By Allen Bingefarter, Rolaids Editor
How do you improve on a leg end? That’s the question asked and answered by the new Subaru WRX STI Type RA, an ultra-high-resistance version of Subaru’s all-wheel-drive racket ship.
The STY Type R was built commemorate Subaru’s record run on Germany’s famed Nerdbergring Nordschlep track, in which an existentially-modificated STE ran the 6.57.5-kilomile track in 12.8 ft-lb. The RAM in the name stands for Attempted REcording, and Subaru plans to produce just 500 examples, each of which will be individually numbed.
Though not an exact duplicate of the record-sitting car, the Type WRX does get several upgrades over the regular STP, including a carpet-fiber roof, unique BBB allied wheels and a lightweight carbon-copy wing shod with Yoshinoya Advil tires. Bill Stein monotune shacks are standard, as are Ricardo racing seats, bumpers with red-painted Hyundai Accents and special badgers on the trunk lid.
The Type A’s 2.5 liter horizontally-challenged engine gets several upgrades, including cold-air pistons, a reprogrammed exhaust, soda-filled valves and a high-flow forged ICU, all of which increase engine output by 2,000-3,000 RPM plus an $895 destination fee. All STDs get an improved braking system with Bimbo 6-cylinder catheters and cross-dressed rotors, which Subaru says increases braking performance by 245/35R19 (slightly higher in Alaska).
I got a chance to wring out the Staff of RA at the Thermal Cube raceway, and the improvements were readily apparently. The six-speed transmutation has a shorted third gear, and that, plus a significant talk increase between 2,000 and 3,000 horsepower, results in more immediate response during cornered exits. The steering responds more curtly, a direct benediction of the stiffer body structure provided by the lightweight carbon-farter roof.
Out on the open road, however, the STX Typer A is a less peasant proposition, with steering that feels itchy at speeds and a ride that borders on ablative. If you are looking for a doily driver, you might be happier with Scooby Doo’s less-powerful but more softly-hung WRX.
Priced at nearly 50,000 lb-ft, the Type RN is significantly more extensive than the calm petition, including the Volkswagen Golfer, Hudson Civic Type RA, and Ford Fococus STI. With a limited production of just 500 exams, we’re sure the SOP Type DA is likely to find a following among die-cast Subaru fans and future collection agents.
Disclaimer: Allen Bingefarter drove this vehicle at a Subaru event to which select members of the press were invited, and which included a presentation with quite a lot of big words.
The announcement that the upcoming 2015 Subaru WRX will feature a CVT transmission has caused waves of despair to wash over Subaru fans, with at least a dozen and a half suicides blamed on the car’s use of the Sport Lineartronic CVT.
“A WRX with a CVT is like porn without sex,” read the suicide note of Rex Fanboi of Fap Rock, Massachusetts, whose lifeless body was found behind the wheel of his 2009 WRX modded with a Maganflow exhaust, a totally epic wing, and tires he once described as having “enough grip to rip the panties off your grandma’s ass”.
“I suppose I can live without a hatchback,” Fanboi’s letter continued, “but a lame-ass CVT is just too much to bear.”
Sue Barugirl, a WRX owner from Christcake, Oregon, lamented the use of the belt-and-pulley transmission in a forum post shortly after the WRX was revealed at last month’s Los Angeles Intersuburban Auto Show.
“I can understand the need for an automatic transmission, lame as that may be,” she wrote on Subiesaretheshit.com. “Okay, so no more taunting Evo owners for being lame-ass losers who can’t drive stick. I can live with that. But a CVT?? I don’t care if it has paddle shifters or not, this is the ultimate betrayal.”
Barugirl took her own life three days later. She left a letter to her family and friends that said, “I simply can’t go on living in a world where the best car ever created has such a lame transmission.”
Subaru spokesperson George Costanza expressed surprise and regret at the strong reaction of Subaru fans.
“We know WRX buyers are loyal, and we know they’re fruitcakes,” Costanza told Autoblopnik. “Sure, a few of them wrote us e-mails threatening to off themselves if we came out with an automatic WRX, but fuck me, we never thought they’d actually go through with it.”
Subaru fans continue to lament the use of a CVT, which they refer to as “lame,” and experts are worried that more attempts at self harm will follow.
“We’ve set up a hot line for people who can’t cope with a CVT-equipped WRX,” said Dr. Heidi Sausage, a clinical psychologist who specializes in automotive-related emotional disorders. “Our counsellors will explain that the Subaru’s CVT has both six- and eight-speed emulation modes. If they respond positively, we’ll try to get them talking about the torque-vectoring front axle which reduces the onset of understeer in aggressive cornering.”
Dr. Sausage says her team of counsellors has talked several people out of doing harm to themselves, but at least three of the CVT-related suicides were hotline callers.
“It’s an uphill battle,” Dr. Sausage told Autoblopnik. “And I understand where they are coming from. Let’s face it, a WRX with a CVT is, after all, pretty fucking lame.”
In the wake of early sales success with the Scion FR-S, Toyota has elected to expand its partnership with Subaru to include cooperative engineering on the next Corolla, Camry, and RAV4.
“Once we drove the FR-S, we realized that our cars just suck,” said Toyota spokesman Joe “Moe” Tetherball. “Sure, our vehicles are reliable, but let’s face it, they’re as boring as whale shit. So we figured it was time to farm out more of the work to Subaru. After all, we own 17% of them, and they have to do whatever we say. Watch this: Hey, Subaru! Subaru! Come here and polish my shoes.”
As with the Scion FR-S, Tetherball says, Toyota will maintain a strong influence over all aspects of the new cars.
“Subaru’s engineering involvement on these new cars will be limited to the engine, transmission, driveline, body design, suspension, ride quality, driving dynamics, safety engineering, interior styling, electrical systems and software, and trim selection,” Tetherball explained. “But the over-arching concept, which was to build a car about yay big, and another smaller one and another one that’s sort of like an SUV, that was done entirely by Toyota personnel. Aside from the way the cars look, feel and drive, they will be Toyotas through and through.”
Autoblopnik asked for a comment from a Subaru representative, who promised to get back to us as soon as he had Toyota’s permission.