Sorry Americans, you’ll never get to drive Subaru’s Japan-only, 296-HP WRX S4

Bad news, U.S. rally fans. Subaru just revealed two new versions of the 2015 WRX, but they’re only available in Japan.

First teased last month, the Subaru WRX S4 is supposed to provide a more upscale feel than regular WRX models. In addition to digging at a certain Audi sports sedan, the name refers to the four qualities Subaru tried to imbue the car with: sports performance, safety performance, smart driving, and sophisticated feel.

The S4 uses the same 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer-four as the standard WRX, but with output boosted to 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

Not only is that a huge jump over the standard WRX’s 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, it’s awfully close to the STI’s 305 hp and 290 lb-ft. Don’t get too excited, though, because the S4 is only available with Subaru’s Sport Lineartronic CVT automatic.

Related: 2015 Subaru WRX first drive

The WRX S4 gets an injection of technology as well as horsepower, thanks to the addition of Subaru’s EyeSight camera-based safety system. It includes lane-keep assist, pre-collision braking, and active cruise control features.

The S4 also gets the Vehicle Dynamics Control and Active Torque Vectoring tech available on U.S. WRX models. In addition, Subaru stiffened the chassis, including the mounts for the electric power steering’s gearbox, for improved handling and responsiveness.

All of those changes are highlighted by a revised front fascia and side sills, model-specific 18-inch wheels, and LED headlights. The interior features a flat-bottomed steering wheel, sportier bucket seats, a boost gauge, and a splash of piano black and carbon fiber trim and red accent stitching.

Subaru has no plans to sell the WRX S4 in the U.S., which is probably just as well. With all of that extra power, it could make the current WRX STI redundant.


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