Subaru has given the biggest hint yet that it is developing a hot STI version of its BRZ sports car – and there's a roadster on the way too.
Talking to Auto Express at the launch of the new rear-wheel drive coupe, global marketing manager Atoshi Atake, said: "We have already had many requests from interested customers regarding a faster version. Let me say this - we will certainly satisfy our customers. We are already working on a faster version."
The new range-topping model is expected to take inspiration from the STI concept revealed at the 2011 Los Angeles Motor Show. Under the bonnet will be a more powerful version of the 197bhp 2.0-litre flat-four cylinder 'boxer' from the standard car.
It is likely to produce around 250bhp. "We can definitely develop the intake system," Atake said. "There is certainly room for improvement there." In addition, there is likely to be a freer-flowing exhaust and modifications to the engine's variable valve control system, along with an even higher rev limit of around 7,500rpm.
Subaru says that it will not turbocharge the engine as there is no space at the front of the engine bay for an intercooler. "Plus, we want to keep turbocharging separate. It is for models like the WRX STI," said Atake. "The same goes for four-wheel drive. We could not make the BRZ four-wheel drive even if we wanted to." He also said that supercharging had been dismissed because it would make the BRZ too heavy on fuel.
As well as more power, the BRZ STI is set to weigh even less than the 1,250kg standard car, thanks to racing bucket seats and potentially a carbonfibre roof and bonnet, which will further help to lower the car's centre of gravity. Other tweaks will include a dramatic bodykit, stiffened and lowered suspension, lighter but larger 18-inch alloy wheels and upgraded brakes.
When asked if it was possible to make a convertible version of the BRZ, Atake said: "Yes, that is certainly possible. We already have pillarless doors - you can imagine how removing the roof would make the car look."
Subaru and Toyota have a global sales target of 100,000 models per year for the BRZ, and its sister car, the GT 86. Both cars go on sale in the UK in June, but sales have already begun in Japan where Subaru has sold 3,551 models in the last two months - four times what it expected.