So near, yet so far

Like any other automaker, Subaru isn’t averse to making special edition models if the right situation calls for it. In recent memory alone, the Japanese brand has gifted us with beauties like the Subaru WRX STI 207 Limited Edition and the Subaru Series.Hyperblue BRZ. Sure, the WRX STI 207 LE never made it to the U.S., but that’s not the point here. The point is that Subaru has once again launched a special edition model – the Subaru STI WRX S4 ts – and just like the 207 LE, it’s only available in Japan. Ouch.

Hurt feelings notwithstanding, the STI WRX S4 ts is a thing of beauty. Like the 207 LE before it, the S4 ts was built to commemorate Subaru’s successful victories in the SP3T class at the Nürburgring 24-Hour Race in the past two years. And as special edition models go, it comes with a bevy of enhancements of the cosmetic and functional varieties. There are upgrades on the exterior, interior, and suspension. On top of all that, it also features an NBR Challenge Package for interested customers who need an extra spray of “special” to this already limited edition sports sedan.

Everything about the STI WRX S4 ts looks great. Sadly, there is that sobering reminder that the limited edition car won’t be available in the U.S. It’s a Japan exclusive with models available in a “limited basis” from October 4, 2016 to March 12, 2017.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

What makes the Subaru WRX S4 tS special

Where to even begin? Let’s start with the exterior where the sports sedan received a large front under-spoiler, an exclusive mesh-type front grille, a shark-fin roof antenna, and plenty of STI badging. The front grille and rear bumper, in particular also received cherry-red stripes, giving both components an additional cosmetic flair. A new set of 19-inch BBS forged aluminum wheels that STI designed specifically for the special edition model is also included in the exterior package. The special wheels are then wrapped in 255/35R19 92Y Dunlop Sport Maxx RT tires.

Move inside and the upgrades continue with a combination of premium leather additions on the gear knob, steering wheel, and rear seats. The standard front seats have also been removed in favor of STI-spec Recaro bucket seats with seat heating. Even the instrument panel is new and features the tS Limited Edition logo. Side sill plates and and luminescent instruments round out the modifications to the cabin of the WRX S4 tS.

The exterior where the sports sedan received a large front under-spoiler, an exclusive mesh-type front grille, a shark-fin roof antenna, and plenty of STI badging.

No upgrades appear to have been given to the STI’s 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer engine, so expect the output to remain at 305 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque. That said, STI did say that it achieved a 10-percent improvement in torque numbers during acceleration, an increase it achieved through a CVT oil cooler, a low-pressure-drop air cleaner, and a performance muffler with lowered back pressure complementing the exclusive rear exhaust pipe.

The vehicle also features a laundry list of suspension upgrades, all of which have been added to enhance the car’s riding and handling credentials. STI accomplished this by adding a flexible tower bar and draw stiffener in the front of the sedan and a support subframe in the rear. A pillow ball bush rear suspension link, rear dampers, and coil springs from Bilstein are also all included in the package.

Move inside and the upgrades continue with a combination of premium leather additions on the gear knob, steering wheel, and rear seats.

Last but not least is the NBR Challenge Package, which adds specific elements to everything that’s already been installed. It comes with a carbon rear spoiler with STI’s logo, a 19-inch BBS forged aluminum wheel option, an ultrasuede-wrapped steering wheel, and some exclusive emblems.

All told, the Subaru STI WRX S4 tS costs 4.968 million yen, or just a shade over $48,000 based on current exchange rates. The price shoots up to just under 5.3 million yen, or around $51,000.

Read our full review on the 2016 Subaru WRX STI S207 Limited Edition here.

Read our full review on the 2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue here.

Press Release

Subaru Tecnica International (STI),*1 the motorsports division of Fuji Heavy Industries, launches a limited-edition model based on the “WRX S4”. The model will be on sale for a limited period starting October 4, 2016 through March 12, 2017.

2017 Subaru STI WRX S4 tS High Resolution Exterior
- image 690984

In pursuit of driving performance, the WRX S4 tS inherits some expertise of the S207 which stands at the pinnacle of the STI complete car lineup. The model also adopts advanced safety features such as the EyeSight*2 driver assist technology.

While engine torque during acceleration has been enhanced by 10% by employing modified air intake/exhaust parts, added oil cooler improves cooling performance of the Sport Lineartronic. Same as the S207, Handling is enhanced by the addition of original STI components including a flexible tower bar, DampMatic® II front suspension with adjustable damping, and front-rear Active Torque Vectoring, all of which combine to achieve a strong yet flexible ride and sharp cornering. Braking performance has also been enhanced with Brembo opposed-piston 4-pot brakes in front.

The new model comes with distinctive specifications: On the exterior these include STI-designed BBS 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, cherry red pinstripe on the mesh-type front grille and rear bumper, large front under-spoiler, black roof antenna (shark fin type), while the interior features STI-spec Recaro front bucket seats and an exclusively-made luminescent speedometer.

An “NBR Challenge Package” is also available, commemorating Subaru’s victory in the SP3T class*3 in the 2015 & 2016 Nürburgring 24-Hour Race.

WRX S4 tS Main Features

2017 Subaru STI WRX S4 tS High Resolution Exterior
- image 690985

■Suspension / Mechanism
・Exclusive performance muffler with lowered back pressure (featuring STI logo) teamed with exclusive rear exhaust pipe
・STI-designed low-pressure-drop air cleaner element
・CVT oil cooler and strengthened radiator fan
・Exclusive STI-tuned Bilstein front struts (DampMatic® II, inverted-type) and coil springs
・Exclusive STI-tuned Bilstein rear dampers and coil springs
・Exclusive 255/35R19 92Y tires (Dunlop Sport Maxx RT)
・STI-designed Brembo front 17-inch opposed-piston 4-pot ventilated brake calipers (with STI logo)
・STI-designed flexible tower bar, front
・STI-designed flexible draw stiffener, front
・STI-designed pillow ball bush rear suspension link (front and rear lateral links inside)
・STI-designed flexible support subframe, rear

■ Exterior
・STI-designed BBS 19-inch x 8 1/2J forged aluminum wheels (silver)
・Exclusive mesh-type front grille (cherry-red stripe with STI ornament)
・Exclusive large front under-spoiler
・Black roof antenna (shark fin type)
・Black side garnish with STI emblem
・Exclusive rear bumper (cherry-red stripe)

■ Interior
・Exclusive luminescent instruments (with multi-information display and STI logo)
・Exclusive leather-wrapped steering wheel (highly tactile leather, chrome bezel, metallic finisher, silver stitching)
・STI-designed leather-wrapped shift knob (with STI logo)
・STI-designed push-type engine switch (red with STI logo)
・Exclusive STI-spec Recaro front bucket seats (leather [black semi-aniline finish on inside of main and side panels, silver stitching and accents] embossed with STI logo and equipped with seat heating and supplemental restraint system side airbags)
・Rear seats: black leather with silver stitching and accents
・Exclusive instrument panel (red with tS LIMITED EDITION logo)
・Exclusive side sill plates (with STI logo)

2017 Subaru STI WRX S4 tS High Resolution Exterior
- image 690986

■ NBR Challenge Package: Exclusive Equipment
・STI-designed BBS 19-inch × 8 1/2J forged aluminum wheels (black)
・Exclusive dry carbon rear spoiler (with STI logo)
・Exclusive emblem (rear)
・Exclusive Ultrasuede-wrapped steering wheel (with silver center marking)

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