First Impressions: 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA

2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA

We get a look at Subaru’s highest-performance vehicle at Road America.

By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, | May 2018

At the 2018 Midwest Automotive Association annual Spring Rally, Subaru provided the Type RA variant of the high-performance STI sedan. The STI Type RA was available to test on laps around the Road America track, although it also would have been delightful on the winding roads of Wisconsin. We’re already fans of the WRX and STI, so taking the Type RA for a quick track drive is icing on the cake. Protocol for this particular event emphasizes that we have the privilege of testing cars at Road America, rather than the obligation to pretend that we’re all racing experts, so bear in mind that we weren’t trying to set any records with the STI Type RA, nor was this really the time or place to attempt to find its limits.

During those precious few minutes, we found little to complain about. The price is an eye-opener, to be sure, and it will be hard for most buyers to justify the premium over the STI (or even the WRX, for that matter). And while the ultrasuede-finished steering wheel looks great, it quickly gets a little sweaty under high-pressure driving situations. Besides that, the interior is comfortable and easy to set up the way you like, and the firm, supportive Recaro seats are super easy to adjust.

Even though it was an unusual track day, it’s clear that the STI Type RA is bred for this environment. Acceleration is quick, braking is smooth and firm, steering responds perfectly to driver input and feels about as natural as can be. Changing gears is a pleasure, with just the right amount of firmness in the clutch and a very easy, yet deliberate, feel to the shifter.

For the uninitiated, the Subaru STI Type RA is a limited model, with only 500 examples produced, and is new for 2018. It provides a 5-horsepower bump over the STI’s 305-horsepower rating, thanks to sport tuning for the computer and exhaust, an upgraded intake, and stronger engine internals. The Type RA also gets an upgraded sport suspension and shaves some weight. To actually evaluate the performance advantages over the regular STI, we would really need to drive both of them back to back for a decent amount of time, but a regular STI was not available at this event. Overall, though, it was a great lap around the track.

The 2018 Subaru STI Type RA has an MSRP of $48,995 and has limited availability.

2018-06-04T14:29:03-04:00Jun 2018|Car Reviews|