One Fast Sedan: Subaru’s Nürburgring Special

Even with a four-door penalty, this Subaru special recently lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife faster than the Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 SuperVeloce and the Nissan GT-R Nismo.

Impressive? That’s to say the least when Subaru announced that its super sedan ran the 12.8-mile road course in 6:57.5. If that time remains official, it makes the Subaru Impreza WRX STI Type RA NBR Special the fastest Japanese car to clock the Nordschleife. At this moment, there are only four cars faster than it: The Porsche 918 Spyder, the Radical SR8 and SR8 LM, and the Lamborghini Huracán Performante.

So, how did Subaru make that happen? Well, it took some work to the 2017 WRX STI by Prodrive, and first up was an engine change to a modified version of the 2.0-liter WRC-spec boxer four that boosts up to 25psi (1.7bar). That equals out to about 600hp to the WRC paddle-shift gearbox. For chassis stiffness and strengthening, Prodrive also welded a roll-cage into the unibody chassis.


The biggest change, even from the 2016 Isle of Man TT car, is the aero package which features a drag reduction system that’s activated by the driver via a steering wheel mounted controller. Taking that 650lbs of downforce and 600hp are a set of nine-inch-wide Dunlop slick tires.

Now that Subaru can nearly officially say they have the fastest four-door in the world, what features from the NBR Special (bar the slicks) would you like to see on the road car?

Justin Banner
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Photos: Subaru



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Mods are too many, makes this record useless really. You can apply same mods on a stripped out school bus, and complete it with hardcore slicks, and you will have impressive numbers

Chris Colouryum

You really couldn't. Getting sub 10 mins on Nurburgring is commendable but very achievable in a normal vehicle. Doing over an extra 3 minutes under that is a huge achievement. Obviously stripping a car and putting slicks on it will give it gains but I don't think you understand that only 4 cars have done the track faster, that's insane!


4? hahaha no.

pagani r ->faster
pagani revolucion ->faster
pagani huayra -> faster
pagani huayra bc -> faster

so just pagani has 4 cars faster than that, and these are factory production cars, we arent even talking about modded ones.

sorry but there are way more cars faster than that wrx, altrough that driver is quite good and pushes it really hard.

Christopher Richardson

No way Jose..... wikipedia states otherwise. There is only one Pagani faster in comparison to this Suby.


4 cars havent done the track faster, 4 drivers have.


It's a race car. Why compare it to road cars. Pointless marketing excercise but Subaru's current strategy is at least fitting to our time. Common man's attention span is that of a fish so of course a random lap without any context gives more thrills than following some sort of a series.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Yeah sure, comparing the lap time of a heavily modified car to stock supercars. Such a great idea.

If only their road cars are anywhere near this good...


Well done Prodrive ;)


One where the head gaskets don't crack. XD


Here we go...


I'm certain there have been more than 4 cars to lap faster. Porsche 962 did it in 6:11.xx and that was in the eighties.
Ring times and asterisks are going to get confusing when Subaru gets involved as they have a tendency to hire Prodrive to campaign an "RA" special to create their own record. Don't get me wrong, I love Subaru & make my living working with them.


Racecar against road cars: It's like start on 9-hp cart in race against disabled wheelchair users.
Yes, this car still have 4 door...


In addition, I do believe stuff like this is good for brand but only if the technology trickles down to the enthusiast consumer. Subaru has had marked lack of motorsport influence in the brand over the last 9 years. They really have been different since quitting WRC, more boring albeit more profitable selling lifestyle activity soft roaders to young professionals, DINKS and retired college professors that enjoy gardening.


Would be nice. Although I think it's more of a marketing stunt. Cause really, we know a full weld in roll cage isn't going to trickle down to road cars lol.


You're missing my point.
Racing STILL often improves the "breed".

No one wants a cage to trickle down. How about a sequential gearbox? Water cooled brakes?
Strain gauge built into the head gasket to avoid blown head gaskets? Active aero?
I could go on but my point is Subaru likes to stage publicity stunts that are very effective/efficient from a branding standpoint yet lack improved substance...i.e. very little consumer benefit.
I really like Subarus but this needs to be pointed out.


This only qualifies as a true four door if it can really fit four adults comfortably.


*Subaru hires Prodrive*
"Hey, bolt in 3 more seats would you?"


It's a little bit of a con that this isn't the road car setting the lap but hey, the road cars (WRX STI TYPE RA of which 500 are being made) are made to celebrate this car's achievements rather than perform for themselves. Sounds silly but it's similar to the "Monte Carlo" skoda's isn't it.


It will never happen, but make this car into a road going version. Obviously there would be many challenges to this and some minor tweaks to really make it happen but many other manufacturers have cars of a similar ilk. Subaru needs to up its game as there would totally be a market for this car. It might be slightly watered down but hell, I would sell my soul for a road going version of this car to accompany my blob eye Spec C in the shed.


This whole thing is a PR gig for subaru, they are releasing a Type-RA for 2019 models go check it out its pretty slick.


A 2.0 liter Japanese monster smashes the ring, people complain. A Chinese car with technological achievements out of our comprehension smashes the ring, people complain. A Civic smashes the ring, people complain. A Dodge viper smashes the ring and people still complain.
Ican't understand it. We like cars right?


It's about context.

They're not complaining about how fast the car is, they're complaining about comparing a heavily modified race car to bone stock street cars that meet federal safety standards and can be driven on public roads legally. Big difference.



Yeh so what? Bone stock street cars suck, not many are even under 10 mins. This car was purposely built to whoop ass on the toughest courses in the world, it holds the record for ANY car on the Isle of Man and now is the fasest sedan on the ring, theres exactly zero other cars on the planet that can say that, quite impressive to me.



