ALL-WHEEL THRIVE

Subaru WRX STI S209: The Most Powerful STI Ever Is an AWD Dream


January 14, 2019 Cars By
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Subaru WRX STI S209
Powertrain: 2.5-liter boxer-four; six-speed manual; all-wheel drive
Horsepower: 341
Number Made: ~200
MSRP: TBA

Subaru unveiled the eagerly awaited, limited edition STI S209 at NAIAS. It’s the most powerful STI (Subaru Tecnica International) branded production car ever at 341hp, all from a 2.5L Boxer engine with a six-speed manual. Available in late 2019, it will be the first top-tier “S” edition sold outside Japan in the U.S. market. The U.S. has had “STI” marked vehicles, though Subaru considers this the first one that will be “STI built” with final assembly in Kiryu, Japan.

Per Subaru, around 200 S209s will be sold beginning in late 2019. Pricing details were not given. We can presume it will exceed the 2019 WRX STI Type RA, limited to a run of 500, that started at $48,995 MSRP. The S209 will be available in two colors, World Rally Blue Pearl and Crystal White Pearl. With aggressive wheel arches and a huge wing, it looks more or less exactly like you would expect a white-hot WRX to look.

The simple philosophy behind the S209 over the standard models is more power, less weight and more downforce. For perspective, the S209 is 31 more horsepower than the WRX STI Limited. It has 17 more horsepower than the Japan-only S208 released in 2017.

Can you get a better car for the money than what this will eventually cost? Maybe one that looks a bit more fit to be driven by an adult? Of course. But the fortunate few who buy the S209 aren’t buying this for rational reasons.

Value aside, the STI S209 will be a thrilling antidote to the chronic underpowered feeling one gets from the otherwise great and practical Subaru lineup.

Read our review of the current Subie King, the 2019 WRX STI Type RA.

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