More power at last, but only about 200 will be built
For the last month or so, Subaru has been teasing a special-edition STI that we knew would be called the S209. Now it’s finally here, gold wheels and all. Even better, it’s packing something the STI has needed for years—more power.
Yes, the S209 is more powerful than the regular STI. And not by 5 or 10 horsepower, either. Thanks to a reworked engine and an HKS-sourced turbocharger, the S209 makes 341 hp. Subaru doesn’t quote a specific torque figure, but it does say midrange torque has been improved 10 percent. That’s not quite as much power as the recently canceled Ford Focus RS made, but at least it’s a good bit more than what you got in the STI Type RA.
As you can see in the photos Subaru provided, the S209 is a little bit more than an STI with a power bump. It gets a wide-body kit and aerodynamic improvements inspired by Subaru’s Nurburgring Challenge race car. The 1.7-inch wider bodywork allowed Subaru to widen the track by 0.6 inch. Front fender vents help cool the engine, while rear ones smooth out airflow and reduce drag. The front bumper canards, carbon-fiber roof, and huge wing were also inspired by the race car. A six-speed manual is the only transmission option.
To maximize on-track performance, the S209 also comes with upgraded Brembo brakes, Bilstein dampers, stiffer coil springs, a 20mm rear anti-roll bar, and new bushings. The chassis has been reinforced, and a race-inspired front-strut tower bar has been installed. It uses a center ball joint that Subaru says improves body stiffness while still being able to flex up and down for a less harsh ride. It also rides on 19-inch BBS forged wheels and custom-developed Dunlop tires that enable the S209 to exceed 1.0 g of lateral grip.
Inside, you get a ton of S209 badges, an STI badge on the steering wheel, a numbered plaque on the center console, and Recaro seats with special silver-colored inserts. Interestingly enough, the STI badge replacing the six-star Subaru emblem on the steering wheel actually makes sense. Subaru says the S209 had to be homologated for the U.S. by STI, making it the first Subaru you can buy in this market that was legally built by STI.
But while we’re happy to see Subaru finally offer a version of the STI that actually makes noticeably more power, there is a downside. Even though it will exclusively be sold in the U.S., production of the S209 will be limited to about 200 units. Expect about half to be blue with gray wheels, with the other half configured the way you see here with white paint and gold wheels.
The automaker says pricing will be announced closer to the S209’s launch in late 2019. Given its rarity, we expect the S209 will be expensive even before dealer markup. The Type RA cost $49,855 USD with destination, and Subaru built more than twice as many of those.