A Car Nerd's Guide To JapanAn insider look at car culture in Japan.  

It’s that time of the year. A fortnight hasn’t even passed to give us time to recover from the New Year meets, we now have the grand circus that is the Tokyo Auto Salon weekend and the craziness surrounding it. While North America prepares for the first big “proper” motor show in Detroit, Japan continues the wild events with the mother of all tuning shows. First up: Subaru.

While it is primarily an aftermarket show, we still got to see several surprising new concepts and debuts like this, the new Subaru Viziv Performance STI Concept. The name is quite the mouthful but it looks appropriately mouth watering. Sharp clean lines, muscular squared off fenders, short overhangs, and a massive wing on the trunk lid all scream “STI.” It’s got so sharp aero it makes a Honda Civic Type R look like... well, a regular Honda Civic.

That’s basically what this is; a sneak preview of the next-generation WRX STI. It’s precisely why it looks like the Viziv Performance Concept we saw at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, only with a slightly different bumper and a rear wing.

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Subaru was very tight lipped about the specs on the car. Basically, there are no specs. At least none they were willing to share with us at this point in time.

The very friendly but secretive people at the Subaru stand did say that it would be powered by a “turbocharged petrol boxer engine” and a “symmetrical all-wheel drive system”, so that basic recipe is still there, thankfully.

There have been quite a few rumors going around about the next-gen WRX STI forgoing its boxer engine setup for something more conventional, which would be a shame. Then there are the rumors of the WRX STI going hybrid, but nothing from this concept can indicate that much.

At the very least the production version of a next-generation WRX STI is still some time away. I’m glad they’re still going at it even though they probably don’t need to. I mean, it does seem like in a time where sedans and “fun cars” are becoming harder for manufacturers to justify, the WRX STI is almost in a world of its own. It needs to exist.

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Now let’s just hope the production car will actually resemble this stunning concept. If it’ll have half the presence this thing had, it’ll be a winner. Given Subaru’s history of transitions from concept car to production car, half might be expecting too much.

Apart from Subaru, there was also another new car release in the shape of the Toyota Gazoo Super Sport Concept, but that wasn’t even the biggest surprise of the show. Stay tuned for more.

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