Subaru unveils its first-ever S-series vehicle in the United States with the launch of the STI S209 at the Detroit Auto Show. The hardcore model packs an estimated 341 horsepower (not an official number yet) from a tuned version of Subie's EJ25 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. If this sounds like something you want in your garage, then act immediately because the company is only bringing "around 200" of them into the United States.
The S209 is not technically a Subaru model. Because of the extensive mechanical work necessary to create the model, the company actually homologates it as an STI in the United States, rather than a Subie.
STI thoroughly overhauls the engine to push the engine output so high. An HKS turbo replaces the standard part, and the upgraded unit packs a larger turbine and compressor. The setup also allows for maximum boost of 18 psi instead the normal 16.2 psi. Inside the powerplant, there are forged pistons and connecting rods that are stronger and reduce rotating mass. The intake system has revised ducting, and a control on the steering wheel activates the intercooler water spray. A high-flow fuel pump, larger injectors cope with the tuned engine's greater need for gasoline. Hand-polished headers provide a shine under the hood. To get rid of the bad air, a new exhaust has 17-percent less resistance and weighs just 4.1 pounds.
The only available gearbox is a six-speed manual that routes to Subie's famous all-wheel-drive system. STI recalibrates the driving modes to reflect the drivetrain revisions, though.
The S209 reflects its increased power on the outside through a heavily revised body kit. It adds wider fenders that broaden the body by 1.7 inches (43.2 millimeters) over a standard WRX STI. The extra width lets STI expand the front and rear track by 0.6 inches (15.2 mm). For even more grip, the performance division then covers the 19-inch BBS forged wheels with a set of 265/35 Dunlop GT600A summer-only tires. Dunlop specifically developed this rubber for the S209 so that the sedan was able to offer over 1.0 g of lateral grip.
As a further handling aid, STI gets serious about the S209's suspension. It rides on a set of Bilstein dampers, with stiffer springs and a 20-mm rear stabilizer bar. A flexible front strut tower bar and front/rear draw stiffeners add extra rigidity to the body.
When the time eventually comes to slow down, the S209 has a set of Brembo brakes comprising cross-drilled rotors, 6-piston front calipers, two-piston rear calipers, and high-friction pads.
There are some very minor tweaks to the S209's interior. Drivers grip a flat-bottom steering wheel with Ultrasuede upholstery. Occupants in front sit in thickly bolstered Recaro seats with silver center inserts.
The S209 will go on sale in late 2019. Subaru will announce the price closer to launch, although hardcore Subie fans will likely pay whatever the company will ask to own the most hardcore STI ever in the United States.