Subaru WRX STI S208 and BRZ STI Sport: an alphabet soup of performance cars at Tokyo 2017

Published: 25 October 2017

► Two new performance Subarus
► Limited-edition WRX STI S208
► New BRZ STI Sport range-topper

Subaru has used the 2017 Tokyo motor show to launch two new performance cars, for the domestic Japanese market only – more’s the pity for us UK-dwellers, as they both look like they’ll be plenty of fun to drive.

Subaru WRX STI S208 Special Edition

‘S208’ is a suitably fast and mysterious sounding code suffix for this new special-edition WRX, limited to only 450 cars in Japan.

It’s something of a flagship model for Subaru’s high-performance car division, and the latest in a run of super-Impreza’s kicked off with the S201 in 2000. This new car follows the S207 released in 2015.

Inside the Subaru WRX STI S208

The lengthy list of upgrades over the regular WRX STI includes:

  • Power upped to 325bhp via multiple engine and exhaust upgrades
  • Quicker steering ratio of 11:1
  • Carbon roof for a lower c of g
  • STI suspension components: adjustable dampers, flexible tower brace, Bilstein dampers
  • Front-rear active torque vectoring
  • 19-inch forged aluminium BBS wheels designed by STI (but not painted gold)
  • Giant 18-inch Brembo discs front and rear (six-piston calipers at front, two- at rear)
  • Carbon boot lip spoiler and front splitter

An even more limited NBR Challenge Package with an alternative carbon finish for the roof and spoiler will also be made available, confined to 350 cars. Those three letters signify the Nurburgring, referencing the factory-supported team’s exploits in the Nurburgring 24h race, and the recent – deep breath – WRX STI Type RA NBR Special, which set a new lap record for four-door cars earlier in 2017.

Buyers can pick from three colours: WR Blue Pearl, Crystal White Pearl or the limited-run Cool Grey Khaki pictured.

The bad news is that at current exchange rates, it would cost you between £50-70,000 – assuming you can get hold of one.

Subaru BRZ STI Sport is a new range-topper for the sports car series in Japan

Subaru BRZ STI Sport

Also pictured in the gallery above is the Subaru BRZ STI Sport, a new range-topper for the GT86 twin series in Japan, developed with Subaru’s motorsport division, Subaru Tecnica International (STI, hence the model name).

It still doesn’t have a turbocharger, before you ask; in fact there are no significant powertrain upgrades to speak of. Instead, the suspension has been reconfigured with new braces and mountings, ZF Sachs dampers and STI-tuned coil springs. They control new 18-inch wheels clad in wide, low-profile tyres and housing Brembo ventilated discs all round. The net result, Subaru says, is improved steering response and reduced roll.

Inside the Subaru BRZ STI Sport - note real leather bits, and extra Bordeaux red

You can tell the STI apart from the rest of the BRZ range by its own front bumper design, and extra ‘Bordeaux Red’ bits inside the plusher interior, with real leather trim (unusual for a BRZ/GT86) for the seats, together with alcantara.

The BRZ pictured is a special STI Sport Cool Grey Khaki Edition, limited to 100 cars and sold by a lottery system.

Click here for more from the 2017 Tokyo motor show

Subaru WRX STI

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer