There was nothing worth reading on the odometer. The cabin was still redolent with that "new car" smell. It was a pristine '08 Subaru WRX STI, fresh off the production line, Japanese-spec, with the 2.0-liter EJ20 turbocharged flat four-already a pretty serious machine and much lusted after. But it was about to be Blitzed.
Blitz isn't so much a Japanese tuning house as a parallel universe where wild and crazy things happen, all apparently fueled by vast quantities of caffeine-rich energy drinks. That would be the most feasible explanation as to how a car that was released in Japan last December could have received such a comprehensive makeover in time for the 2008 Tokyo Auto Salon-the aftermarket event in the Land of the Rising Sun-that took place in early January.
Just one look at the impeccable paint job over the subtly flared wheel arches (looks like white really is going to be the new black) bears testament to the amount of hours spent in the shop instead of indulging in the sleep patterns of most normal human beings. The understated black and silver graphics are cool, too. Note also the cooling ducts for the brakes in the front fenders. Yep, this project was made for a show, but it's no show queen. The hardware is hardcore, made for performance in this universe.
From the factory, the 1994cc engine has variable valve timing on both its intake and exhaust sides, its drive-by-wire throttle has a sport setting for sharper responses, and it makes 308hp and 311lb-ft of torque. Blitz put in its K3-450R turbocharger, a snail based on a German KKK unit-the brand commonly found in Porsche 911 Turbos. A proprietary LM (standing for 'last modified') Type-R front-mount intercooler accompanies it. Now Blitz claims 401 wheel-hp and 389lb-ft, as tested on a Bosch dyno.
Even with this extra power, the rest of the drivetrain (short-throw six-speed manual shift, helical limited-slip diff up front, an electronic center diff and a Torsen rear LSD) remains stock, which gives a pretty good indication of how well engineered the factory items are. Neither did Blitz feel the need to swap out the standard-fit Brembo brakes (four-piston calipers chewing 13-inch ventilated rotors up front, two-pistons items doing something similar to 12.6-inch ventilated rotors out back)-not during this time frame, at least. The decision to leave the interior virtually untouched was no doubt influenced by chronological constraints as well.
Improved breathing comes about with Blitz's Carbon Suction cold-air intake kit; spent gases depart via the company's own Nr-Spec DT cat-back muffler and through twin dual stainless steel pipes with four-inch tips. Boost is regulated by an SBC-iColor Spec-R controller, while a Super Sound DD blow-off valve, Cooling Performer radiator hoses and an oil cooler join a Racing Radiator LM Type-R in the engine bay-all pieces made by Blitz, including the radiator and oil filler caps.
There is an interesting piece of Blitz to note: the R-VIT DS meter. This impressive gadget links up to the ECU via the CAN-bus and can display up to six functions simultaneously, such as oil pressure, oil temperature, fuel injector pressure, average and immediate fuel consumption; it can even function as a data logger.
And so, as the receptacle marked 'Recycle' overflows with empty Red Bull cans, attention turns to the suspension. We know that, for this new generation, Subaru has incorporated a double wishbone setup at the rear. We also know that it comes from the factory with a softness that was not present in earlier incarnations. Blitz Damper ZR coilovers (with damping and ride height adjustability) put a stop to all that with spring rates of 10kg at the front and 9kg at the rear-just skipping on that fine line between street-friendly and track-ready.
Bouncing at the business end of those coilovers are one-piece, 18x9 Blitz BRW Profile 08 lightweight wheels, adjusted to a plus-47mm offset, finished in a Black Matte Blue look and wearing 245/40-18 Dunlop Direzza tires.
Having been in the tuning game for over 20 years, Blitz has gained a name for high quality. With this project, the company should also consolidate its reputation for high speed-in more ways than one. And there's one other aspect to consider: the looks.
Let's be honest, Imprezas have never been handsome. Each new look sends people raising their brows and scratching their heads, wondering what the heck to make of it. The new model met with the same consternation. But even with subjective taste being what it is, maybe Subaru's designers were right all along. Perhaps they knew that tuners like Blitz would take the car and run with it, make it look tough, give it more presence. They just had to provide the right piece of marble to be sculpted. Hey, it's just a theory.
Behind The Build
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Sleep Deprivation, Warping Time
Not Long, In Human Terms
"To build the almighty, well-built car."
'08 Subaru WRX STI
Blitz K3-450R turbocharger, LM Type-R intercooler, Carbon Suction kit air intake, Super Sound DD blow-off valve, Nr-Spec DT muffler w/four-inch tips, SBC-iColor Spec-R boost contoller, LM Type-R Racing Radiator, E/G oil cooler, Cooling Performer radiator hoses, R-VIT DS meter
Blitz Damper ZR coilovers (10kg front, 9kg rear)
Blitz BRW Profile 08 Black Matte Blue rims, Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 245/40/18 tires
Stock Brembo system: 13-inch ventilated rotors w/four-piston calipers (front), 12.6-inch ventilated rotors w/two-piston calipers (rear)
Blitz flared fenders and graphics
Blitz R-VIT DS meter
Subaru Motors Japan, caffeine