• Sep 30, 2009
Subaru WRX STI Carbon - Click above for high-res image gallery

Subaru has announced a new version of the WRX STI that will debut at the Tokyo Motor Show. We've looked at this one six ways 'til Sunday (maybe seven) and we still can't make sense of it. But, hear us out. One of the main knocks against the STI has long been that it's a little too porky. But, when you base a performance car on a plebeian chassis, that's the price you pay. Another knock is that the STI – while potent – is just not as hardcore as the Mitsubishi EVO, even though the EVO X is a little, well, less hardcore than the EVO IX. So obviously Subaru's going to address these concerns with a special, lightweight edition STI, right? Well...

Meet the WRX STI Carbon. It has a carbon fiber roof. And a five-speed automatic transmission borrowed from the Legacy – no manual. And... suede seats. Yup, that's it. Now, we like the roof, don't get us wrong. Removing weight and lowering the center of gravity is exactly what the STI needs. But, a slushbox? For reals? Subaru says the five-speed auto is there to offer, "distinctive driving pleasure to a wider range of customers." Ah, the old dumbing it down so you can sell more trick. Hey, it worked for Porsche (see: Cayenne).

Let's see here, the last time Subaru tried this maneuver was in 2008 with the GE/GH third generation WRX. That went so well that Subaru was forced to relaunch the car twelve months later and rename to the 2008 WRX as the auto-only 2.5 GT. In other words, we just don't get the STI Carbon. Maybe in a year's time, Subaru will be forced to rename it the Carbon GT. That would at least make some sense. Right?




PRESS RELEASE

IMPREZA WRX STI CARBON (Display model)


Based on the Subaru Impreza WRX STI A-Line model with 5 speed automatic transmission that offers distinctive driving performance to a wider range of customers, the Subaru Impreza WRX CARBON features the use of carbon material in the roof to achieve both a significant weight reduction and a lower center of gravity. In addition, the suede fabric used in the interior enhances driving excitement and pride of ownership
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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 43 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      There is no, repeat NO excuse for a 5 spd auto slushbox. Not even a 6? Pitiful. How dare the call this car "Carbon." No carbon interior and exterior bits? If I want a carbon fibre roof, I'll take my car to a graphics shop and get it wrapped!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I feel like this has to be some sort of a misunderstanding.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Big deal fan boys!! Subaru made this decision to sell more cars, get over it. If you really want the carbon roof, once this is available buy the part and install it on your 6 speed. DONE and stop complaining that Subaru fails.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Jimbo... the 08 WRX is actually lighter than the 06. Nobody hated it for its lack of power (again, it was more or less on par with the previous generation). They just thought it was too soft as far as suspension and steering go. That's the main thing they tried to fix with the 09. I'd guess the power bump is because in the near decade since the WRX first came over, people have expected more and more power out of a 25+k performance car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Believe it or not, we ALL grow out of pubity... eventually! Row boats are for kids who don't know any better! My guess is you'd chose a manual behind a 5.7 Lt too........... make it like driving a truck and blow clutches constantly.

      Figure it out..... AWD Turbos have a slight issue with clutches and gearboxes!! None of you has obviously EVER owned one. I had one for 3 years and the clutch is a definite weak link. Drop the clutch at 5K rpm twice in an hour and you'll be pulling the box out. I test drove an Evo 5 Makkinen press car once and on the first hard standing start, guess what.... the clutch was already slipping.

      Go to your local drag strip and see how many of the serious cars run autos.... basically anything V8 with 500hp plus will be running an auto.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This isn't a drag car...supposedly it's a driver's car (ie, should come in manual only, like the rest of the STIs.) But hey, it's the same kind of tranny that's in a MB SL65 AMG Black... like that makes it ok.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Given how you can't properly spell puberty, I wonder if you've yet to hit it. If you abuse a tranny you'll bust it. That's true whether you're driving a standard or an automatic. Rev a high-powered automatic car to high RPMs, do a neutral-to-drive drop and watch your torque converter get destroyed.

