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Anoraks at the ready, it’s another Subaru Impreza special

Well, WRX STI special, obviously. There’s a new BRZ STI, too…

The Tokyo motor show may be about all that futuristic stuff – electric, hydrogen and autonomous cars – but Subaru has still found time to stick a big wing and more power in a WRX STI. Thank the lord.

So while the centrepiece of Subaru’s stand is its next-gen WRX, this WRX STI S208 NBR Challenge Package sits proudly alongside. The NBR in its name is no doubt a nod to this Nürburgring-beating special, but its numbers aren’t quite as mighty.

The brief stats are thus: just 450 will be made, each with a 2.0-litre boxer engine producing 324bhp and 318lb ft. Compared to the old S207 it has more power and a lower centre of gravity, thanks to its carbon roof. Rather spoilsportingly, there are no 0-60mph or top speed numbers, but expect sub-5.0secs and 160mph-plus respectively.

Over a regular STI there’s quicker steering and many suspension improvements, with adjustable damping and active torque-vectoring. And carbon ahoy if you tick all the options boxes, the humongous rear wing most notable. You can only have a manual gearbox (hurrah!) while there’s lots of Alcantara and pink detailing inside.

If you’re smitten, then you’d better live in Japan. All are being sold there, with prices starting at 6,264,000 yen, or about £42,000. You’ve a choice of three colours: white, traditional rally blue or this ‘Cool Grey Khaki’, which looks more than a little like the colour deployed by Hyundai’s new i30 N.

A colour also applied liberally to the BRZ STI Sport, the new range-topping BRZ in Japan (and Japan only, obviously). It doesn’t get the WRX’s 324bhp engine – shame – instead sticking with its base car’s oft-maligned boxer four, albeit with 204bhp, a smidge more than we get in the UK.

To warrant the STI badge there’s new Sachs suspension components, 18in wheels with proper performance tyres (rather than slippery eco ones) and a mixture of leather and Alcantara in ‘Bordeaux Red’ inside. Lovely.

At £24,000, it also looks startling value beside both the Impreza S208 and our UK-spec BRZ. Aren’t the Japanese lucky?

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