Your question was why are people complaining and I gave you the answer. NO ONE is complaining about the technological achievement of the Subaru or the team behind it. Their complaining that a HIGHLY MODIFIED, PURPOSE BUILT RACE CAR is being compared to registerable, bone stock, street cars.

There's no simpler way to say it. If you still don't get it... God help you.


Typical! These domestic cry babies hate when IMPORT 4 bangers smoke the competition. That's right!


Do you get paid to post mentally handicapped material?

My comment is not comparing this Subaru to domestic cars, it's comparing this Subaru to bone stock street cars, American, Japanese, European or otherwise.


Put lights and plates on it, boom... street car.


..... Um no. There's a bit more to it than just adding lights and plates genius LOL.
Airbags, full interior, ABS, stability control, crash testing just to name a few. That wasn't even a good try, you get a cookie though.

And I don't eat Cheerios.


Ah, ive never built a street car i didnt know about all those extras, sorry about that.


Jeeze who shit in your cheerios today?


I don't eat Cheerios.


Interesting. Compared to running a WRC type car doing things like this is inexpensive PR. A long time Subaru stalwart myself I'm lost to the world of Subaru after about 2005 and own five Subarus (2 x 80s Brats, 2 x gen 1 series 1 Legacy and a 2002 WRX special ed thing with all leather interior). The early cars with less of the frivolous electronics are my thing (though a BRZ is a good base). Everything else is to complex for my liking to work on. I've thought about a Levorg to replace my old '89 wagon but the new things only come in auto. The dealer where I test drove one could not understand why anyone would want a six speed over the auto "but the eyesight would not work with a manual" and comments from friends about coming out of the dark ages and leaving the manual behind. In the second hand market around here a manual Legacy holds much more value than an auto, thus showing some desirability and If I could find a used white 6spd Legacy GT STI wagon I'd be onto it. So Mr Subaru how about, as a marketing exercise, having a 6spd Levorg option?


Great Comment Sir!

I have an 2000 GF RX (non turbo, wrx looking Impreza Wagon) and I cant stand what Subaru is doing nowadays. We dont even have 2.0 GT-S here.... only 1.6 . And our distro can't uderstand that we WANT 2.0...

as a European- I'm very surprised how "current" subarus can be so popular in US... Here these are still brand for Petrolheads
(but I have to mention about growing number of "old grandpas in outbacks diesel" as a opposite for "true" Subarists with pig at the mirror)


Fairly low budget, one-time expenditure (not a race series), destroys supercar records, looks like the sexier version of the road car. The return on investment for marketing exposure is amazing. Good job Subaru...


I'd like to see what suspension setup this thing is running.






ive got a picture on my phone somewhere... hold on


While impressive, this is very much a track only car... What I think we'd like to know is what a road-going version (as close to this) can lap the Nur at?

A recent Nur example I liked a lot more, one you can actually currently buy, is the Camaro ZL1 1LE. It lapped the Nur in 7:16:04. With a stick shift damn-it! Truly inspiring.

This is the type of achievements I like to see.


At what RPM does it make 600 hp? Flywheel or WHP? What is the redline? What is the fuel spec? What turbo? What was done to the block? What intake? What pistons? CR? Fuel system? Intercooler, etc? Exhaust system details? What dry sump system? What tires? What suspension mods? Who makes the gearbox? What diffs and f/r torque management? Traction control? ECU? How much does it weigh? Wing width and chord? Downforce balance? Brakes? Technical details to go with the great photos would make this article better than everyone else's.


Take any DTM with "4 doors" and it'll lap faster than the Subie. So what's the point?


I think it would be close but not faster. DTM cars weren't built to do this, they run on neatly prepped circuits whereas this car was built specifically for rough tarmac use. This car holds the record for Isle of man AND now one of the fastest at the ring, theres no other car on the planet that has done that.


Nordschleife always seemed to be a proving ground for road legal sportscars, but it'd be pretty interesting to see what can be achieved with proper Time Attack spec cars used at Tsukuba Superlap or WTAC. It seems to be an underrated idea for me.


Honestly, those cars wouldnt work well on a track like this. They're too low, too wide, and the aero will slow them down. Look at the tracks they race on, they're smooth as glass. The ring would quite literally break them to pieces.


Oh boy! A whole lotta squawking people complaining this thing is too modified to count... sheesh! So go and compare this lap time with that of the VLN race cars. Those cars are race prepped, slick shod, lightened, etc, etc, etc. This time is actually faster! The 2016 Mercedes AMG GT3 put in a time of 8,15.515. Yes, I'm aware that the VLN's use the longer track usually, approximately 2 and a bit miles longer.
You guys can squawk all you want, but this is a serious car and it has laid down a VERY serious lap time.
Credit where credit is due, these guys have done a fantastic job with this car! Well done Prodrive and Subaru!


Gobstopper 2 is faster at goodwood.

Still, a tough choice, cos i love a factory built car.

MPistol HVBullets

... all I want is a high performance Legacy wagon in America!..... and I don't feel we are ANY closer to that goal - LOL


I am a Subaru Ambassador, and for a good reason. The highly turbocharged lightweight, low CG boxer engine, coupled with a very sophisticated AWD system, are proving to be the best design for a sedan. Ride along with a box stock STI on the Iske of Man on YouTube, for instance. 165 MPH with the governor unhooked. You can put gobs of engine in various RED and lesser AWD setups, but Subie has been tweaking this excellent design since 1972. And it carries four growups!


Oops---RWD, not RED! It won't let me edit.