If you’ve never driven the STI version of Subaru’s fabulous WRX, then you’ve been missing out on one of best little hot rods of the last 20 years. They offer symmetrical all-wheel drive, a manual transmission, plenty of power, and handling characteristics that were born from rally driving. And while each and every WRX and STI version that I’ve driven in the past has been wonderful, this new 2018 WRX STI Type RA takes the platform to a whole new level.
For the full 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA review, specs, pricing and data read on…
2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA Exterior
By itself the Subaru WRX is a pretty stout looking vehicle. From the factory it comes with flared fenders both front and rear, a blacked-out rear diffusor with polished quad exhaust tips, and one of the most aggressive front end treatments the compact car world has ever seen. Heck, the hood scoop alone could suck in a bald eagle. Thus, when Subaru decided to create this Type RA they had one helluva platform to start with. For those who don’t know “Type RA” stands for “Record Attempt” and it refers to the Subaru STI that ran a 6:57.5-minute lap at the Nurburgring. Is this car the same? Well no. That car was a factory backed 600-horsepower track missile. But this model takes some styling queues from that bad boy and to be honest, they work beautifully.
The most noticeable items are the large rear wing that graces the deck lid and the roof panel, both of which are constructed from carbon fiber. These are two items that one would never expect to find as OEM pieces on a Subaru. Then there are the split-spoke gold BBS wheels covering the giant six-piston Brembo Performance brakes along with a small badge on the lower portion of the trunk that designate this car as one of the lucky 500 to have been built. Make no mistake, this is a special car and for those in the “automotive know,” it’ll be a treat every time it’s encountered.
2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA Interior
Those familiar with the Subaru WRX STI will immediately feel at home inside the cabin of the Type RA. With Recaro sport seats covered in two-tone leather and micro-suede, a flat-bottomed steering wheel with red double stitching, a bright red start button and a center-mounted digital gauge pod, the interior of the Type RA is quite aggressive. The seats are electronically adjustable and offer superb lateral and lumbar support. Rear seats are relatively flat-backed, and to save weight, Subaru has actually removed the center armrest. But small pull levers reside on the upper corners, allowing the seats to fold down, and offer storage expansion above and beyond the 12 cubic-feet of cargo space.
Enthusiasts will enjoy the fact that this is a very simple cabin that’s centered on the driver. The Type RA utilizes Subaru sport-design electroluminescent analog gauges, which are well displayed and easy to read. The HVAC controls are simple to use, as is navigating through the seven-inch multimedia touchscreen. A well-crafted center console is home to a leather-covered shifter, a special Type RA plaque with the vehicle’s build number, and a small rotary knob that allows drivers to toggle between the different drive modes.
2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA Performance
Under the hood of the Type RA is a high-output 3.5-liter turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder boxer engine that produces 310 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission with STI-specific short-throw shifter. Max boost is set at 16.2 PSI, and comes on like a hammer when peak torque is reached between 4,000 and 5,200 rpm. Power from the boxer four builds progressively and isn’t peaky, which is great — especially during aggressive driving.
And while that’s all wonderful, the real secret to the Type RA is its three-mode symmetrical all-wheel drive system. Here we’ve got three different performance modes (Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp) along with six drive selectable differential locking settings. What that means is that as a driver, you can fine tune the Type RA to not only your driving style, but to the style of the terrain and weather conditions you’re encountering. I’m not sure I’d want to drive the Type RA on a daily basis, as it’s sprung rather stiff, however you’d be hard pressed to find something as nimble and satisfying, for a reasonable asking price of $48,995.00.**
2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA Safety
It goes without saying that the 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA is one of the safest small cars on the road today. With features like standard all-wheel drive, vehicle dynamics control with active torque vectoring, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert, anti-lock brakes, airbags, a backup camera, along with other safety features, you are sure to arrive safe and sound to your destination.
2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA Overall
With only 500 being produced, the WRX STI Type RA is a rare bird. It’s fast, fun, and exciting along with deserving just about every other automotive superlative you can throw at it. And while it’s not for everyone — make no mistake, it’s not — those fortunate enough to obtain one will go on to realize that the $48,995.00** they spent was well worth it.
Drop by your local AutoNation Subaru dealer today to check one out!
*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.
**Vehicle MSRP of $48,995.00excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.