Here in the U.S., the Subaru STI is the most extreme version of the WRX all-wheel-drive performance compact, but in Japan, there are STI versions of numerous Subaru products. That could soon be the case in North America as well, as the unveiling of the Subaru STI Performance Concept at the New York Auto Show indicates the brand’s intent to expand STI’s offering’s on this side of the ocean.

The BRZ-based STI Performance Concept heralds Subaru’s announcement that its race-engineering arm will expand its lineup of dealer-installed high-performance parts. This also means more STI models. In Japan, both the BRZ and Forester have high-performance versions modified by STI. There’s a good chance that a car similar to the hot BRZ on Subaru’s stage will make it to the streets.

Continue reading to learn more about the Subaru STI Performance Concept.

  • 2015 Subaru STI Performance Concept
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    30000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

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2015 Subaru STI Performance Concept
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2015 Subaru STI Performance Concept
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What’s so special about it? The modified bodywork is the most obvious change.The STI Performance Concept is more extreme than the limited-production, Japanese market BRZ tS. Both cars sport tall carbon-fiber wings and deeper airdams front and rear. The STI Performance Concept has more aggressive air intakes in the front and rear fascias that would be functional pieces, pulling air away from hot brakes and improving underbody aerodynamics. The STI Performance Concept also appears to have a carbon-fiber roof panel to help lower the center of gravity.

Interior

2015 Subaru STI Performance Concept
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2015 Subaru STI Performance Concept
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2015 Subaru STI Performance Concept
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Expect interior upgrades on an STI-modified BRZ to be similar to the current STI: aggressively bolstered performance seats (with Alcantara and STI logos, of course), a family steering wheel, and a functional array of auxiliary gauges. The BRZ is already a fairly focused performance vehicle, so STI doesn’t have much work to do.

Drivetrain

2015 Subaru STI Performance Concept
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Though the STI Performance Concept is equipped with the 300-horsepower, 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine used in the BRZ GT300 racer that campaigns in the Super GT series in Japan, a roadgoing version would have a more production-friendly powerplant. A turbocharged 2.0 liter similar to the current STI’s would certainly fit, and the BRZ is more than capable of handling the power.

Competition

This is an interesting move for Subaru. The STI-badged WRX has traditionally been seen as a roadgoing rally car and direct competitor to the Mitsubishi Evo, but by expanding STI’s range Subaru could find itself challenging many new cars, from the Ford Mustang and Hyundai Genesis Coupe to the Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series, depending on which vehicles STI chooses to enhance.

Hyundai Genesis Coupe

2016 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Exterior Spyshots
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An STI-badged BRZ would find itself quickly in the crosshairs of Hyundai’s large sports coupe. Although they’re different vehicles, Hyundai’s push to make the Genesis Coupe a tuner darling would pit the larger, V6 or V8-powered rear-driver against an STI BRZ in short order. Read our full review here.

Audi SQ5

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In a very different direction, an STI-pumped Forester could be a challenger to Audi’s upcoming sport crossover. Lowered suspension, all-wheel drive and a hot engine make the SQ5 an amazing all-around performer that doesn’t sacrifice utility. Read our full review here.

Conclusion

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Subaru’s expected rollout of additional performance parts means that there will definitely be chassis and braking upgrades in store for the BRZ and possibly other Subarus. Like Mercedes’ AMG, BMW’s M and other in-house racing groups, STI plans to adapt its race-engineered upgrades for roadgoing cars. The BRZ tS is another good predictor here, with its Brembo brakes, upgraded coil springs and struts, STI driveshaft and unique 18-inch wheels.

  • Leave it
    • * Does Subaru have the refinement to compete with the likes of Mercedes’ AMG and Cadillac’s VSport models, if it comes to that?

Press Release

Subaru of America, Inc. today unveiled the STI Performance Concept at the New York International Auto Show.

2015 Subaru STI Performance Concept
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The STI Performance Concept signifies a plan for U.S.-expansion of Subaru Tecnica International (STI), the performance division of Subaru, in its three core business areas; aftermarket parts, STI-tuned cars and motorsports.

The expansion has already begun, with STI-engineered parts replacing Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT) aftermarket parts in the U.S. market, and with STI’s increasing engineering presence in Subaru of America’s Global RallyCross team.

2015 Subaru STI Performance Concept
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In the future, further models tuned by STI will be available in the US. These cars could feature more extensive modifications from the factory than previously offered, such as suspension, performance, braking, chassis and aerodynamic upgrades.

“At STI we know from our racing that to win, it is important not only to have high power, but also that all aspects of performance are balanced over the whole car,” said Yoshio Hirakawa, president of Subaru Tecnica International, Inc. “When we achieve this balance, the driver feels that the car is easy to handle and reliable, and he can use it fully to the limits of its performance. Our plan is to produce cars and accessories that drivers can really enjoy.”

The STI Performance Concept is a showcase for the engineering prowess and tuning capability of STI, featuring the racing engine developed by STI for the BRZ Super GT racecar, suspension and chassis components and aerodynamic upgrades.

Complete cars (extensive tuning by STI) and performance parts available now in Japan focus on the WRX STI, Forester and BRZ models. The Japanese domestic market uses the nomenclature “S model” as its naming for the WRX STI and uses “tS” on BRZ and Forester vehicles that have STI components, but a naming convention for any future US models has not yet been established.

2015 Subaru STI Performance Concept
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STI was founded as Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries’ motor sports division in 1988. In 1989, a first-generation Subaru Legacy, tuned by STI, broke the FIA-certified world speed record over 100,000 kilometers. From there, STI moved on to the World Rally Championship, winning 3 constructors championships and 3 driver championships for Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Petter Solberg. It currently competes in the Nurburgring 24 Hour Challenge race winning its class two times in 2011 and 2012 and also in the Super GT series with its BRZ-based Super GT.

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