There’s a Subaru STI at the Tokyo Auto Salon, but It’s Not What You Think

This is what the new Impreza looks like with STI parts. Too bad they’re all show and not much go.

byAaron Cole| PUBLISHED Jan 13, 2023 11:59 AM
There’s a Subaru STI at the Tokyo Auto Salon, but It’s Not What You Think
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These may be the “lost days” for Subaru’s vaunted STI brand—at least for now. This week at the Tokyo Auto Salon, Subaru unveiled STI parts for its newest Impreza hatchback and a very limited Levorg STI wagon, both of which fall short of the hairy-chested, full-blown STI model and fall much further short of ever reaching the U.S. We reached out to Subaru for comment but a spokesperson declined.

The “Impreza fitted with STI Parts” (Subaru’s words, not ours) includes a center-mounted dual exhaust, side skirts, spoiler, and STI-specific wheels fitted to a 2024 Subaru Impreza, which made its debut last year at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Subaru released scant information about the parts, only that they’re “under development,” and it’s unlikely that we’ll see any of them sold by Subaru dealers outside of Japan. For what it’s worth, STI in Japan has long been an aftermarket sales producer and a specialty in-house tuner rather than a legendary nameplate and hardcore sedan or wagon like it is in the States. While STI has cachet for Subaru customers in Japan, it's long-established as an aftermarket parts supplier without the figurative velvet rope like it has in the U.S. That's a nice way to say, “Japan expects STI-branded parts, the U.S. expects STI cars.”

That’s not to say the cupboard was completely bare. Subaru showed off a limited production Levorg STI Sport# Prototype based on the Levorg STI Sport R EX model. The wagon, of which only 500 will be made, starts at 5,240,000 Yen ($41,000) and boasts a 271-horsepower, 2.4-liter flat-four mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The Levorg STI gets stiffer antiroll bars, new struts, and adjustable dampers. Forged, 19-inch BBS wheels look great, albeit from across the Pacific Ocean. We'll never see it in the U.S.

More likely to arrive in some form or fashion in the U.S. is the Crosstrek Boost Gear concept, which is shorthand for “Crosstrek Overlander.” The Boost Gear gets chunky Yokohama Overlander M/T tires, lots of tough-looking cladding, a small lift, side steps, a roof rack, and an awning. It’s unlikely to spawn a spin-off trim level in the U.S., but it’s possible that some of what appears on the Boost Gear will become available via dealer-installed options. 

Watch the presentation below.

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