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STI spreads to Subaru BRZ

Power play: Subaru’s 2015 New York motor show BRZ STI Performance Concept could be a clue to the new model’s power figures, with 257kW/441Nm on tap.

Subaru takes to Instagram to tease flagship BRZ STI sportscar coming in July

Subaru logo1 Jun 2017

By TUNG NGUYEN

UPDATED: 2:00PM 01/06/2017HAS Subaru finally heeded the long-time call of fans for an STI-fettled BRZ? Going by a picture posted on Subaru of America’s Instagram page, the Japanese car-maker could unveil a higher-performing BRZ coupe within days.

While the photo reveals only a close up of a large STI-badged spoiler, recent spy photos of a barely-disguised STI-badged BRZ online also show a subtle body kit with front lip and side skirt additions.

Accompanying the picture is the caption “Stay tuned…6/8/17. #STI”. This appears to refer to a date during the Isle of Man TT motorcycle racing carnival where, last year, Subaru and its Prodrive rally team fielded a highly tuned Subaru WRX STI to complete a demonstration hot lap in record time for a car.

While it looks like Subaru is planning to pull out a hot BRZ for more fun this year, the question is whether – like the WRX STI last year – it is a one-off for a headline-grabbing blast or a more serious road-going product for showroom sale.

If it is the latter, there is every possibility that this new ‘STI’ BRZ will simply be another add-on kit, similar to the 2013 BRZ ts which added a few suspension tweaks, bigger brakes and STI cosmetic accessories.

Subaru is on record as saying that a turbocharger simply will not fit in the production car’s engine bay without extensive reworking.

However, in 2015, the brand unveiled the BRZ STI Performance Concept at the New York motor show, teasing a potentially turbocharged model.

In its standard form, the BRZ produces 152kW/212Nm from a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre Boxer four-cylinder engine, enough to propel the rear-drive sportscar from zero to 100km/h in 7.4 seconds.

However, with the race-ready turbo engine shoehorned into the New York show car, performance was pumped up to 257kW/441Nm, leading fans to hope a production version with similar output could make it to showrooms.

Although Subaru will likely retain the same 152kW/212Nm atmo engine in the upcoming BRZ, expect to see at least a revision in suspension and handling components, as well as STI styling tweaks.

Australian BRZ fans however should not get their hopes up, with Subaru Australia corporate affairs manager David Rowley telling GoAuto there are “no plans for Australia, though we’re always interested in what might be available in the future”.

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