Subaru is cooking up a hotter WRX STI. At least that’s what we can surmise from the teaser imagery that’s been shuffling out ahead of the North American International Auto Show. Detroit will play host to Subaru’s latest variant of the STI and the S209 badging has us curious to learn a whole more about this new car.
Over the years, Subaru has released many different limited-run versions of its most entertaining machine. Quite often, however, the top-flight models only wind up being sold in Japan or the UK. Subaru cranks out limited versions of the STI that wear an S### designation, with the first being the S201. Since 2000, these S-designation cars have only been sold in Japan. This year that changes.
On a stage in Detroit, the S209 will be rolled out in front of the attending crowd. This marks the first time the North American market will receive a car with the S### treatment. A year ago, we drove the ultra-limited and super expensive Type RA and came away surprised. That car represents the best driving STI we’ve ever driven. It is clearly a step above the standard STI, both performance wise and with respect to your wallet. So what can we expect from the S209?
It may be even more limited. Typically, the production run for an S-series car is well under 500 units. The S208 was the last one offered and it was introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show. It features a 329-horsepower engine that’s not the 2.5-liter Boxer turbo we’re used to seeing stuffed under the nose of the STI. Instead, Subaru opted to juice up its 2.0-liter engine. Then the automaker added on an upgraded exhaust, water-sprayed cooling, a carbon-fiber roof panel, and revised fascia bits. A quicker steering ratio was added. Larger wheels and tires were deployed, and the braking and suspension were upgraded as well.
The S209 should receive a similar treatment, though it remains to be seen if Subaru will go all in and swap out the 2.5-liter for the 2.0-liter. That would be a major move. And it would serve as a proper handoff from this generation of the WRX STI onto the next version, which will ride on the Subaru Global Platform. That should take place sometime in 2020.