Unlike some manufacturers, Subaru actually gives its limite-edition models some performance improvements, rather than solely adding some fancy badges and stickers.
Subaru on Thursday revealed the limited-production WRX STI RA — short for “record attempt” — and BRZ tS, both of which it says will handle better than the standard cars. Only 500 examples of the models will be produced, and are expected to arrive at dealers in 2018.
Likely aimed at the recently announced Ford Focus RS Limited Edition, the WRX STI RA is fitted with Bilstein dampers at all four corners, inverted front struts and rear double-wishbone suspension. Subaru shaved weight from the standard STI by removing the spare tire, as well as adding a carbon fiber roof panel, carbon fiber rear wing and lightweight forged 19-inch BBS alloy wheels.
The all-wheel drive sedan produces 310 horsepower, 5 horsepower more than standard, thanks to a new cold air intake, high flow exhaust, strengthened pistons and upgraded ECU. It also comes with a six-speed manual transmission that has revised gear ratio and is mated to a new short-throw shifter.
Although the BRZ tS isn’t the turbocharged production version of the BRZ STI concept that many were hoping for, we still like it better than the most recent limited-production version of its Toyota-branded twin, the 86.
The BRZ already is renowned for its great handling, but with the tS, Subaru aims to further improve it. To that end, it comes with STI-tuned SACHS dampers and coil springs in the front and rear, plus a stiffer chassis and sub-frame.
Like the WRX STI RA, the BRZ tS is adorned with a new carbon fiber rear spoiler, though the BRZ’s is manually adjustable. Its lightweight STI wheels also are the first 18-inch wheels to come standard on a BRZ.
To grip the road tighter, Subaru also fitted both models with better rubber: Yokohama Advan Sports on the RA and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 on the tS. Both the BRZ and WRX STI also receive various interior and exterior aesthetic tweaks and will be available in WR Blue Pearl, Crystal Black Silica and Crystal White Pearl paint.
All photos via Subaru