Subaru WRX STI S209 is Peak Subaru WRX STI

Sami Haj-Assaad
by Sami Haj-Assaad

Americans are getting their first taste of Subaru’s special S-Line sauce with the powerful new WRX STI S209, which may be the best version of the brand’s sport compact car.

Basically, take the special edition WRX STI Type RA (which was designed to set a record time at the world famous Nurburgring) and make it grippier, more powerful, and even more special, and you’ve got the gist of the new WRX STI S209.

Each of these cars is practically hand built by the specialists at STI, where they give the STI a larger turbo as well as other that boosts the 2.5-liter’s output to 341 horsepower. The S209 also features a high-flow intake system with a new intake duct, induction box with conical air filter, silicone turbo inlet duct as well as an intercooler water spray system that lowers intercooler temperature via manually operated steering-wheel paddles. That latter feature is a nod from the 2004-07 WRX STI.

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To accommodate all this power, the car features a new fuel pump, fuel injectors, and a new engine control computer. It also has lighter mufflers with less air resistance, as well as bigger exhaust tips that give the S209 a louder rumble.

The car is only offered with a six-speed manual transmission, and it also features the driver controlled center differential as well as active torque vectoring. The SI-Drive mode selector can switch from Intelligent, Sport and Sport# settings, and the automaker recommends the Sport setting over Sport Sharp for track driving, saying the setting has a less aggressive throttle map which leads to better control.

In addition to these powertrain adjustments, the WRX STI 209 has a number of aerodynamic and suspension changes. These aren’t just tweaks but are completely overhauled components. In fact, the car is 1.7 inches wider than a standard WRX STI, a look inspired by the Nürburgring Challenge racecar. The vents on the front fenders help with engine cooling, while vents on the rear fenders help to reduce drag.

There are more Nürburgring racecar inspiration in this car, like the front, rear and side under spoilers; front bumper canards; and carbon-fiber roof panel and rear wing. In terms of suspension, the car features Bilstein dampers with stiffened coil springs, as well as a 20-mm rear stabilizer bar and special pillow-type bushings. The S209 also packs reinforcements to the front cross-member and rear subframes and, just like the race car, it has a flexible front-strut tower bar and flexible front/rear draw stiffeners.

One final piece of the puzzle is the specially developed Dunlop GT600A tires wrapped around lightweight 19 x 9-inch forged BBS alloy wheels. The tires provide a maximum lateral grip of over 1.0g.

Around 200 of these special edition WRX STIs are being made, which means these cars will be rare and prized possessions by the Subaru faithful. There’s still no word on how much they will each cost, but you can bet on the performance modifications being well worth it.

Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad

Sami has an unquenchable thirst for car knowledge and has been at AutoGuide for the past six years. He has a degree in journalism and media studies from the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto and has won multiple journalism awards from the Automotive Journalist Association of Canada. Sami is also on the jury for the World Car Awards.

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