Subaru's new Impreza WRX STI Carbon caters to driving enthusiasts -- so long as they also demand an automatic transmission in their hot hatch.
As the suffix suggests, Subaru's injected a considerable amount of carbon fiber into its STI hot-hatch. Most (if not all) of the composite material appears in the car's roof, as a carbon-fiber panel replaces the stock steel stamping. Subaru claims the use of carbon fiber in the roof not only reduces weight, but also lowers the car's center of gravity.
Oddly enough, Subaru also equipped the STI Carbon with a five-speed automatic transmission. Although we've seen quick-shifting dual-clutch transmissions in other rally weapons (we're looking at you, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR), we've not seen a conventional automatic offered bolted in one for quite some time. In the U.S., the WRX STI comes only with a six-speed manual, and the only "performance-tuned" Impreza available with an automatic is the 2.5 GT.
Subaru claims adding the automatic to the Carbon allows the company to "offer distinctive driving performance to a wider range of customers." Besides, it's not as if die-hard rally-freaks in Japan are without a hardcore Impreza of their own. If they act fast, there's a chance they can score one of 900 STI Spec-C cars, which are lighter, stiffer, and more powerful than their stock siblings.