Yes, the rumours were true. Subaru has given its WRX STI more power, although the turbocharged 2,5-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine’s peak output has increased only a little.

The boxer engine’s maximum power now stands at 231 kW, matching that of the WRX STI Type RA special edition revealed in 2017 (while the SA-spec model still makes 221 kW, the US version moved up to 227 kW in January 2017).

The handful of extra horses have been freed up thanks to the adoption of a new air intake as well as a high-flow performance exhaust. The Japanese automaker says a retuned “ECU and stronger pistons” also contribute to the increased engine performance.

The six-speed manual transmission, meanwhile, features a revised third gear ratio, which the brand says “helps contribute to faster acceleration”. As before, the WRX STI benefits from the brand’s trademark symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, along with an active torque vectoring system.

In the United States, Subaru will offer 250 examples of the new limited edition WRX STI Series.Gray, which is finished in “Cool Gray Khaki” paint and runs on black 19-inch alloys. This special model furthermore gains sport-tuned suspension featuring Bilstein dampers for the inverted-strut front suspension and double wishbone rear suspension. Inside, you’ll find Recaro seats with eight-way power adjustment on the driver’s side.

In addition, the US arm of the Japanese automaker will offer 750 units of the WRX Premium Series.Gray, available exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox. While not gaining any extra power, this model features the same exterior paint as its sibling above, plus black 18-inch alloys, Recaro seats, Jurid front brake pads and a moonroof delete. It also gains LED steering responsive headlamps, LED foglamps and keyless access.

We’ve asked Subaru Southern Africa whether the slightly more powerful WRX STI is destined for local shores, and will update this story once we hear back…