Subaru Tecnica International
High-performance tuning and motorsport division of Subaru
|Founded||April 2, 1988|
Subaru Tecnica International (スバルテクニカインターナショナル株式会社, Subaru Tekunika Intānashonaru Kabushiki-gaisha), or STI (prior to 2006, STi), is Subaru Corporation's motorsports division. STI, along with Prodrive of the UK specialized in the preparation of a variety of vehicles for the Subaru World Rally Team which competed in the World Rally Championship (WRC). It was founded in 1988 by Subaru Corporation (formerly known as Fuji Heavy Industries), the parent company of Subaru, to promote the company's performance-oriented identity.
Subaru Tecnica International Inc. was established in 1988 by Fuji Heavy Industries to overtake all Subaru’s motorsport activities and participate in rally championships. Subaru’s first performance model was the Subaru Legacy Turbo, which featured a 2 liter turbo engine producing 240 horsepower mated to a five speed gearbox and weighing just over 2,600 pounds. The vehicle had a top speed of 155 miles per hour, which was considered ‘’Extremely powerful’’ at the time.
In 1992, with its rally competitors increasingly shifting towards smaller and lighter chassis, Subaru introduced the smaller Impreza WRX, immediately achieving a podium on its debut on the 1993 1000 Lakes Rally. To jumpstart its early rally efforts, and to develop the Impreza into a competitive rally car, Subaru teamed up with preparatory firm and British motorsports company Prodrive, in 1989.
In 1994, Subaru replaced the WRX with the Impreza 555 rally car. The Impreza 555, eventually renamed ’’STI,’” featured a 2.0 litre intercooled turbocharged engine with 250 horsepower, upgraded suspension that could take on more aggressive potholes and jumps, as well as a short shifting transmission which made switching gears more accessible and quicker. Each year between 1995 and 1997, the STI gave Subaru the Constructor's Championship in the World Rally Championship.
Subaru models with STI trim
STI versions of the Impreza, Forester and the Legacy have been marketed as limited edition vehicles in certain markets. STI also designs upgraded parts, mostly suspension related, for use on other Subaru vehicles.
The Subaru Impreza WRX and the Subaru Legacy B4 both come in high performance STI editions (formerly capitalized "STi" before the 2006 model year), designed by STI. The STI offers many advantages over the WRX, such as a six-speed manual transmission (different than the 2015+ WRX 6MT) with a helical (Suretrac in '04 models) limited slip front differential, driver controlled center differential(DCCD), IHI VF39 turbocharger (VF43 in 2007, VF48 from 2008 on), BBS lightweight alloy wheels, a mechanical rear limited slip differential and Brembo brakes. The WRX STI has Recaro style bucket seats and a MOMO steering wheel.
The WRX STI was the first and so far only STI vehicle made available to North American consumers. While the WRX was first released for the North American market in 2001 for the 2002 model year, the limited production Impreza WRX STI sedan with 300 hp and 310 foot pounds of torque did not hit the market until 2004, with a base price tag between $35,000-$40,000.
STI also released Legacies kitted out in full STI trim. These are rare and sought after by Subaru enthusiasts. They were only released new in Japan (JDM) and New Zealand (NZDM). In 2016 an STI kit was built for the redesigned Crosstrek models which included STI branded wheels, hatchback spoiler, and shift knobs for both automatic and manual variants.
Some Subaru enthusiasts have requested that the manufacturer install the STI engine in the BRZ to provide extra power, but there is concern that a more powerful BRZ would compete directly with the WRX. Drawings of a BRZ STI exist online and concepts have been shown at auto shows, but Subaru has yet to release an official statement. However, there is speculation that the next generation BRZ will be ready by the summer of 2018, with a naturally aspirated engine.
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- "Heritage | Our Story | SUBARU". www.subaru-global.com. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
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- "2018 Subaru WRX STI". Top Speed. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
- "Subaru WRC History". Top Speed. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
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- "No turbo, but Subaru BRZ STI confirmed for America". Autoweek. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
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