While cars wearing Subaru’s STI performance badge have been sold in the U.S. for over decade, we haven’t been getting the whole experience.
On this side of the Pacific, Subaru uses the STI (Subaru Tecnica International) to designate the hottest version of its WRX, but in Japan STI is actually an in-house speed shop that makes performance parts for multiple models.
The STI Performance Concept Subaru unveiled at the 2015 New York Auto Show is an example of exactly what U.S. buyers are missing.
Subaru says this BRZ-based beast “signifies a plan for U.S. expansion” of STI, something fans have been clamoring for.
Ever since Subaru launched the rear-wheel drive BRZ, there have been calls for an edgier and more powerful STI version. This is as close as the company has gotten to actually building one.
The concept features an engine developed for BRZ racecar STI campaigns in the Japanese Super GT series, plus upgraded suspension and an epic body kit topped with a massive rear spoiler.
Subaru won’t confirm a production version of this street racer’s dream, but it said STI-tuned models with extensive performance, chassis, and aerodynamic upgrades will be available in the U.S. in the future.
As the first step in that direction, the company recently re-branded its Subaru Performance Tuning parts line with the STI moniker, and has also begun using it in association with the Subaru of America-backed Global RallyCross team.
In Japan, Subaru already offers tuning packages for the Forester and BRZ, as well as the WRX STI, which is called the WRX S model there. These upgrades mostly focus on handling and styling.
Subaru hasn’t decided whether to use the “S model” designation, or the “tS” used for STI-tuned Forester and BRZ models, in the U.S.
If these new performance models really can offer the performance fans crave, though, the badge on the trunk won’t matter.