Subaru reveals BRZ STI Concept Coupe

November 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Performance car fans have been waiting to see it for months and finally the first images of the Subaru BRZ Concept have been released before its world premiere at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show on November 16.

In STI-badged concept form these images show a concept vehicle which has much of the styling predicted for the upcoming BRZ coupe. Both the BRZ and its development brother the Toyota FT-86 will be shown in production form at the Tokyo Motor Show next month.

Subaru isn’t saying much about specifications but has stated that the BRZ will have a very low centre of gravity and be a “pure handling delight.” The naturally aspirated 2.0-litre flat-four engine is expected to produce over 150kW and be linked to a 6-speed manual gearbox, and possibly, a 6-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. Continue reading “Subaru reveals BRZ STI Concept Coupe” »

Subaru to split next-gen WRX from Impreza model line

July 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru revealed its new shape 2012 Impreza earlier this year in standard trim, it looked good but fairly conservative. Despite this, WRX fans everywhere began imagining it with a full wide-body kit and big gold rims. But for the next WRX it’s not going to work like that, according to reports, the next WRX will be built as an entirely separate model line.

Due for release in 2014 the new WRX will apparently become a sports coupe with an entirely different body design to the new Impreza. The two models will continue to share a platform but the upcoming WRX will have a shortened wheelbase for improved handling dynamics, and other extra goodies.

A Subaru source said in a recent interview, “The first thing you must understand about our all-new WRX is that we have developed it from the ground up to win in motorsports events. That’s why we have focused so heavily on weight issues, not to mention a shorter wheelbase that permits faster, more precise turn-in. Marry that to our proven AWD system, and we think we have a winner.”

Subaru is planning a return to WRC rallying so when the hardcore STI variant of the WRX is released a future WRC rally car will be based on it. Continue reading “Subaru to split next-gen WRX from Impreza model line” »

Subaru reveals video of Isle of Man TT record settting lap

June 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru went to the 2011 Isle of Man TT race and returned home winners. No, the Japanese carmaker hasn’t created a high-tech AWD motorbike but it did take a near-stock standard WRX STI and run a time of 19 minutes and 37 seconds on the famous 60km course. That was quick enough to achieve a new record for a car traveling the course. But to get things into perspective the outright lap record for any vehicle  stands at 17 minutes and 12 seconds set in 2009 by John McGuinness on a Honda CBR1000RR ‘Fireblade’ motorcycle.

To break the existing record the WRX had an average speed of 185kph and got up to 255kph on some of the longer straights. Ex WRC driver Mark Higgins took the Subie through 200 corners and had a frightening incident getting loose at 200kph before bringing it straight again.

The record-setting WRX STI is powered by standard production turbocharged engine pumping out 227kW. Safety modifications included the addition of a roll cage, fire-suppression system, special brake pads and a louder open exhaust to best warn spectators of an unexpected approaching car. Subaru also took off the car’s speed governor and tweaked the suspension with Tein dampers to handle the course’s famous jumps. Continue reading “Subaru reveals video of Isle of Man TT record settting lap” »

2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI convertible – a customisation crime

March 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The car tuning scene must work a little bit differently over in the States. Here in NZ, if we owned a brand spankers Subaru WRX STI we would love it and cherish it and probably knock a bedroom wall down in our homes so we could sleep next to it. Would we chop the roof off it and ruin its rally-bred dynamics while making it look totally rubbish? No we would not.

But over in the States they have a huge population so there must be a few people with loads of cash and absolutely no taste. For that small crowd, Manchester Subaru in New Hampshire has created the monster you see above – a WRX STI convertible. You could also call it a ‘rag-top’ if you’re Vanilla Ice, or want to be.

This tale of automotive woe isn’t a total hacksaw job, but it certainly isn’t pretty. The roll bar looks like a picnic basket handle but may offer some rigidity. Everything else is all bad, there’s a poorly fitted tonneau cover for the roof, chopped door pillars but they have left the STI wing on the boot to clutter the vehicles odd lines even further. Don’t expect Subaru to be inspired and put the WRX STI convertible into mass production.

But the worst part is the price which is apparently $75,000 USD that’s $101,000 of our money or the same price as a brand new WRX STI ‘hardtop’ and another standard WRX as well. Continue reading “2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI convertible – a customisation crime” »

Gran Turismo 5 racing game finally released – return of WRX STI sedan

November 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Sony has finally released Gran Turismo 5 in the NZ market and while there are hundreds of cars to choose from the new Subaru WRX STI sedan is that little bit special.

