Subaru WRX STI S209 brings wider body, 341 hp, gold wheels to Detroit
16 January 2019 - Autoblog
Most powerful STI model ever is inspired by Nurburgring class-winner
With the Subaru WRX STI S209, "S" finally comes to the United States. Subaru Tecnica International created the S201 in 2000, but this ninth take on the theme — inspired by the class-winning WRX STI Nürburgring Challenge racer — is the first to make it our way. Unlike the last special edition we got here, the Type RA, this one comes with a notable power boost: 341 horsepower instead of the 310 ponies in the regular WRX STI. The muscle comes courtesy of a larger compressor and turbine in the HKS turbocharger, and 1.8 pounds more boost pressure.
Since the S209 is the most powerful in-house model STI has ever built, the tuning arm didn't stop there. The EJ25 boxer gets air from a new intake duct, induction box with conical air filter, and a silicone turbo inlet duct. Paddles on the steering wheel control a system that sprays water on the intercooler to reduce air temperature, a feature last seen on the WRX STI from the 2004 to 2007 model years. An old-fashioned six-speed manual controls the transmission.The engine gets its fuel from a high-flow fuel pump that feeds larger injectors. Torque hasn't changed from 290 pound-feet, but there's 10 percent more torque at 3,600 rpm. Airflow through the mufflers is 17 percent freer. The cans also are 4.1 pounds lighter and terminate in four-inch pipes.
Subaru makes no mention of any other S209 weight loss, but the looks and the "focus on high-performance driving" should make themselves known. STI widened the front and rear track by 0.6 inches, and punched out fenders with aero-aiding canards make the car 1.7 inches wider. The roof and rear wing are made of carbon fiber. Instead of the 245/35 R19 wheels on the series WRX STI, the S209's forged BBS alloys wear 265/35 Dunlop GT600A summer tires, which we're told can handle max lateral grip beyond 1 G. Behind those wheels, six-piston monoblock Brembo calipers with high-friction pads clamp cross-drilled steel rotors in front, two-piston monoblock calipers in back.
Stiffer coil springs wrap retuned Bilstein dampers, the suspension aided in its work by reinforced front crossmember and rear subframe, a longitudinally-flexible strut tower bar in front, flexible draw stiffeners front and back, and a 20-millimeter rear stabilizer bar.
STI programmers recalibrated the SI-Drive system's three driving modes: Intelligent, Sport, and Sport Sharp. Notably, they recommend Sport for track work, since "the less aggressive throttle map allows for greater driver control." Sport Sharp is for acceleration runs.
The cockpit doesn't change much save for Ultrasuede on the steering wheel, silver inserts for the Recaro buckets, silver stitching throughout, plus plenty of S209 badging.