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Sweet Dream: Subaru WRX STi 23B

By Motor Staff, 23 Oct 2015 Features

Sweet Dream: Subaru WRX STi 23B

New STI? Nah. Subaru, it’s time you built an Impreza more like this

Subaru deserve credit for creating its WRX STI NR4 road-racer, but we're still not quite satisfied.

Call us greedy, but we're keen to see a recreation of arguably the greatest Subaru of all, the limited-edition 22B.

Made in 1998 to celebrate Subaru’s 40th anniversary and recent trio of WRC manufacturer titles (1995-’97), while also tipping its hat to the end of Group A homologation, it was the closest thing to a road-going rally car.

We’ve exhumed the legend, designated as the 23B (its moniker being a nod to its new capacity engine) to illustrate how we’d envisage the current STi would play out as a limited-run special. But rather than build it as an interpretation of WRC competition, we simply went for the ultimate in a road-performance STi.

It wouldn’t be too hard for Subaru to raid the parts bin, commission a small run of parts used in its endurance and Super GT series racecar, and bolt together 1000 AMG-eaters, with a big handful of 100 units (rather than the original five 22Bs) destined for Oz and New Zealand – where many of Subaru’s original loyalists reside.

Unfortunately, the lack of a suitable donor two-door bodyshell may be the nail in its hypothetical coffin, but it’s still one bloody sweet dream.

Engine: Uses a closed-deck US-spec EJ25 to retain the essence of the 22B’s torque-rich and quick spool engine, but uses a 75mm 2.0-litre crank from the Jap-only WRX STi to effectively de-stroke the engine to 2.3 litres and give it excellent rev-capabilities. Good for 9000rpm.

Twin-scroll, ceramic turbine, IHI turbo would be low-mounted, near the radiator, like in the third-gen Legacy and current Forester, for less lag and better throttle response. High-boost tune yields 270kW/500Nm.

Brakes: Accompanying vents on the front bar would feed air to the car’s huge front six-pot Brembo one-piece calipers, and two-piece rotors, as used on the recent 2013 WRX STI Type RA. 

Suspension: Like the original 1998 car, the 23B would use special Bilstein suspension, like DFV (dual-flow) coilovers matched with iconic STi pink springs. Wheels are from BBS finished in traditional gold. Of course.

Body: Uses the carbon-roof tech learnt from the R205 special-edition WRX STI, to lower the centre of gravity and overall weight, and 2007 Spec C’s roof scoop when the car’s doing track time without A/C.

While the carbon side-skirts are bespoke, the front lip and winglets would be borrowed from the current endurance race car, and the dry-carbon rear wing from the recent super-special 2013 WRX STi Type RA.