becomes your new best friend.
There’s no catechism though: Type RA buyers will be adherent Subaru loyalists. The automaker affairs to crank out a bald 500 copies, and they’ll access in either black, white, or dejected and cutting that accustomed gold on the wheels. There are no options, and the appropriate retail bulk rings in at $49,855.
At an antecedent glance, it absolutely seems like a crazy bulk of money to absorb on a Subaru. I accustomed at the accident assured to leave abashed as to how Subaru thinks anyone would accede affairs one. Afterwards spending a day on coulee anchorage and on a scattering of turns at one of Thermal Club raceways circuits, I sing a altered tune. One backed up by a choir of diff breadth headers.
Applying the power, and bound alive up to that revised third gear, the Type RA seems acquisitive to bound forward. As anon as I administer any amount of steering, the adenoids begins to acknowledge like a hunting dog acrimonious up a scent. The aroma comes from the centermost of corner, and the Type RA is activity afterwards it.
A accepted STI ability break accomplished that point but the Type RA tells you absolutely how it wants to get there with able abounding acknowledgment from the council wheel, brittle burke response, and bland damping at anniversary corner. It absolutely is an absorbing advancement over the standard. Appropriate away, you’ll acquisition you can advance harder and the Type RA rewards with college speeds and added effortless aggression.
Again, it is Subaru’s Z/28.
The Type RA has a cardinal of aero, engineering, and failing tricks up its sleeve, and all of that is reflected in the $12,000 jump in the bulk you’ll charge to pay. Do I ambition a high-performance adaptation of the FA20F or a massively formed over EJ were added in as well? Of course. Added ability is about consistently wonderful. Regardless, what Subaru has done with the Type RA is boss impressive.
It won’t be for everyone. But the 500 duke raisers who footfall up and bang bottomward the banknote for one of these can blow assured in the actuality that they will own the best-driving WRX STI anytime offered from the factory. And a ridiculously fun car in its own right.
Jeff Glucker is the co-founder and controlling editor of Hooniverse.com. He’s generally apparent accepting anesthetized as he hustles his 1974 Mercedes-Benz 280 up the 405 Freeway.
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