The Subaru WRX STI has passed the 10,000-unit sales milestone in Australia, the brand's local arm has today announced.
The 10,000th example was purchased by Bradley McManus of Clandulla, NSW, who took delivery of his bewinged, rally-inspired all-wheel-drive hero from Trivett Subaru in Parramatta, NSW.
Commemorating his historic purchase was a "surprise package" awarded to Mr McManus, consisting of $5000 worth of 'parts and accessories', a five-year scheduled servicing plan and a passenger ride around a rally stage near Canberra with brand ambassador and former Australian Rally Champion, Molly Taylor.
The WRX STI's presence in Australia dates back to 1998, with the launch of the first-generation model in local showrooms.
Introduced following the success of the 'standard' Impreza WRX launched locally in February 1994, the STI arrived first in iconic two-door 22B guise (above), with just five of the 425 global production run reaching our shores.
Interest in the 22B led to a 400-unit production run of the 'regular' STI – standing for Subaru Tecnica International – in January 1999.
Arriving in two-door form only, all examples were finished in either white or the WRX's iconic World Rally Blue exterior hue, with 16-inch gold alloy wheels filling the arches and a STI-enhanced, 206kW 2.2-litre turbocharged 'boxer' four-cylinder engine under the bonnet.
A further 400 Impreza WRX STI sedans touched down in October 1999, available in blue steel mica or white exterior paint colours, gold 16-inch six-spoke alloy wheels, suede-accented sport seats, and the carry-over 206kW, all-wheel-drive, turbocharged powertrain.
Above: second-generation Subaru WRX STI, in 2006-07 'Hawkeye' guise.
The second-generation WRX STI arrived in Australia in December 2001, this time as a permanent mainstay of the local Impreza range.
On sale for seven years, the second-generation car received two facelifts across its lifecycle, uprating the outputs from its 2.0-litre 'EJ20' turbo-four (later upgraded to the 2.5-litre EJ25) and tweaking its styling, with its three different front fascia designs earning the nicknames 'bugeye', 'blobeye' and 'hawkeye'.
The third-generation Impreza WRX STI (below) launched Down Under in February 2008, available in a choice of entry-level and flagship 'Spec.R' variants, the latter available as a hatchback for the first time.
Above: third-generation Subaru WRX STI sedan.
Introduced in April 2014, the current, fourth-generation car dropped the 'Impreza' from its name, morphing into a standalone model alongside its 'standard' twin, merely dubbed 'WRX STI' and 'WRX' respectively.
A revised 2.5-litre turbocharged 'EJ25' four-cylinder sits under the bonnet, sending 221kW of power and 407Nm of torque to the tarmac via Subaru's permanent symmetrical all-wheel-drive system and a six-speed manual transmission.
The fourth-generation STI also offered buyers the choice of deleting the iconic rear spoiler for the first time.
Above: fourth-get Subaru WRX STI, in pre-2018, pre-facelift guise.
Fifth-generation versions of the WRX (render pictured below) and WRX STI are confirmed to be in the works, with spy shots and renderings pointing to an evolutionary design heavily influenced by the Viziv Performance STI Concept of 2018 and the new-generation Levorg wagon.
A retuned version of the new-generation Liberty sedan and Outback wagon's 2.4-litre 'FA24' turbocharged, horizontally-opposed 'boxer' four-cylinder is expected to sit under the bonnet, with some rumours pointing to outputs as high as 298kW and 489Nm in STI guise.
“WRX STI really is the essence of Subaru performance and arguably the ultimate expression of race on Sunday, sell on Monday," said Subaru Australia General Manager, Blair Read.
"Those iconic blue and gold colours along with champion names Possum Bourne and Colin McRae, win performance car lovers hearts to this day.
“STI’s eternal appeal is demonstrated by the record-breaking sales success of the current generation, which at over 5,000 and counting makes it the best-selling yet," he added.