        Considering a well-driven manual lasts LONGER than an auto tranny, I find it both laughable and ignorant. Maybe the cars you tried had their trannies fail because you didn't know how to row through the gears.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Paul
        Well, I’ll have to disagree with you Paul. Though I am only 20 years old, and I find driving a stick rather enjoyable, I reserve that pleaser only for deserving cars. I drive a Nissan Pathfinder that is Auto and I wouldn't want it to be a stick for it does not have what I would say the need for a stick. I think only cars with a racing focus or speed focus should have stick. I wouldn't waste my time with getting a stick for a civic (mainly because I’m not that great with it) because I think it's a waste. However cars like the STI and things like that should at least have a stick option. I would instantly HATE a viper if they took the stick out of the viper because things set the mood for the car. The STI is supposed to be a rally car so when you get that you want to feel the purpose built feel of ruggedness. Even if what you say is true (not saying it is or not) it’s more about the feel of the drive than the numbers. I care more of the emotion I will get from driving the car than anything else. I think why most people get STI's, well to also be posers, but mainly for the act of driving what they feel is a hard core rally car.
        Also stop being such an elitist. I hate when people do that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        yea i agree with paul all the way. you cant have a dependable AWD car that is boosted especially if you like getting after it. youll be changing the clutch probly every month and maybe every three or four a tranny and eventually your gonna start blowing differentials front and back then your in some serious trouble so i think ill stick with FWD/RWD hondas and nissans and ill leave subaru's to Ken Block.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm going to break this down for you. Why? Because it reeks of stupidity.

        "Believe it or not, we ALL grow out of pubity... eventually!"

        1. It's puberty. Learn English.

        "Row boats are for kids who don't know any better! My guess is you'd chose a manual behind a 5.7 Lt too........... make it like driving a truck and blow clutches constantly."

        2. You're joking right? You'd take a 4L60 or 65E 4spd auto from GM over the absolutely sublime Tremec T56 6-spd?! How exactly does buying a manual transmission sports car make it like driving a truck? Please do tell. I'm waiting to hear this... Also, you only kill a clutch if you're an idiot. My 04 6-spd GTO has 84,000 miles on it, 110 drag strip passes, 6 auto-x days, and one road course session. The clutch is just now showing signs of wear. And I make 60 more HP at the crank than these EVOs and STis.

        "Figure it out..... AWD Turbos have a slight issue with clutches and gearboxes!! None of you has obviously EVER owned one. I had one for 3 years and the clutch is a definite weak link. Drop the clutch at 5K rpm twice in an hour and you'll be pulling the box out."

        3. And you wonder why you had clutch issues. Maybe if you didn't drive like an idiot that wouldn't be an issue.

        "I test drove an Evo 5 Makkinen press car once and on the first hard standing start, guess what.... the clutch was already slipping."

        4. You answered your own issue there. Press car. Also, this is probably contributed to your apparently horrible clutch technique.

        "Go to your local drag strip and see how many of the serious cars run autos.... basically anything V8 with 500hp plus will be running an auto."

        5. People run auto transmissions at drag strips not for durability. It's for consistency. When bracket racing a drag car, an auto trans allows you to leave the start line the same way every time. And, assuming the trans is in tip top condition, the same shifts every time. Guess what that means? You're times will be very close, which is critical in drag racing for a dial-in.


        Finally, there is one benefit to an auto, turbo car. Automatic transmissions don't require the throttle plate to be shut when shifting to the next gear. So when you rail on the car, the boost pressure stays constant all the way through the pull. A manual car needs the throttle closed when you shift traditionally (unless you powershift) which means that boost pressure is lost and must be built back up in between shifts. So, assuming no powershifting, the auto will probably be faster in a straight line against the manual STi.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They need to get off their ass and come up with a dual-clutch tranny.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Make more sense than any vehicle in Chrysler's lineup.
      • 5 Years Ago
      In Japan, high performance Imprezas are driven by a wider variety of people than in the US.

      This car was obviously made with the Japanese complexity in mind. They have to make a bit of a compromise: Most houses in Japan can barely fit two cars, ditto for apartment complexes. If you want to have a sports car, you better get one that the wife can also drive (given that the other parking spot is taken by a wagon, van, or kei car for the kids).
      • 5 Years Ago
      An autobox?!

      BURN IT WITH FIRE.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why put an automatic in a performance car, it just makes no sense. Automatics were made so people can lazily push themselves to work not to have fun. No one willing to fork over the extra for "STi" will even consider this, but then again thats what they said about the 2008 doughboy first run of this model.
      • 5 Years Ago
      BIGGEST FAIL IN THE WORLD
        • 5 Years Ago
        That is one ugly ass car!
      • 5 Years Ago
      The STI is a few hundred pounds lighter than the Evo. In Japan, at least, it's faster too. Actually, what other 300hp AWD car is as light as the STI? It's very light for what it is- remember, this isn't a crappy Haldex AWD system, and the beefy transmission itself is responsible for a lot of the heft you criticize. (Look at the weight difference between it and a WRX.)

      I don't understand the auto tranny either, but let's not go making up the other stuff.

      When I saw the headline, I was hoping the new STI would- finally- have direct injection. Too bad.
      • 5 Years Ago
      bleh when Subaru said they would make more cars with Autos about a month ago this was the last thing I had in mind.
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