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Subaru WRX STI Carbon: The performance variant that wasn't

Subaru is creating a variant of its Impreza STI called the WRX STI Carbon for the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.

Subaru's STI Carbon variant
Contrary to popular belief, carbon fiber is not a magic 'go-faster' material. Subaru

Subaru is creating a variant of its Impreza STI, called the WRX STI Carbon. With a name like Carbon, you just know that this is going to be a hardcore, lightweight, performance variant that will slap that smarmy grin off of the Mitsubishi Evo's face, right? Wrong. Because it seems that Subaru's forgotten to add the performance.

Subaru WRX STI Carbon's suede Recaro seats
I don't know how exciting suede seats are, but they'll keep your backside in place in the corners. Subaru

The STI Carbon starts out well enough. It replaces the roof panel with light-and-strong carbon fiber to lower the center of gravity. Then, the Recaro seats are wrapped in grippy suede to hold your butt in place while you whip through corners. This is sounding good!

Next, Subaru yanks out the STI's six-speed manual transmission and replaces it with an only-option five-speed automatic slushbox. Then, Subaru's engineers (marketing department, or whomever put this package together) called it a day and went out to have a few beers. Wait, what?

I know the 305-horsepower, all-wheel drive STI is pretty bad-ass in stock trim, but to tease us with carbon fiber and suede and then cripple the performance with a crappy automatic is almost a slap in the face.

The Subaru WRX STI Carbon will be on display at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 2009.