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The Subaru WRX and the Subaru WRX STI have finally been launched in their home market of Japan, months after both have already gone on sale in the rest of the world (including Malaysia).

The Japanese-market version of the WRX, called the Subaru WRX S4 (bearing no similarity to another 300-ish horsepower all-wheel drive sedan), looks practically identical to the one sold elsewhere save for the spiffy new 18-inch wheels nicked from the Levorg estate and some LED light strips in the front bumper.

The interior is also pretty much identical, with a flat-bottomed steering wheel, red stitching, carbon fibre and metallic trim pieces as well as a multi-function display complete with a boost gauge.

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Where the S4 sets itself apart is under the bonnet – the 2.0 litre FA20 direct injection turbo (DIT) flat-four has been uprated to push out 300 PS (32 PS more than in other markets) at 5,600 rpm and 400 Nm (a 50Nm increase) from 2,000 to 4,800 rpm. Mated solely to a Sport Lineartronic CVT and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with Active Torque Vectoring, it does 13.2 km per litre on the Japanese JC08 cycle.

Another differentiating feature is the availability of the latest version of the EyeSight camera-based driver assistance system that provides features such as Active Lane Keep steering assistance system, Pre-Collision Reverse Throttle Management and Brake Light Recognition, Pre-Collision Braking Control and Adaptive Cruise Control.

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Appearing alongside the S4, the JDM Subaru WRX STI is also almost indistinguishable to its overseas brethren everywhere except under the bonnet. Instead of the EJ25 2.5 litre multi-point injection turbo flat four that we get, the Japanese soldier on with the same 2.0 litre version as before, producing 308 PS (8 PS more than elsewhere) at 6,400 rpm and 422 Nm (15 Nm more) at 4,400 rpm.

As with other markets, the STI comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission in Japan. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with Active Torque Vectoring features here too, but the STI also gets a multi-mode Driver’s Control Centre Differential (DCCD) system that that allows the driver to adjust the torque distribution between the front and rear wheels.

Subaru WRX S4

Subaru WRX STI