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2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition Long-Term Update 6

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/19/2015 Nate Martinez, Motor Trend Staff

"Wow. What happened to your wheels? I liked the gold better," one colleague commented as we stepped away from the MT garage. I chuckled for moment. "They're rally, man. Come on!" I replied.

2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition Long-Term Update 6

Yeah, yeah, I thought. Gold BBS wheels teamed with World Rally Blue Pearl (or WR Rally Blue Mica) is the one iconic color scheme that delineates the most athletic of Pleiades-badged rides. STI's rally-winning machines the world over have sported the combination. It looks ah-may-zeeng, I know. People stare at it. Subie-philes adore it. It's practically sacred. Indeed, it's the one gleaming trait that distinguishes the Launch Edition. Don't fret, all you aficionados of golden feet and blue skin: I love it, too.

Research

But I also love experimenting. I'm one to explore my options. I (tastefully) modify our test vehicles as an owner would (see: 2013 Mazda CX-5, 2014 Subaru Forester and this STI's previous update ). When the option to try Pirelli's new P Zero All Season Plus ($191 each) came about, I found it the perfect opportunity to sample another imitable Subaru color combination: white on blue. It was a pairing that had remained in my head since I first saw it worn by the WRX STI Spec C Type RA-R. Please, scroll away from the Google search window; I'll just tell you about it. (Feel free to check my facts later.)

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image The RA-R, or, Record Attempt-Radical, was a special 300-unit run, JDM-only edition built in 2006 by STI. Nearly every performance part in STI's catalog was thrown into its tasty batter. It had a 316-horsepower (320 ps) EJ20 heart, modified suspension galore, stouter engine cooling systems, recalibrated electronics, the biggest brakes of any JDM-spec production vehicle at the time (six-piston monoblock Brembos), available Recaro buckets, the sparsest of interiors (a WRC-esque roof vent served as its air-con), and, yes, brilliant white 18-by-8.5-inch alloys (made by Enkei). Bridgestone developed a model-specific RE070 compound just for it. It was the "ultimate road-going GDB."

So I mimicked it.

Since acquiring RA-R wheels wasn't a real option (believe me, I tried), I pulled the trigger on the similarly styled and oh-so-rally OZ Racing shoes you see affixed to our dearest #Suparu. Our good partner, Tire Rack, made it happen. In addition to being pale in complexion -- and extremely difficult to keep clean -- my particular set of 18-by-8.5-inch Alleggerita HLT with 55mm offset (same specs as OEM) is absurdly lightweight and looks awesome, just like the RA-R's Enkeis. Each $435 cast aluminum wheel weighs 17.5 pounds. That's a loss of 4.6 pounds per corner (net loss of 18.4 pounds) compared to the Launch Edition's forged BBS rollers. Tire Rack wrapped them in a stock-sized 245/40R-18 rubber.

The Italian footwear has proven exceptional in grip and feel. The front end is quicker to turn in. The flat-bottom helm communicates clearer feedback. Footing is unfazed in downpours. There's no upswing in cabin noise. My indicated average fuel economy readings have even slightly grown. In short, I am duly impressed.

Many, like my colleague, might not agree with this rchauff. That's great, really. Causing a stir of opinion goes hand in hand with the wannabe-rally-racer look. I am of the conviction that for the STI Launch Edition, the attention-grabbing, WRC-educed white-on-blue uniform makes absolute sense. So too will my next modifications. Stay tuned.

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image More on our 2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition:

2015-Subaru-WRX-STI-Launch-Edition-promo1© Provided by MotorTrend 2015-Subaru-WRX-STI-Launch-Edition-promo1
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