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The Subaru WRX STI is leaving the UK

The rally rep Impreza bows out with the Final Edition. Pass the tissues

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Excuse us while we wallow in heartbreak, eating ice cream straight out of the tub in front of old rally videos. The sports saloon that’s been with us close to 25 years, the one Gran Turismo and Colin McRae made us fall in love with, is leaving the UK.

The end of the Subaru WRX STI ought to feel inevitable; the car hasn’t changed its ethos or power output in years, while more attainable hot hatches have got fitter and faster. Yet the news is still hard to swallow.

Before the life support is properly unplugged, the WRX STI – formerly the Impreza WRX STI, of course – bows out in the only way the car industry knows. A special edition.

While it retains the standard STI’s 296bhp 2.5-litre four, the Final Edition is proper, and not just an apologetic lick of paint. There are bigger wheels – up one inch to 19 inches – which house stronger Brembo brakes. The clever power-shuffling differential now uses purely electronic control for sharper reactions.

Want to spot one? The frontal styling is more aggressive, with a larger grille for better cooling. The interior gets new red stitching and detailing while the media system has a bigger screen, DAB and a reversing camera.

There are now heated seats for when you want to recreate your rally fantasies in icy climes, while the headlights react to steering and oncoming cars, for better illuminating your night time special stage recreations.

Yep, it’s a proper makeover, this, the kind that cars get during a mid-life overhaul. When they have years of life left in them, and the death knell isn’t tolling. The WRX STI is the freshest it’s been in ages, making its depature even harder to swallow. Just 150 will come to the UK, on sale now for £33,995.

It also makes us wonder what the Subaru Viziv concept from last week’s Tokyo motor show means. It looks for all the world like the next-gen version of the rally-bred sports saloon, but this news could knock our presumptions into a cocked hat.

A hat we’re now doffing to one of the performance car legends of our generation. Now, fetch the ice cream…

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