The appeal of JDM exotica like this lies in the near fetishistic level of detail contained on its spec sheet. Japanese market Impreza STIs of this era had a nicer 2.0-litre boxer engine with a zingy twin-scroll turbo, rather than the more gruff 2.5 fitted to UK cars (and my Forester). Blueprinted and balanced like it is in the Type RA-R it has 320hp and will rev out to 8,000rpm, equal-length headers replacing the trademark Impreza throb with a much angrier sounding roar. That's just the start though. Over STI the Spec C package gets you hardcore chassis components and a host of detail upgrades. Type RA-R simply goes further, everything lighter and more exotic. And/or STI pink. I realise it's pretty tragic getting excited by colourful anti-roll bars. But I want some of those bits for my Forester.
I drove one once, albeit briefly. With bare bones soundproofing, quick-rack steering, stupidly short gearing and STI's angriest possible chassis settings, I recall it being a somewhat intense experience, this genuinely being as close to a tarmac-spec rally car as you could probably buy anywhere. On a motorway it'd be insufferable. On a B-road inspirational. That's always been the Impreza's true hunting ground of course, this just taking things to a slightly silly extreme.
But it's an Impreza with a roof vent and an engine bay full of roller bearing this and titanium that, every little piece carrying that little pink STI badge. Suckered. I want it.
Images courtesy of pistonheads.com