You may already know that Subaru is on track to hit its seventh consecutive year of record sales in the US. However, the Japanese automaker is never one to rest on its laurels. Today we learned that Subaru is FINALLY ready to talk about a BRZ STI.
You may remember that the Japanese automaker showcased their Subaru STI Performance Concept just a few weeks ago in New York. At the time, we were explicitly told that this concept was NOT meant to prequel a BRZ STI. Now, just three weeks later, an interview between Automotive News and STI president Yoshio Hirakawa has us singing a song of a different tune.
Hirakawa says that Subaru wants “to create a car that drivers can control like their own legs so they can push the car to the limit.” He also says that the US is the highest priority for the STI brand, since it is the single biggest market for complete STI vehicles. Which is honestly a little surprising, since there’s only a single STI vehicle available in the US – the Subaru WRX STI, which is apparently responsible for 6,500 sales in 2014.
That brings us to a discussion of STI as a brand. Inside Subaru, STI has three key roles: complete performance cars, individual performance parts and kits, and then motorsports. Obviously, a new Subaru BRZ STI would fall under that first key role as a complete vehicle.
In other markets, STI is most commonly seen on special edition models. For example, Japan has seen a number of “STI edition” vehicles over the past few years, including the Legacy, Forester and even a BRZ “tuned by STI” edition.
There is a number of obvious incentives for Subaru to create a full-fledged BRZ STI that is more than just a limited edition model. For one, literal hordes of Subaru fans have been begging the automaker to create such a car since… Well, pretty much since the BRZ first hit the market back in 2012.
The other big incentive is profitability – when you consider that a WRX STI has a starting price that’s $8,200 higher than the normal WRX, it’s easy to see how lucrative these models can be. And that doesn’t take into account how many more models Subaru will sell simply by having more performance options available!
We also learned a bit more about the possible powertrain that could be fit into a Subaru BRZ STI. According to Automotive News, we can expect a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder boxer that outputs 345 horsepower, the same exact engine they use in the Super GT racing circuit in Japan.
After all that, Subaru says that the STI Performance Concept shown at the top of this post may indeed preview a possible BRZ STI. Furthermore, the car could come as soon as the end of next year, sold as a 2017 model year.