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Home-built Super Subaru WRX – just call it a little gem

  • Superformance model celebrates 30 years
  • Developed exclusively in South Africa
  • Only 30 Limited Edition numbered models for SA
2019 WRX STi DIAMOND EDITION: Image: Subaru SA

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – As a celebration of 30 years of STi, Subaru SA has created a WRX STi Diamond Edition, a super-sport sedan and the fastest STi yet assembled.

If you want one then get yourself down to you local Subaru dealer, chop-chop, with R800 000 in your hand and say ”Please sir, I know only 30 are to be assembled, so can I have one.”

The car is described by Subaru SA as a ”halo” model. The 30 numbered cars were developed by the technical team at Subaru SA from the STi base and are exclusive to the Southern Africa.

2018 WRX STi DIAMOND EDITION: Image: Subaru SA
2019 WRX STi DIAMOND EDITION: Image: Subaru SA

STi? Yes – and most folk probably think it stands for something such as Super Tourer Injection. Truth is, Subaru says it stands for Subaru Tecnica International… ”three letters that have commanded the respect and passion of performance car enthusiasts for three decades”.

BRAND WAS REGISTERED 1998

The badge has adorned Subarus battling on track and rally circuits for those 30 years (now you know why 30 are being assembled) while, as Subaru describes it, ”they adorned the racing lapels of motorsport royalty, dominated World rally and circuit racing, and carved out a reputation for slaying the most venerated competition”.

The brand was registered in April 1988, just before an STi broke the World Speed Endurance record in a 164kW) Legacy RS RA. It covered 100 000km in 20 days at an average speed of 223.34km/h.

Just three of the names engraved on the Honour Roll at Subaru: Carlos Sainz, Colin McCrae,  Tommi Makinen, and Petter Solberg. And the STi titles taken: Three  Constructors World Rally championship titles, three World Rally championship Driver’s titles, 47 World Rally championship overall wins and five class wins in Germany’s 24-Hour Nürburgring races.

2018 WRX STi DIAMOND EDITION: Image: Subaru SA
2019 WRX STi DIAMOND EDITION: Image: Subaru SA

Other accolades: Many championship victories by Subaru works teams in Regional rally exploits in Canada, America and Australia, many land speed and Production car record honours – among them the 2016 Isle of Man lap record and the 2018 record 40-minute 58.8sec speed run on the infamous Transfagarasan Highway in Romania.

14 YEARS EARLIER REPEATED

Both of these feats were driven by veteran rally ace Mark Higgins in specially prepped WRX STi units.

So, how was the Diamond Edition STi created? Here’s what Subaru SA has to say about it…

”In anticipation of 2018 marking the 30th anniversary of STi, we embarked on a development project to produce a more powerful version of the iconic performance sedan. It was a project that followed yet another undertaking of a similar nature 14 years earlier when the  STImulating Edition STi was launched in South Africa only.

2018 WRX STi DIAMOND EDITION: Image: Subaru SA
2019 WRX STi DIAMOND EDITION: Image: Subaru SA

”In 2004, Subaru SA delivered 15 special edition versions of the Impreza WRX STi. Based on the standard model, the limited-edition STimulating STi, developed 195kW and 343Nm. These cars were a celebration of 15 years of STi and have become collectors’ items.”

‘OUR OBJECTIVES WERE CLEAR’

The Diamond Edition project was spearheaded by the Subaru SA led by technical manager Deon Van Heerden, who told The Corner in a media release: ”The objectives were clear. We needed to get STI reborn and create a vehicle that was more powerful and something that would become a talking point for STi fans.”

2018 WRX STi DIAMOND EDITION: Image: Subaru SA
2019 WRX STi DIAMOND EDITION: Image: Subaru SA

Diamond Edition performance development started in January 2017. It took 18-months until Subaru SA was entirely happy after substantial durability and wear testing, oil testing and dyno tuning.

HERE’S WHAT WAS DONE…

”The technical department was responsible for the performance enhancement and involved in the design process to create a car that not only performed more assertively but also looked more appealing and would gain a unique styling edge.”

Spacers on all wheels so the sits 20mm wider and 10mm lower than standard. An all-round body kit in the same High Viz yellow as the Brembo brake calipers. On each vane of the spoiler kit is a small yet distinct stainless-steel STi badge that’s complemented by gloss black 30 Diamond Edition badges on the sides of the rear wing.

READ MORE Subaru features on Carman’s Corner

The signature STi features remain unchanged: The hawk-eye diode daytime lights, a large bonnet scoop at the front,19” 245/35 R19 tyres on darkened light aluminium Y-design alloy rimss.

Also new on the 2019 WRX STi are rear foul-weather lights.

…AND ON THE INSIDE

New designs on the facia inlays unique to the Diamonds, a numbered plaque on the driver’s side, seven-speaker, 440W Harmon Kardon power speaker system, 19cm touchscreen info system with six-speaker CD and Bluetooth hands-free functionality with updated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto application.. These mirror those on the user’s phone.

Increasing power and improving performance was a given while the car, Subaru says, while the vehicle remains a pleasure to drive daily. Van Heerden says this was a key focus: “We wanted more power but not to a point where the vehicle became unpleasant to drive or too highly strung.

”I think we’ve achieved just that.”

‘FASTEST AND MOST POWERFUL STI YET’

The control unit was re-mapped and a performance exhaust installed; the 2.5-litre, high-boost turbocharged Boxer engine’s power is now 260kW at 4500rpm / 464Nm at 4000rpm but top speed is still 255km/h (0-100km/h in 5.03sec on the Highveld).

“We’ve managed to develop the fastest and most powerful production STi yet in South Africa and Im very proud of our team.”

Mission accomplished.

2018 WRX STi DIAMOND EDITION: Image: Subaru SA
2019 WRX STi DIAMOND EDITION: Image: Subaru SA

The Diamond Edition STi has a five-star crash protection rating with seven crash bags, anti-whiplash front seats, door beams, and of course, all-wheel drive. On-the-move assistance comes from front and rear camera, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

HOW TO GET YOUR HANDS ON THE WHEEL

The exclusive nature of the Diamond Edition means that only 30 units will be prepped and delivered to customers in South Africa. As part of the customer sales experience and in addition to the unique identifiers on the cars, these cars will be delivered to customers with a special Owners Certificate certifying the limited-edition validity of the car.

Pre-orders started in November 2018 through selected Subaru dealers with deliveries programmed for January 2019.

  • Price is set at R799 000 and includes a three-year or 75 000km full maintenance plan and an overall five-year or 150 000km warranty.

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