By on June 8, 2017

2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA, Image: Subaru of America

It’s a lot of letters, but not a lot of extra horsepower. That’s the synopsis of two limited edition performance models revealed by Subaru today.

We already knew both were on the way, and indeed the models seem well equipped to trounce the handling dynamics of their regular-production stablemates. The appearance, too. Festooned with every measure available to enhance downforce, braking, body stability, and traction, the 2018 WRX STI Type RA (“Record Attempt”) and BRZ tS are instant collector’s items for Subaru superfans.

Is there more power to be had? Are both the revamped WRX and BRZ faster than their corporate siblings? Short answer: yes, and…maybe?

You’ll know the WRX STI Type RA to see it, both inside and out. Besides the special console-mounted plaque telling the lucky driver (nestled in a Recaro performance seat) exactly which vehicle of just 500 planned units they’re piloting, the Type RA makes its presence known with a bevy of go-fast add-ons.

2018 Subaru BRZ tS, Image: Subaru of America

For starters, there’s a carbon fiber pedestal wing rising majestically to the sky, complimented by a carbon fiber roof panel and an additional gray downforce enhancement up front. To reduce heft further, the Type RA dons lightweight BBS 19-inch forged alloy wheels wrapped in 245/35R19 Yokohama Advan Sports rubber. Don’t even thing of looking for a spare tire in that trunk.

The Type RA’s legs have also been to the gym. Underneath, inverted front struts and rear double wishbone suspension all share Bilstein dampers, with Brembo six-piston front calipers and dual-piston rear calipers squeezing cross-drilled discs. Subaru has modified the vehicle’s Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system to improve stability.

2018 Subaru BRZ tS wheels, Image: Subaru of America

Power? There’s a touch more power, along with improved acceleration. However, exact specifications, along with pricing, will have to wait. The automaker has massaged its turbocharged 2.5-liter Boxer four-cylinder up to an estimated 310 horsepower — a gain of 5 ponies, all thanks to a retuned engine control unit, STI-specified cold air intake and high-flow exhaust system. A revised third gear ratio on the six-speed manual transmission collaborates with the engine modifications and unspecified weight loss to boost acceleration.

These powertrain improvements won’t be found in the Type RA’s rear-drive cousin, however. For the BRZ tS, handling is the word of the day. You’ll find a sky-high, manually adjustable carbon fiber spoiler out back, which is perfect for owners who like to obsess over minutiae. Further STI-crafted airflow enhancers line the bottom edges of the vehicle. Lightweight STI 18-inch wheels adorn the corners, harnessed by Brembo brakes.

2018 Subaru WRX STO Type RS carbon fiber roof, Image: Subaru of America

Beneath the BRZ tS, Subaru added STI-tuned front and rear SACHS dampers and coil springs to aid the vehicle’s handling, tossing flexible V-braces in the engine compartment for good measure. To improve the vehicle’s steering response, engineers added new draw fasteners to the chassis and sub-frame.

Of course, this isn’t the full list of changes you can expect to find, but a person can only take so much. Will the two groups of 500 vehicles even make use of the fine tuning? That’s up to the buyers. Both vehicles will become available at Subaru dealers in early 2018, with the automaker disclosing specs and dollar figures later this year.

[Images: Subaru of America]

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5 Comments on “Winging It: Subaru Reveals Limited Edition 2018 WRX STI Type RA and BRZ tS...”

  • avatar

    Unless the cost of this edition is not much more (say, $1.5-2k), this is a big fat middle finger from SOA to loyal Subaru fans (like myself) who were hoping for something, ANYTHING new for the STI. There’s barely anything here that makes a difference and can’t be done aftermarket. I’m sure there are better suspension upgrades available, although it’s not a BAD thing. IIRC, the 6-piston brakes are the same as the regular STI.

    I mean, 5 hp is just about the lowest possible increase in HP that you can still call an increase – I mean if it was 307, you’d almost be laughed at for mentioning it.

    About the only thing possibly useful here is stronger pistons – if those are helpful in addressing the ringland problem, THAT would be something..

    • 0 avatar

      You’re right about the HP. I swear I’ve seen bigger gains from guys on the forums who simply flashed to Cobb’s Stage 1 OTS tune. Let alone actual bolt-ons like an intake or “higher flow exhaust”. Also, isn’t the roof on the new chassis already aluminum? Is replacing it with carbon fiber going to be that noticeable?

      The official engine update isn’t coming until MY2020 though. A little over a year ago, a document started circulating that warned suppliers they’d be making major power train changes, starting production in early 2019.

      • 0 avatar

        @raisingAnarchy – I wasn’t expecting major power train changes – I’ve heard 2020 many times. And even 2018 was already somewhat of an upgrade (thicker glass, better brakes, etc).

        But to hype the RA this much, special edition, limited numbers, twitter announcement, etc.. for next-to-nothing – they’re using up all their goodwill really fast, and giving nothing back..

  • avatar

    But guys, that wing will add at least 2, maybe even three inches to your d!ck! I don’t understand the science behind it but it’s totally true.

    • 0 avatar

      The science behind it was borrowed from the big pickup makers. Those dick extenders really work. Why else would so many buy trucks that they never use.

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