The much anticipated racing game launched last week and had the WRX STI sedan included in its extensive car list. An STI sedan has not been available since 2007, but has now made its comeback.

So what? Well, the original Playstation was credited with popularising the WRX STI in North America, before it was launched into that market several years after it first appeared in New Zealand.

The new WRX STI has also been a sales success since its launch, when four-door sedan variants were reintroduced. In Japan, 2400 sedans and hatches have been sold since debut in July, double those initially forecast.

Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru vehicles, says featuring the WRX STI in Gran Turismo 5 is an effective and entertaining way to raise awareness of the model and introduce more people to the adrenaline-pumping WRX STI.

Since the first series was introduced in 1997, Gran Turismo has been highly popular not only among video game fans worldwide, but also professional racing and rally drivers.

So now you know what to ask Santa for Christmas this year – Gran Turismo 5. You could ask for a Subaru WRX STI but it may not fit in his sack.

Subaru reveals STI-equipped Forester tS exclusively for Japanese market

October 28th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

It probably won’t ever make it down here to NZ, or any other market outside of Japan, but the new JDM Subaru Forester tS deserves a closer look. Based on the Forester S-Edition, the tS is given the go-faster treatment with a range of upgrades and STi parts including a modified suspension that sits 15 mm lower than usual, 17-inch alloys, a front spoiler and some special tS badging.

In the cabin there are STI sport seats that use a combination of leather and Alcantara as well as a leather-wrapped sports steering wheel and a modified instrument panel.

Motivation comes from a 2.5-litre turbocharged boxer engine matched up with a five-speed automatic transmission.

Japanese customers won’t be limited to just Subaru Blue for colour choice with  four exterior colors offered. It will be an exclusive ride too with Subaru planning on producing just 300 examples. The cost? Well it’s not a cheap steer with the base-model costing 3,450,00 Yen ($56,550 NZ).

Check out the gallery below for more images of the Subaru Forester tS.

Continue reading “Subaru reveals STI-equipped Forester tS exclusively for Japanese market” »

Subaru releases A-Ha styled WRX STI commercial (+video)

October 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Here at Car and SUV we are already big fans of the 2011 WRX STI, that won’t surprise you much. But what may surprise you is that Subaru seems to be a big fan of 80’s pop band A-Ha and their old school video for Take On Me.

How do we know? Well, we’ve seen a new ad for the sporty Japanese sedan that shows the car taking on a robot spider drawn in a familiar sketchbook form. The ad labels the WRX STI as “pure performance”, and the 227kW turbocharged boxer and symmetrical all-wheel drive system do clearly appear useful in fleeing the grips of a fictional mechanical spider.

Check out the new video below. Continue reading “Subaru releases A-Ha styled WRX STI commercial (+video)” »

Subaru WRX STI surprise winner in Energywise Rally – how exactly?

October 19th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

An uncompromising performance car like the Subaru WRX STI isn’t usually a machine you’d expect to do well in an economy rally. In fact, you’d be pretty crazy just entering the car, but the STI has taken out a surprise category win in the recent 2010 Energywise Rally.

The Energywise Rally is a race with a difference, with 49 vehicles covering 1,763 kilometres in four days, competing for the title of the most fuel efficient car, and the most fuel efficient driving team.

The Supreme Award, for the car that cost the least to complete the Rally, including fuel and road user charges, went to a new hybrid vehicle, the Honda Insight S, costing just $147.83 to cover the distance.

But it was the Driver Award where the WRX STI took top honours. The Driver Award is for the team that achieved the greatest percentage improvement on the manufacturer’s fuel consumption figure, it went to rally ace Emma Gilmour, Donald Holder and Stan Tucker driving the Subaru WRX STI, beating the manufacturer’s figure by almost 23%.

In addition to the Supreme, Driver and Environmental awards, vehicles compete in eight different classes, ranging from micro to commercial, for the title of the most fuel efficient vehicle in that class. There are also three category awards for the most fuel efficient petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles.

EECA Chief Executive, Mike Underhill congratulated the Subaru team for their excellent driving that saw them beat the stated fuel economy of the WRX by close to 23%. “What the Rally consistently shows is that the way you drive your car makes a massive difference to the amount of fuel you use. And fuel efficient driving is something every single motorist can do, starting today.”

Continue reading “Subaru WRX STI surprise winner in Energywise Rally – how exactly?” »

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