Electric STI Concept & 2023 WRX S4 STI Headed to 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon
Subaru is looking to hit the new year running with a series of reveals set for the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon. The focus of the exhibit will be Subaru’s motorsport division, Subaru Tecnica International (STI), with one sports EV and three factory modified concept models set to hit the market in the near future.
Although the recent 2022 WRX reveal has been a controversial one to say the least, die hard fans of the rally-bred platform may not have to wait long for the inevitable STI variant to hit the scene. Listed on Subaru’s vehicle list, along with a new electric STI concept car, is the WRX S4 STI concept. Equipped with a front spoiler, carbon fiber rear wing, performance muffler, and STI’s signature cherry blossom red accents, the WRX S4 STI concept looks just as production-ready as the WRX it’s based on.
While the concept carries the STI badge, we’re hesitant to call this the 2023 WRX STI bound for North America due to the small “S4” designation in the car’s name. The WRX S4 is the upgraded Japan-only version of what will be the WRX GT trim here in the United States. Given that the S4 carries STI badges in Japan – and the new concept vehicle looks to have simple bolt-on upgrades – this may just be another performance trim in the existing WRX S4 lineup.
Similar to BMW’s M Performance line or even the BRZ tS (tuned by STI) here in the US, Subaru looks to be filling the gap between the standard WRX and future STI with mid-tier trims offering performance oriented parts. We suspect a full STI version of the WRX will have its own dedicated release, but won’t know for sure until January 14th, 2022 when the Tokyo Auto Salon kicks off in Chiba, Japan.
Given the direction the entire automotive industry is moving, the next concept car shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The STI E-RA is an electric concept car that Subaru says is being developed to gain experience and create new technologies for motorsport applications in a carbon neutral era. Not much else has been said about the concept, but we expect it’ll look just as close to the future production car as the VIZIV Performance STI concept looks to the new WRX. Think of it as more of a direction in design philosophy than something indicative of the final product.
Enthusiasts of Subaru’s only RWD coupe have been patiently waiting for the performance package to make its appearance on the new BRZ. The ~$1,200 performance pack on the previous generation BRZ offered a full set of front and rear Brembo big brakes, wider wheels, and performance Sach’s dampers.
By stating the BRZ STI performance will be “equipped with STI performance parts” and feature “cherry red decorations,” we suspect a limited tS model to accompany the aforementioned performance package.
A similar formula to previous offerings would be a limited production of tuned by STI models (cherry red accents, STI spoiler, performance package, STI wheels, unique interior upholstery and exterior paint) with the availability of a performance package for Limited trim models. As big fans of the previous generation BRZ’s performance package, we’re excited to see what Subaru brings to the table this time around.
The final STI concept vehicle is for a car not offered here in North America, the Levorg. Effectively a WRX wagon, the Levorg is set to get similar STI-themed upgrades to the WRX S4 STI concept. Cherry red accents, spoiler, performance muffler, and “special items enhancing the utility of a wagon” are listed as some of the concept’s upgrades. There’s not much else to say here. Fans of Subaru’s previous production wagons and hatchbacks have always begged the automaker to bring them stateside, but Subaru says they just don’t sell well in the US.
The fifth car Subaru will be bringing is their 2021 Super GT class-winning BRZ GT300 race car. Whether it be rally, rallycross, or Super GT, the age old “Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday” mantra seems to be working well for Subaru. Let’s just hope the upcoming WRX STI is able to stay competitive with Honda’s upcoming Civic Type R and Toyota’s GR Corolla.