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Subaru’s performance push begins with STI-tuned variants of the Levorg and the XV

Subaru’s sport-focused STI division has traveled to the Tokyo Auto Salon, an event that can best be described as Japan’s version of SEMA, to introduce two brand new concepts.

Called Levorg STI Concept, the first show car is based on the Levorg station wagon that’s sold in a host of global markets including Europe, Australia, and Japan. Visually, the STI-massaged Levorg wears an eye-catching hue called WR blue pearl with red accents all around, and it looks more muscular than the regular-production wagon it’s based on thanks to a model-specific front fascia whose design is inspired by the WRX STI, a lowered suspension, and 18-inch BBS alloy wheels. The updates continue in the cabin with burgundy and black two-tone upholstery.

Dubbed XV STI Hybrid Concept, Subaru’s second show car features a sporty appearance with an orange and white paint job and a splitter integrated into the front bumper, and it offers a much more responsive ride thanks to STI-branded suspension and brake components. Sport seats upholstered in a combination of orange and beige wrap up the custom look.

Enthusiasts who trekked out to the Japanese capital hoping to see a WRX STI-powered Levorg and STI’s first hot-rodded hybrid were undoubtedly disappointed because no mechanical modifications have been made to the concepts. The Levorg is powered by a 2.0-liter flat-four borrowed from the WRX sedan, while the XV uses a gasoline-electric drivetrain made up of a 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter flat-four and an electric motor rated at about 13 horsepower. Both models are fitted with an automatic transmission and Subaru’s time-tested all-wheel drive system.

At the very least, the concepts suggest that STI’s transformation from an underused nameplate to a full-fledged performance-oriented sub-brand is under way, and Subaru has promised that more STI-tuned models will land in U.S. showrooms in the coming months.

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