In the world of Subaru’s road-going rally machines, there are plenty of uber-desirable limited editions: the 22b WRX STI, the Impreza WRX STI Spec C Type RA-R and the Subaru Cosworth Impreza STi CS400, to name a few. Sadly, the U.S. hasn’t seen much in terms of these special Subies, which isn’t that crazy when you consider we didn’t get the Impreza WRX until 2001.
In 2018, however, the drought is ending with the 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA — the first of Subaru’s RA models to see U.S. pavement. There's a lot of hype to live up to, and meeting fan expectations is no small feat. But Subaru took a different route than might have been expected here. Instead of massaging more power out of its EJ257 boxer mill and trying to make waves with output numbers, this STI RA is more focused on being a balanced and composed track weapon that won’t make you suffer on the roads.
Rather than ripping out the STI’s interior and giving you a super-fun-to-drive limited edition with no frills, Subaru actually slotted the RA above its already well-equipped Limited models. That means the driver gets features like a power Recaro seat and a 7-inch multimedia screen that helps you easily switch between podcasts during your (admittedly exciting) commute.
Comforts aside, there is weight savings -– a sports version wouldn’t be complete without a nod to reduced mass. Compared to the WRX STI Limited, the Type RA sheds 68 pounds. The savings comes from a carbon-fiber top panel, lightweight gold-painted BBS wheels and by ditching the spare tire.
Subaru also ditched its traditional wing for the lightweight carbon-fiber version seen stuck to the STI Type RA’s rear deck lid. Along with the new rear wing is a new front splitter to guide the air around the car and help it stick to the track. A retuned set of Bilstein dampers only adds to the effect.