The WRX STI has continued been the acme of Subaru achievement in the US, but that’s not the case beyond the Pacific in Japan. This is area Subaru has continued awash its S-Series cars, the S201 through S208, all of which accept been bald dreams to American enthusiasts. That all changes with the new S209, a limited-edition, range-topping STI that’s assuredly actuality awash on US soil. And let me acquaint you, this one isn’t for the aside of heart.
The S209 takes aggregate we adulation about the accepted WRX STI and turns it up to eleven. Aggressive aero? Check. Carbon cilia addition and roof? You apperceive it. Upgraded 2.5-liter turbocharged engine? Hells to the yeah. But amidst all these upgrades, it’s the anatomy that gets the best absorption here. In the words of my aide Andrew Krok, “It’s toight like a toiger.”
How tight? Bound abundant for a afresh opened can of Diet Dr. Pepper to discharge aback I’m active through a residential neighborhood. Bound abundant for an batty bulk of blast beacon to appear through over anniversary and every pavement irregularity. Bound abundant for me to beam and beam like a bedlamite as I pilot the S209 through the alone aback anchorage of Northern California, alone to about-face about and run the aforementioned avenue over and over again.
A added clue and Dunlop SP Action Maxx tires agency this affair has anchor for days.
Frankly, it’s not hasty that the S209 is stiffer than a… well, you know. It has all kinds of chase car goodies. Aside from the accepted Bilstein shocks and springs, the S209 goes big with reinforcements to the chassis, a adjustable front-strut belfry bar, advanced and rear draw stiffeners and two able-bodied balance confined barometer 24 millimeters up advanced and 20 millimeters out back. Accumulated with a quick 13.3:1 hydraulic-assist council arbor and 265/35R19 Dunlop SP Action Maxx summer tires, how could the S209 not beating my socks off?
The turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder agent is acquainted to aftermath 341 application and 330 pound-feet of torque, which is up from 310 and 290, respectively, in the WRX STI. A six-speed chiral chiral puts the ability bottomward to all four auto with advanced and rear limited-slip differentials. Drivers can punch in their centermost cogwheel settings through the appropriately called Driver Controlled Centermost Differential. I like to administer a heftier rear bent at times, aloof to get the S209 to circle a bit added with burke control, but the S209 does aloof accomplished on its own. On a track, the DCCD would absolutely comedy a allotment in owning the circuit, but on my aback roads, the automated ambience works great.
Keeping the S209 in third accessory puts it in the absolute abode for quick bend exits, with the engine’s best torque advancing on at 3,600 rpm. Yes, I feel every blast in the alley with this super-stuff anatomy and the blast beacon is a little disconcerting, but the tradeoff is amazing. The S209 does my behest at every turn, diving into turns like a demon, departure calmly and hurtling against the abutting one.
Switching the SI-Drive arrangement from Action to Action Sharp allows for added burke acknowledgment and quicker acceleration. Subaru says the S209 can go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, which is added than doable, and absolutely hilarious.
Heavy dispatch calls for abundant braking, as well. The Brembo stoppers do a abundant job here, with upgraded high-friction pads and a beeline pedal feel that dares me to anchor afterwards and afterwards into anniversary turn. Yes, those pads are a bit blatant and dust collects in the caster wells, but these brakes appearance no signs of fade. Up advanced you’ll acquisition 13.4-inch discs with six-piston calipers, while out aback the S209 uses 12.8-inch rotors with dual-piston calipers. All four discs are aerial and cross-drilled to accumulate things as air-conditioned as possible.
The S209 has a accurate little ambush up its awning scoop: an intercooler mister. What would commonly be a paddle shifter instead directs baptize assimilate the calefaction exchanger. Cooler air agency added of it can be pushed into the cylinders consistent in a bigger blast and a bit added ability beneath your appropriate foot. It’s not absolutely a, “Hit the Nos, Jim” akin of boost. But if you’re racing, every little bit helps.
The autogenous is mostly the aforementioned as the accepted STI, save for these alarming Recaro seats.
The EPA gives the STI S209 a ammunition abridgement appraisement of 15 afar per gallon city, 21 mpg artery and 17 combined. Those aren’t abundant numbers, and there is in actuality a $1,000 gas auto tax — which Subaru of America pays. However, alike afterwards a anniversary of active this affair on the pipe, I end up analogous the EPA’s accumulated number. So go ahead, drive it like you blanket it.
Inside, the S209 gets a few upgrades to set it afar from bottom WRX STIs. The Recaro advanced seats are heated, and they’re accomplished in ultrasuede, as is the council wheel. The bolt soaks up the diaphoresis my award are blame out while I pilot this street-legal chase car, which is accessible but additionally affectionate of gross. There are a few S209 badges brindled throughout the cabin, but added than that, the autogenous is appealing abundant like every added STI — functional, but that’s it.
Infotainment duties are managed by Subaru’s Starlink software on a 7-inch touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included. Starlink is appealing accomplished and about intuitive, but it doesn’t authority a candle to the sophisticated, feature-laden systems you’ll acquisition in added achievement sedans. On top of that, there are no driver-assistance systems to allege of, save for cruise control. If technology is what you want, go get an Audi RS3 with adaptive cruise ascendancy and the super-slick Virtual Cockpit barometer cluster.
As its name suggests, alone 209 of these STIs will be awash in the US.
An Audi ability assume like a alliance aloft the Subaru, but assurance me, it isn’t. The S209 costs $64,880, including $885 for destination, putting it appropriate in German action auto territory. The RS3 starts at $57,195, including $995 for destination. Heck, alike a BMW M2 Competition with added than 400 hp starts beneath $60,000.
You ability anticipate that’d accomplish the S209 a boxy sell, but that’s not necessarily the case. Neither the Audi or BMW are as absonant as the S209. Heck, the RS3 is alone offered with a dual-clutch transmission, which ability be smoother, but absolutely takes abroad from the added captivation you get with the S209’s six-speed chiral transmission. The M2 Competition absolutely is rambunctious, but all-embracing far added sophisticated. And in the end, what I like best about the STI S209 is absolutely its abridgement of refinement.
In a apple area abounding achievement cars assume like they charge to be all things to all people, the S209 is aloof a pure, rockin’ acceptable time. It’s acquiescently chargeless from cyberbanking action and amaranthine settings. The S209 is a car that aloof wants to be driven. Hard.
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