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First look: STi surfaces

Pumped: Wildly flared wheelarches distance upcoming STi from new WRX.

Subaru unveils its next-generation Impreza WRX STi rally rocket - well, sort of

25 Sep 2007

SUBARU has released a moody teaser shot of its next-generation performance flagship, the redesigned Impreza WRX STi hatch – precisely one week before Mitsubishi is due to reveal its direct competitor, the all-new Lancer Evo X super-sedan.

Both turbocharged, all-wheel drive Japanese rally rockets will make their global public premieres at the Tokyo motor show on October 24, while the new STi will go on sale in Australia in January, when it replaces the current STi sedan ($56,990) and could comprise a leather-clad luxury version priced over $60,000.

But it’s clear even from the dimly-lit preview pic that the new STi will this time be more significantly differentiated from the five-door Impreza (launched in Australia this month) upon which it is based, via heavily pumped-up wheel-arches within specific quarter panels at all four corners.

Subaru continues to remain mum about technical details for the new STi, which is based on the vastly more rigid third-generation ZR1-series Impreza hatch.

However, as we’ve reported previously and in line with the softer suspension set-up preferred by Subaru WRC driver Petter Solberg, whose 2008 WRCar was unveiled in Frankfurt this month, the next STi is expected to offer vastly better ride quality.

Of course, Subaru claims its new-found comfort and refinement won’t come at the expense of handling, and has hinted the next STi is likely to match the Evo’s leaked torque peak of 422Nm – as well as (eventually) its double-clutch automated manual transmission option.

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