Subaru Tecnica International. These three words don’t exactly imbue excitement at first glance. But for the fans of rally racing and the STI nameplate, you know that these three words mean business.
Powered by a turbocharged internal combustion engine and hardened for exhilarating performance, the STI nameplate is the ultimate tune for the WRX nameplate, or any Subaru for that matter – much like a Type R equivalent for Honda fans out there.
Now, that the fifth-generation Subaru WRX is here, underpinned by the new Subaru Global Platform, one can’t help but wonder about the future of the STI nameplate in the Philippines.
Of note, Subaru of North America has already confirmed the death of the Subaru WRX STI nameplate. In a statement released last March, Subaru said that it “is exploring opportunities for the next-generation Subaru WRX STI, including electrification.” The release continues on by saying that the next WRX STI “will not be produced based upon the new WRX platform.”
That confirms that the all-new Subaru WRX that we saw this week will not have an STI version in the future. However, that doesn’t stop fans all over the world mulling making their own.
Quoted by several media outlets, Subaru Australia said in May that it’s considering making its own WRX STI based on the fifth-generation model. It wasn’t a confirmation that it’s happening, but at least we know that the Australian arm of the automaker is considering doing so – something that isn’t new to the company since it has made an STI tune before that’s endemic to its market.
Is this something we can expect in the Philippines and other markets under Motor Image? Unfortunately, it’s a hard no.
In a press conference right after the reveal of the all-new Subaru WRX on June 8, 2022, Mr. Glenn Tan, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Tan Chong International Limited, answered the query with a firm disposition.
He cited that the lack of homologation rules and tuning regulations renders making a Philippine-endemic STI. He understands that STI buyers are keen to tune their cars on their own right after rolling the showrooms.
“There’s no meaning for me to sell a model, tune it, and charge a premium for it. Might as well go outside and have the car tuned for one-tenth of the price, so I don’t see any business sense to do it here,” Tan explained.
With that out of the way, it’s time to pour one out for the current-generation WRX STI as we know it. The only time you can get your hands on an official STI-tuned WRX is through the used cars market.
Or, you can opt for the indent order-exclusive WRX tS variants that are available for the sedan and wagon. The tS badge, which stands for “tuned by STI”, represents the top-spec trims of the range, offering more drive modes that alter engine response and suspension tuning, as well as STI badges in the cabin. It’s the closest we can get to the real thing at this time.
Prices of the WRX and WRX Wagon are as follows:
WRX sedan M/T – P 2,508,000
WRX sedan CVT – P 2,658,000
WRX tS sedan CVT – P 2,808,000*
WRX CVT wagon – P 2,558,000
WRX tS wagon CVT – P 2,708,000*
* tS variants are available on an indent-order basis.