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  • Writer's pictureIan McLaren

Subaru ties its famous STI badge into an EV future

While the Solterra STI makes do with cosmetic updates, Subaru’s new GT concept is hunting lap records.

No sooner has Subaru confirmed its first EV model, dubbed Solterra, the brand used the occasion of the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon to confirm its famous, performance focused STI badge will soon be migrating to this all-electric space.

Short for Subaru Tecnica International, the STI badge has become synonymous with fast Subaru models, notably at the hands of drivers like the late Colin McRae during the peak of this brand’s WRC successes.

With this in mind, it’s somewhat disappointing to learn that the new Solterra STI will likely only gain cosmetic enhancements compared with the car on which it’s based. Granted Subaru’s first EV exists in the form of an SUV, hopefully there’s still a performance upgrade in the pipeline. As it stands, the STI version gains a suitably sporty front splitter, side sills and a roof-mounted wing compared with the standard car. While these additions were finished in cherry red on the brand’s show car, a set of black 20-inch alloy wheels provided a moody contrast.

The STI E-RA, on the other hand, served as Subaru’s somewhat surprising announcement to the world that the brand now has Nürburgring lap records firmly in its sights. With “E-RA” standing for “Electric Record Attempt”, this low-slung GT concept features an electric motor on each wheel and incorporates electric torque vectoring. Developing 800 kW from its Yamaha-developed 60 kWh battery, the E-RA is designed with maximum downforce and efficiency of movement in mind. Subaru is planning a Nordschleife lap time of just 400-seconds, or 6 minutes and 40 seconds, in plain language.

Says the brand, it built the STI E-RA concept to gain “experience and training of new technologies in the world of motorsports in this carbon-neutral era.”

Interestingly, should the final product eventually comply with the FIA’s new E-GT category rules, it’ll need to be “detuned” to 430 kW.


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