2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA First Drive: Lots Of Fun, Lots Of Cash

– Palm Springs, California

Those letters at the end of this car’s acronym-tastic name stand for Record Attempt, because this road-going WRX STI Type RA pays homage to a Prodrive-built racing version that hit the Nürburgring last summer. Lapping the Green Hell in 6 minutes and 57.5 seconds, that machine set a new ‘Ring record for four-door cars. The road-going one is a fair bit less extreme, but you will at least be able to buy it at your local Subaru dealer.

Well, 500 people will be able to, as the Type RA is a seriously limited-edition car. If those buyers can rationalize the near-$50,000 asking price, they’ll be treated to one very fast, very fun all-wheel-drive sedan.

Turning a regular 2018 Subaru WRX STI into the Type RA begins with tweaks to the turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-four engine that extract a whopping five more horsepower, for a total of 310 hp; torque is unchanged at 290 pound-feet. A new air intake and a reflashed engine computer account for three of those horses, while a new exhaust with 50-percent less restriction uncorks the other two. The engine also has new pistons and sodium-filled exhaust valves to cope with the increased output. Could you get greater gains from this engine for less money in the aftermarket? Absolutely. But the Type RA comes with a factory warranty.


2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA

In the middle of the car, the six-speed manual transmission no...