Never having been an enormous fan of Subaru cars, I must admit they seem to have hit a home run with the new WRX STi from Cosworth. With a 0-62 mph time of 3.7 seconds, this beast can actually take on the Lambos and up-powered Porsches—or at least play in the same ballpark.
Cosworth, one of the world’s great tuners and engine-tweakers, managed to get 395 hp from Subaru’s 2.5-liter boxer four. Some of the details are here. With chassis and suspension redos, the car promises to go very fast—and not just in a straight line.
There will be only 75 copies built, each costing $72,000, and they’re only available in the U.K.
So why should we in the U.S. care? It’s just another high-priced hotrod that we can’t buy, right?
First, it is a high-priced hotrod—about twice the price of a standard WRX STi. But what you get for all that bread is some of the world’s best automotive engineering. Cosworth has been around since the 1950s, supplying engines and components to a series of Formula 1 cars and manufacturers, among them Lotus and Ford.
The Ford relationship began with the modified Cortina engine and has continued even with current F-1 and Indy cars. Cosworth engines ran at Indy this year, and the company has a long history of involvement with road cars.
What’s the difference if we can’t get it? We will get it—eventually—and if not in its present form, you can be sure there will be a trickle-down. Ford’s Escort RS Cosworth is an example. The point is that while we have always had limited-production sports cars using race-bred technology, it has also filtered down to mass-produced cars—cars like the WRX, in fact.
The 2010 WRX was reviewed as having as good performance as the “upscale WRX STI of last season” and for “almost $10,000 less.” To my taste, the WRX has too many bulges, scoops and vents, but for great hatchback performance at a price, nothing can touch it.
Their cars have kept improving because Subaru listens and learns from its engineering teams, from racing its cars, and now from being smart enough to engage Cosworth.
As they used to say, “racing improves the breed.” Besides Cosworth, do you know of other firms who have contributed to better-performing mass-produced cars?