What Version or 'Generation' of WRX / STI do you have?
To make sure you buy the right parts for your car, we've developed a guide to help you understand the different generation and version titles attached WRX / STI, and how to identify them.
The confusion generally surrounds vehicles that are produced on a cross over year, or they are released in a particular country at a given time. An example of this is the Version 7 'Bugeye' STI.
- For all official Subaru New Zealand/Australia purposes, this car carries the manufacturer year 2001.
- With this said, it was possible to purchase a brand new 2001 Version 7 STI in NZ later in the year 2000, however the vehicle still would have carried the year 2001 on the registration label.
- A little later on, an identical used car may have been imported from Japan and registered in NZ. As the vehicle was manufactured in 2000, it would usually be registered as a 2000 model, despite not being officially released in NZ until 2001.
To better know your vehicle and ensure you're purchasing the right parts for it, this guide aims to help you:
- What is the chassis group of my vehicle?
- What is the version of my vehicle?
Please note: This guide will not inform the differences between a WRX, STI, special editions or different options available, instead it will help you identify the chassis group and version of a WRX or STI in a simple way.
What is the chassis code of my vehicle?
Identifying the chassis group of your vehicle is pretty simple, your car's chassis plate can tell you all you need to know. There are currently 4 main chassis variations we're going to focus on.
This is the 'Classic' Impreza WRX / STI variation. It's available in a sports wagon which carries the GF8 chassis denotation, as well as a rare coupe variety. Generally, all variations are referred to as "GC" or "GC8s". This generation started in 1992 and underwent a number of changes before being phased out in 2000.
Branded as 'The New Generation' by Subaru, the GD was kicked off with the love-it-or-hate-it 'Bug-eye'. This same chassis configuration underwent two major facelifts, with the 'Blob-eye' and the 'Hawk-eye'. There were a number of variations in specific chassis codes denoting the body style and WRX or STI variations. The WRX sedan is known as a GDA, the WRX STI sedan a GDB, the WRX wagon a GGA and the bugeye-only STI wagon a GGB. Generally, all variations are referred to as the GD chassis. This generation started in 2000 and went through until 2007.
Subaru decided it was time for the WRX STI to become a true hot-hatch when it launched the GRB generation. Although the regular WRX was immediately available as both a hatch-back and a sedan, the STI wasn't produced in sedan form until the GR chassis underwent a facelift in 2011. The Japanese-new variation of the WRX was renamed an S-GT. There are even more chassis codes to deal with here, depending on the exact model, transmission and body style. Commonly, we see the GR, GV, GH and GE denotations that we refer to as the GR chassis. Production started in 2007 and went until 2014.
The current generation of WRX / STI has become a little simpler, available only in a sedan and all sporting the VA chassis code. The major change here is that the WRX version adorns a completely new generation FA20 engine, whilst the STI keeps the long-standing EJ-series engine. This model was released in 2014 and is currently still in production.
Finding your chassis plate
The chassis plate for your Subaru can be found under the hood, on the strut tower for GC8 and GD chassis vehicles and in the left front door-jam of the GR and VA chassis vehicles.
What is the version of my vehicle?
Subaru coined the term 'Version' with this release of the first WRX STI Version 1. This become an incredibly easy way for enthusiasts to distinguish between otherwise very similar iterations of the WRX and STI. Subaru discontinued using the 'version' label at the Bug-eye model, however enthusiasts around the world have given subsequent generations unofficial 'versions'.
Use the following information to help identify what version you have, making it easier to purchase the right parts. Even though these vehicles are very similar, many of the crucial engine and electronic components are completely different between versions.
Version 1 & 2 (GC8 1992-1996)
The first generation of the classic WRX. Is easily identifiable by the up-turned turbo intake, ignition coil on plug setup and '16 Valve' raised lettering on the rocker covers. Note: This is all common with the earlier RS Legacy engine.
Version 3 & 4 (GC8 1996-1998)
The version 3 & 4 underwent significant engine development, with the intake to the turbo now coming straight under the manifold and, no '16 Valve' on the rocker covers and a coil pack that bolts directly to the centre of the intake manifold. The engine The easiest way to tell the difference between a version 3 and version 4 is the change from the older style of dash board (version 1-3 to the more modern style version 4-6).
Version 5 & 6 (GC8 1998-2000)
The final incarnation of the GC8 featured further development. The exterior gained a sleep front bumper and 'crystal' looking headlights. Under the hood the ignition coil is a very square unit and has been shifted to the left hand side of the intake manifold. The manifold itself is not no longer home to idle control valve, instead this is a round unit on the left hand side of the throttle body. The manifold mounting has an offset bolt pattern compared to previous generations which are all inline.
Version 7 (GD 2000-2002)
The version 7 is easily identifiable thanks to its iconic 'bug-eye' rounded headlights. The engine's external upgrades are the switch to a coil-on-plug ignition and intake manifold with an intermediate 'TGV' or 'TGV delete' section between the manifold and cylinder head. Subaru officially called the STI of this generation the 'Version 7', which was the final time a WRX was officially given a version designation.
Version 8 (GD 2002-2004)
The 'bug-eye' made way for the 'blob-eye' in 2002. Both the Version 8 and Version 9 WRX and STIs share the 'blob-eye' look as well as many other similarities. Coupled with the omission of 'version' from any official documentation, enthusiasts around the world have been left to give these cars their own designation. In North America, all 'blob-eyes' are generally referred to as a Version 8. In New Zealand and Australia, we make the distinction that the Version 8 is mechanically almost identical to the Version 7, with the identifiable differences being either cosmetic 'blob-eyes'. Any other differences are in model specifications.
Version 9 (GD 2004-2005)
The easily identifiable differences between the Version 8 and Version 9 are only on the STI model, that came with a larger 5x114.3 wheel stud pattern and flares over the rear wheel arches. There were a number of country and model specific variations of this version that had either a mechanical or fly-by-wire throttle body.
Version 10 (GD 2005-2007)
The GD generation was given a last 'hurrah' by Subaru with the 'Hawk-eye' thanks to the aesthetic facelift. Mechanically, these are very similar to the version 9, again with some featuring a mechanical throttle body and some fly-by-wire. As the USA called the previous two versions 'Version 8', they refer to these as a version 9.
Version 11 (GR 2007-2014)
Continuing the 'eye' theme, the version 11 is sometimes referred to as the 'Stink-eye'. This completely new chassis can easily be identified thanks to its completely new look compared to the GD series. Although the GR did receive a minor facelift in 2011, the mechanicals and overall look of the vehicle remained similar enough for enthusiasts to keep them all under the version 11 umbrella.
Version 11 STI engine identifyable by coil on plug ignition, AVCS bulges on intake and exhaust cam cover (RH side). Electronic throttle body, boost controller under steel plate on intake manifold (RH side) and plastic header tank. Note: This engine differs from WRX and S-GT which have a different intake manifold, however retain coil on plug ignition and AVCS bulges on intake and exhaust.
Version 12 (VA 2014-Current)
The current generation may be referred to as the 'Evo-eye' after the headlights that look similar to those of the Evo X. Again this received a facelift in 2018 without a new designation. STI engines identicle to verison 11. WRX feature a new generation direct injection FA20 engine.