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It’s official: Subaru BRZ STi in the works

Fast and furious: Subaru has all but confirmed that a version of its BRZ sports coupe will wear the STi badge.

Images point to a seriously track-honed version of Subaru’s BRZ sports coupe

5 Aug 2013

IT HAS been a long two-year wait since it first arrived in concept form, but the hottest version yet of Subaru’s four-seat sports coupe is now officially just around the corner.

Subaru Tecnica International, the performance tuning and racing arm of the Japanese car-maker, has posed a string of teaser images on its Japanese-language website of what looks like a production version of the BRZ sports car wearing STi armour.

The images show a version of the BRZ featuring a blacked-out grille wearing an STi badge, and set inside a foglight-clad bumper painted in the traditional WR Blue. Another image shows a side profile of the front guard with the high-mounted gill also featuring an STi badge.

In between the images, the words “coming soon” flash up.

While the images reveal little about what the hardcore version of the BRZ will look like, speculation is rife.

At the heart of rumours is exactly what Subaru will do with the 147kW/205Nm 2.0-litre direct-injected four-cylinder boxer engine that powers both Subaru versions of the car, and the Toyota 86 version that shares everything but a few cosmetic changes.

Both Subaru and Toyota have said there was no room for a turbocharged version of the car, mainly due to the tight under-bonnet real estate, however, the STi version is sure to stick to the road a lot better due to significant aerodynamic tweaks, such as the traditional big rear spoiler.

The performance-honed BRZ is also expected to feature standard STi tweaks including harder-riding Bilstein shock absorbers, engine tweaks including a freer-breathing exhaust, and bigger brakes to handle the extra speeds.

One of the big questions is if the STi-badged BRZ will continue to use the same skinny tyres borrowed from Toyota’s environmental hero, the Prius, or upgrade to more grippy rubber to help with cornering.

Inside, expect the usual heavily bolstered STi-logo faux-suede bucket seats, a short-shift gear lever for manual versions, and enough badges to let you know it is no ordinary BRZ.

Subaru Australia was unavailable for comment.

The car-maker already sells a $7195 sports package featuring a number of STi add-ons in Australia that gives the BRZ some sporty enhancements, but no more poke under the bonnet.

The STi version of the Subaru-badged Impreza hatch and sedan range carries about a $15,000 premium over their slightly more pedestrian, but still hardcore, WRX that itself attracts a $10,000 premium over the highest-priced mainstream model.

That would suggest a price of about $60,000 for the STi-badged BRZ when it arrives here, hopefully sometime late next year.

Subaru is currently farewelling its Impreza-based WRX ahead of an all-new model – not necessarily based on the Impreza – due in March next year.

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