The WRX STI has very long been the pinnacle of Subaru general performance in the US, but that is not the situation throughout the Pacific in Japan. This is where by Subaru has very long marketed its S-Series cars and trucks, the S201 through S208, all of which have been mere dreams to American lovers. That all variations with the new S209, a confined-version, range-topping STI that is finally becoming marketed on US soil. And let me notify you, this one particular is just not for the faint of coronary heart.

Table of Contents


  • Outstanding chassis engineering
  • A lot more energy and torque than the regular WRX STI
  • 6-pace manual transmission is a pleasure

Don’t Like

  • Bump steer galore
  • Middling infotainment technique
  • Really spendy

The S209 requires everything we appreciate about the regular WRX STI and turns it up to eleven. Intense aero? Check. Carbon fiber wing and roof? You know it. Upgraded 2.five-liter turbocharged motor? Hells to the yeah. But amid all these upgrades, it is the chassis that will get the most interest here. In the text of my colleague Andrew Krok, “It really is toight like a toiger.”

How limited? Restricted plenty of for a freshly opened can of Eating plan Dr. Pepper to spill when I’m driving through a household community. Restricted plenty of for an insane sum of bump steer to occur through around every and each pavement irregularity. Restricted plenty of for me to grin and chuckle like a maniac as I pilot the S209 through the abandoned back roads of Northern California, only to switch about and run the similar route around and around once more.

A wider monitor and Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tires means this thing has grip for days.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Frankly, it is not astonishing that the S209 is stiffer than a… effectively, you know. It has all types of race car or truck goodies. Apart from the regular Bilstein shocks and springs, the S209 goes big with reinforcements to the chassis, a versatile entrance-strut tower bar, entrance and rear attract stiffeners and two beefy stabilizer bars measuring 24 millimeters up entrance and twenty millimeters out back. Combined with a brief 13.three:one hydraulic-aid steering rack and 265/35R19 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx summer months tires, how could the S209 not knock my socks off?

The turbocharged 2.five-liter four-cylinder motor is tuned to develop 341 horsepower and 330 pound-ft of torque, which is up from 310 and 290, respectively, in the WRX STI. A 6-pace manual transmission places the energy down to all four wheels with entrance and rear confined-slip differentials. Drivers can dial in their heart differential options through the aptly named Driver Controlled Centre Differential. I like to utilize a heftier rear bias at instances, just to get the S209 to rotate a little bit a lot more with throttle regulate, but the S209 does just fantastic on its very own. On a monitor, the DCCD would definitely perform a aspect in owning the circuit, but on my back roads, the automatic setting works great.

Retaining the S209 in third gear places it in the ideal location for brief corner exits, with the engine’s most torque coming on at three,600 rpm. Sure, I feel each bump in the street with this tremendous-things chassis and the bump steer is a minimal disconcerting, but the tradeoff is wonderful. The S209 does my bidding at each switch, diving into turns like a demon, exiting effortlessly and hurtling toward the upcoming one particular.

Switching the SI-Push technique from Sport to Sport Sharp lets for elevated throttle response and more rapidly acceleration. Subaru states the S209 can go from to sixty mph in four.nine seconds, which is a lot more than doable, and fully hilarious.

Heavy acceleration calls for weighty braking, as effectively. The Brembo stoppers do a great position here, with upgraded large-friction pads and a linear pedal feel that dares me to brake afterwards and afterwards into every switch. Sure, all those pads are a little bit noisy and dust collects in the wheel wells, but these brakes present no signs of fade. Up entrance you can expect to find 13.four-inch discs with 6-piston calipers, though out back the S209 makes use of 12.eight-inch rotors with twin-piston calipers. All four discs are ventilated and cross-drilled to retain points as amazing as achievable.

The S209 has a neat minimal trick up its hood scoop: an intercooler mister. What would generally be a paddle shifter as a substitute directs water on to the heat exchanger. Cooler air means a lot more of it can be pushed into the cylinders ensuing in a bigger bang and a little bit a lot more energy beneath your ideal foot. It really is not really a, “Hit the Nos, Jim” stage of boost. But if you’re racing, each minimal little bit can help.

The inside is largely the similar as the regular STI, help save for these amazing Recaro seats.


The EPA gives the STI S209 a fuel economic system rating of fifteen miles for each gallon city, 21 mpg highway and 17 put together. Those usually are not great quantities, and there is in actuality a $one,000 gas guzzler tax — which Subaru of America pays. However, even soon after a week of driving this thing on the pipe, I stop up matching the EPA’s put together amount. So go in advance, drive it like you stole it.

Inside of, the S209 will get a couple upgrades to established it aside from lesser WRX STIs. The Recaro entrance seats are heated, and they are completed in ultrasuede, as is the steering wheel. The fabric soaks up the sweat my palms are pushing out though I pilot this avenue-legal race car or truck, which is beneficial but also form of gross. There are a couple S209 badges sprinkled during the cabin, but other than that, the inside is rather much like each other STI — useful, but that is it.

Infotainment duties are managed by Subaru’s Starlink software program on a seven-inch touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle involved. Starlink is rather fantastic and typically intuitive, but it isn’t going to keep a candle to the advanced, element-laden devices you can expect to find in other general performance sedans. On top of that, there are no driver-guidance devices to speak of, help save for cruise regulate. If technologies is what you want, go get an Audi RS3 with adaptive cruise regulate and the tremendous-slick Digital Cockpit gauge cluster.

As its title suggests, only 209 of these STIs will be marketed in the US.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

An Audi could possibly seem like a league higher than the Subaru, but trust me, it is just not. The S209 prices $sixty four,880, which includes $885 for location, placing it ideal in German sport sedan territory. The RS3 starts off at $57,195, which includes $995 for location. Heck, even a BMW M2 Levels of competition with a lot more than 400 hp starts off beneath $sixty,000.

You could possibly consider that’d make the S209 a challenging market, but that is not automatically the situation. Neither the Audi or BMW are as raucous as the S209. Heck, the RS3 is only available with a twin-clutch transmission, which could possibly be smoother, but surely requires away from the added involvement you get with the S209’s 6-pace manual transmission. The M2 Levels of competition surely is rambunctious, but all round significantly a lot more advanced. And in the stop, what I like most about the STI S209 is essentially its lack of refinement.

In a globe where by lots of general performance cars and trucks seem like they want to be all points to all folks, the S209 is just a pure, rockin’ excellent time. It really is blissfully free of charge from electronic intervention and endless options. The S209 is a car or truck that just would like to be pushed. Tough.