Special editions make Subaru WRX STI and BRZ ready for track action
Since the Subaru BRZ launched, forum jockeys have been crying out for more power, but the company hasn't caved. Last week though, an image of a blue BRZ with a wing emerged and set the internet aflutter with talk of a more powerful model. Unfortunately, the final reveal has put a pin in that speculation – the BRZ tS, launched alongside a hotter WRX STI, hasn't been given a power boost, but it does get some handling goodies for more track day fun.
Disappointing as the unchanged power output is, you can take some solace in the fact the tS should be an absolute riot around a racetrack. Sachs dampers and coil springs tuned by STI have been fitted, and new flexible v-braces in the engine compartment help make the car more rigid. Draw stiffeners have been fitted on the chassis and subframe with a similar goal in mind.
The package sits on lightweight 18-inch wheels – the largest ever offered on a BRZ – which have been paired with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires measuring 215/40. Brembo brakes are also standard, for fade-free performance under extreme duress.
On the outside, the design team has gone all-out to deliver a tougher look to the little Subaru. The most noticeable tweak is the carbon fiber rear spoiler, which can be fine-tuned manually depending on how you want to use the car. There are also new side skirts and additions to the bumpers for a more aggressive look, although we're not convinced they'll actually create much downforce. And you also get red accents on the front grille and rear bumper.
Inside, a few tS logos have been stitched into the seats, and red seat belts are standard. Not ground breaking stuff, but a nice touch.
On the other end of the Subaru performance spectrum sits the WRX STI Type RA. Unlike the little BRZ, the WRX has been boosted from 305 hp (227 kW) to 310 hp (231 kW) thanks to a new cold air intake and high-flow performance exhaust. The engineers have also run with a remapped engine computer and stronger pistons, while the ratio for third gear is also unique.
Handling hasn't been forgotten either. The suspension has been overhauled with a new set of inverted front struts and rear double wishbones, coupled with Bilstein dampers all round. Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers up front and dual-piston calipers at the rear are standard, as is a modified stability control system. The package sits on 19-inch BBS rims shod in 245/35 Yokohama Advan Sport tires.
From the outside, the Type RA has been given a (very) similar look to the BRZ tS. It too gets red highlights around the grille, while there's a new chin spoiler to give the nose a tougher look. If those touches don't give away the fact this isn't a normal WRX STI, the giant wing and carbon fiber roof should.
Just 500 examples of each new performance model will be built for the US market, so if you like the look it's worth moving quickly. A car similar to the Type RA will be attempting to set a new lap record for four-door sedans at the Nurburgring Nordschleife later this year.