Subaru Shows WRX tS: The Diet STI

The STI color theme is just a tease

If you squint reaaaal hard, the newest Subaru WRX might look like it’s been given the STI treatment. The blue paint, the shiny brakes, the red badging — it’s there, and it has, sorta.

However, like the BRZ before it, the additions come courtesy of the tS treatment. To boot, the WRX tS has remedied one of the biggest issues with the current lineup — the fact that the car’s electronically-controlled dampers were locked behind the automatic transmission-only GT trim. Now, these STI-tuned dampers are available with three pedals and will feature three modes: Comfort, Normal, and Sport.

The large Recaro buckets are trimmed in suede with blue accents

We asked Subaru exactly what “STI-tuned” means, and in effect, it means the exacting specifications of the company’s famous racing division. While the dampers are mechanically similar to the GT’s, this tuning is unique to the TS. Subaru’s media team also tells us that they ought to “probably” be beyond even the stiffness of the TR dampers (and Canada's RS).

There are other changes too. Six-piston Brembo brakes sit up front, accompanied by a set of two-piston calipers in the rear, and together they clamp down on upgraded rotors. Braking is by far one of the base model’s weakest areas, and updates here should go a long way to making the WRX more competent on and off the track.

Subaru also fits updated wheels and tires, as with the BRZ tS. Here, that means 19-inch wheels with 245/35 R19 Bridgestone Potenza S007 tires. These are also an aesthetic update as well as a performance one, and other visual changes include glossy black mirrors, antenna, and rear spoiler. Of course, there’s also unique badging for the tS model as well.

The WRX tS brings three pedals, three driving modes, and STI-tuned dampers

Inside, the biggest change is no doubt the large Recaro buckets, trimmed in suede with blue accents. Subaru says it also removed the sunroof for better head clearance (helmets take up a lot of room, you know) and a lower center of gravity. Also new is a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster paired with Subaru’s familiar tablet-style 11.6-inch center screen.

We’ll know more about pricing later this year. Of course, having two performance-focused trims amid the WRX lineup doesn’t make a lot of sense. Per Subaru, “it [the tS] will effectively replace TR next year.” However, representatives told that some of the parts from the newest WRX could possibly show up in “other trim levels”.

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Chase Bierenkoven
Chase Bierenkoven

Chase is an automotive journalist with years of experience in the industry. He writes for outlets like Edmunds and AutoGuide, among many others. When not writing, Chase is in front of the camera over at The Overrun, his YouTube channel run alongside his friend and co-host Jobe Teehan. If he's not writing reviews of the latest in cars or producing industry coverage, Chase is at home in the driver's seat of his own (usually German) sports cars.

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