Over the years, we’ve seen several special editions paying tribute to arguably one of the world’s greatest racetracks — the Nürburgring. And to be honest, some of these have been really rather special. The Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition comes to mind.
But none are as special as the car you see here. And for all the wrong reasons. This commemorative performance package that Subaru is offering its customers in Japan has a dirty secret — it’s a CVT. As a power delivery tool that could well be the antithesis of performance driving, but that’s what Subaru has chosen.
Called — deep breath — the WRX S4 tS NBR Challenge Package, the Subaru offers noticeable cosmetic alterations along with some reasonable dynamic tweaks. The large fixed carbon fibre rear spoiler is obviously new and brings with it an immense amount of performance cred (probably), while the suspension gets a more pointy tuning for track-biased driving. Finally, the gorgeous BBS 19in black alloy wheels and a special badge proclaiming the car’s Nürburgringy intentions round up the exterior changes.
Inside, you get a micro-suede covered steering wheel, and the STI’s (the proper one with a manual gearbox) Recaro sports seats and a tS exclusive speedo.
On the power front, the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine remains unaltered delivering 296bhp at full chat, oh, and if it’s any consolation, the CVT does come with paddle shifters. However, the addition of an oil cooler to the S4’s CVT, along with changes to intake and exhaust, have apparently yielded better acceleration. Subaru claims it’s up to 10 per cent quicker to the benchmark 0-100kph sprint.
Additionally, it also gets a strut-tower brace, Brembo front anchors and a torque-vectoring to further enhance the all-wheel drive grip.
The special package is a nod to the company’s class wins at the 2015 and 2016 Nürburgring 24-hour endurance races. And it has a CVT!