A spokesman from Subaru’s Japanese parent company says in-house tuner STI may evolve into a performance sub-division in the future to rival Nissan’s Nismo sports arm.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the Geneva motor show, Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) corporate communications spokesman Masato Saito said creating a family of high-performance STI variants positioned at the top of a number of model lines was “a good idea”.
“In the future, [there is] some possibility,” Saito revealed.
He said Subaru had no concrete plans to launch an STI sub-division at this stage, however, suggesting it would continue to focus on the WRX STI and some limited edition ‘tuned by STI’ variants of other models.
In February 2013, Japanese rival Nissan announced the transformation of its motorsports and tuning partner Nismo into a performance sub-division that would offer high-performance halo variants of a number of models in its range, similar to the Mercedes-Benz AMG division and BMW’s M.
The Nismo portfolio currently includes sports-tuned versions of the Juke, 370Z and GT-R, while Nissan has also unveiled the Sentra (Pulsar sedan) Nismo and IDx Nismo concepts. A Qashqai Nismo is also reportedly in the works.
Subaru has previously offered STI versions of the Liberty (Legacy in overseas markets), Forester and Exiga, though always in limited production runs of between 200 and 800 vehicles and never as readily available halo variants at the top of the regular production model lines.
The Subaru BRZ would be an obvious model to join the WRX in an expanded STI family (see the top image of the BRZ STI concept), while the Forester and Liberty also show potential.
Subaru Australia previously showed a BRZ with an STI Sports Kit for buyers of the sports coupe, and now offers STI styling and performance accessories for that car.