Forbidden Fruit: Subaru Launches Hardcore WRX STI Type RA-R In Japan

Subaru recently brought the WRX STI Type RA to the United States, but it appears the company has saved the best variant for Japan.

Recently unveiled in the country, the WRX STI Type RA-R is an extreme model which has been designed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Subaru Tecnica International (STI).

Since the model pays tribute to STI, it’s not surprising that the Type RA-R is all about performance. Starting under the hood, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has been equipped with a strengthened intake, an exclusive tune and a performance exhaust system. Thanks to these modifications, the engine has the “highest output” among STI models as it develops 324 hp (242 kW / 329 PS). This is 14 hp (10 kW / 14 PS) more than the WRX STI Type RA.



The performance upgrades don’t stop there as the car has a new shroud which allows the intercooler to “work at its maximum cooling efficiency.” The model also weighs 22 lbs (10 kg) less than the standard WRX STI.

Sticking with the performance theme, the Type RA-R has a unique tuned suspension with special springs and dampers. The company also installed 18-inch BBS wheels which are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires.  They are backed up by a Brembo braking system.

On the styling front, the model is distinguished by a honey comb mesh grille, carbon fiber mirror caps and a black shark fin antenna. Rounding out the changes are black STI badges and an “STI 30th Anniversary” logo on the trunk.

Subaru didn’t release interior photos, but said the model has fabric sport seats with red contrast stitching. Drivers will also find faux leather accents and a gloss back RA-R badge.

The WRX STI Type RA-R will be available to order in December and production will be limited to 500 units. Pricing will start at ¥4,628,000 ($41,624) before taxes.


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  • Perry F. Bruns

    I can see the commercial tagline now: “RAR!”

    • Kash

      watch, the commercial will have “RAWR” splash across the screen and then the “W” will fade out and then they’ll say something cliche like “Close enough…”

  • Bo Hanan

    This car has aged very quickly in 3 years. I suspect it will go out the door at $47K+.
    Money better spent on an BMW M2.

    • Infinite1

      It doesn’t seem like it’s aged for me, but to each his own

  • BullyHayes

    haha! – 330hp…

    wake me when theyve hit 500

    • Infinite1

      It’s going to be a long sleep

  • David Behmoaras

    I don’t understand why after so many years power is still barely over 300bhp. It’s like they’ve completely ignored upgrading the engine (I’m sure they haven’t). But for this money I’d rather have an S3 or a late model S4.

    • Krisnadi Imam

      in rallying, power isnt all that matters, durability and skills counts for more wins. besides, i think u are missing the point here.
      the STI has always been a platform for tuners to work with. when they handed you the key to the car, they dont give you a finished product, but a blank slate u can use to build upon. a few tweaks down in the shop and those 300 could be 400, add more bits and bobs, u get that 500+ that you want, all and all without costing another pairs of arms n legs to install, run and maintain. Try that on your RS4. Im not dissing Audis btw, each car are good for different purposes. RS4 is for those who wants the prestige and turnkey solution. is like buying a model toy and model kit. it serves different clients.

      • David Behmoaras

        So basically what you’re saying is that Subaru is selling an incomplete package? Also, in rallying, power isn’t all that matters, but how many people that buy this are actually going to take this to a rally? Also let’s not forget that Audi transformed rallying into what it is today with the Quattro (Group B), and dominated its rivals (including Subaru) for a considerable time. As far as tuning Audis go, you may have a point about reliability with mods, but that risk runs in any car. When I mentioned the S4 as an alternative, I meant that specifically as a car capable of destroying a snow stage. I had a tuned A4 when I lived in Michigan for a few years and it was at least as good (if not better) than any WRX or Lander evo around. Also, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on an S4 to boost its power. $4,000 can get you north of 450bhp pretty easily. And you get an interior that’s actually worth sitting in rather than something that was a complete afterthought. There’s a reason why these aren’t selling – the Lancer Evo has already been killed off in most markets. It’s because other cars are just better.

        For the record, I have always been a BMW man first. I’m not some Audi fanboy. (I’m a BMW fanboy.)

        • Krisnadi Imam

          what i meant by unfinished is like yes it performs all its basic functions, but u are encouraged to take it further.
          audis and bmws are crazy expensive in asia. when they broke, your monthly salary wouldnt be enough to fix them. i used to have the old audi a3 sportback TFSI, the abs unit died on me, i ended up spending 3 months worth of my salary to buy the part n replaced it.
          abs module replacement 2800 usd. my monthly salary 900, swear to god i wasnt making this up.

          • David Behmoaras

            All good! We’re too passionate car people having a passionate car discussion! I used to love these rally cars – was always more of an Evo person vs. WRX but I always respected both. I guess I lost interest when I didn’t see much improvement year after year while other companies were really upgrading their cars with every new generations.

            Also you brought up a very interesting point about parts being expensive in Asia. You are absolutely right. Our firm is an auto-parts manufacturer and distributor in markets around the world and I can say firsthand that you are totally right in that parts for German cars are so much more expensive than the US (we are based in the US but distribute all over the world). The costs in Asian markets for an Audi control arm, for instance, is 2-3x the price as it is in the US.

            I didn’t realize you were not US-based.

          • Krisnadi Imam

            yeah, its all cool man. sometime i wish i got a chance to experience living there in the US.
            all those spare part, the junkyards. cheap gas and high wages. thats like a DIY-ers heaven. i really want to build myself a mid engined K series powered 2nd gen insight. hahaha. crazy i know.
            also here is a kicker for u, despite my name im 100% chinesse and a catholic. back in the days there were a regulation set that prohibits u from using chinesse name. lolz.

      • Well ironically this one didn’t even go rallying beyond national series.

        Anyhow while your opinion on Japanese cars are right, in this case it’s just feel wrong. Since Type RA-R (Or S20x series for that matter) are meant to be run of the mill, heavily equipped with parts from STI catalog. But again if you see cars of this type in Japanese history, they rarely offered significant power bump. So in a way, it’s a Japanese tradition of it’s own, and last is that this type of cars were meant to be collectors edition.

  • SteersUright

    Subaru makes generic mainstream commuter vehicles and is miles removed from their once famous rally heritage. There hasn’t been a real STi in years. They’ve just refreshed this 10+ year old antique and for some bewildering reason, felt the absolute need to keep it in their lineup. Drop it or do it right, Subaru.

    • Krisnadi Imam

      dont cry when they actually dropping it… i seriously suspect that, this would be their last performance model. Once the new emission regulation hits, they will cancel this car, and that would be for good.

  • Infinite1

    I would like to see an engine upgrade to the 10+ year old engine that they still have. The interior also needs work, it’s much improved with this generation but still cheap looking

  • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

    Amazing machine

  • Mr. EP9

    I feel like Subaru is going to drop this from the lineup at some point.

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