Subaru STi S209: a new Scooby adventure

Published: 15 January 2019

► New hot-shot Scooby revealed
► New 341bhp STI S209 is US only
► Unveiled at NAIAS Detroit show

UK fans of fast Scoobies may wish to look away now: the Subaru STI S209 is a new, limited-edition hot hatch from the Japanese brand's Subaru Technica International (STI) motorsport department.

Boosted to 341bhp, the maxed-out WRX is the most powerful production car the brand has made, it claims. The S209 was revealed at the 2019 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), aka the Detroit motor show.

Subaru STI S209: what you need to know

For starters, this car will only be sold in the US - and even then only in low numbers. Just 200 will be built and it’s not due to be imported to Europe. Sorry.

Subaru STI S209

STI models started out being domestic market Japan-only specials. The first S201 launched in 2000 and there have been eight generations of go-faster tweaky, culminating in last year’s S208.

The new-for-2019 S209 is classic maxed-out Subaru performance fair: take one WRX (née Impreza), give it the full motorsport treatment, stand back and watch the firecracker performance.

Performance, specs

The 2.5-litre boxer engine has been upgraded to 341bhp, thanks to an enlarged STI-bespoke HKS turbo running higher boost and forged pistons and conrods. Subaru claims mid-range torque swells 10% as a result. 

Subaru STI S209 specs and prices

That extra thrust is sent through a six-speed manual transmission to all four 19-inch forged BBS alloy wheels. They’re wrapped in low-profile 265/35 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx track-focused tyres while uprated, six-piston Brembo brakes provide the stopping power. Subaru claims cornering grip of over 1g is possible in this limpet-like hot hatch.

A Subaru makeover: thugs ahoy!

This is no shrinking violet: the S209 gets a wider body some 4cm broader than a standard WRX STi’s, while front canards and a whopping rear wing provide some extra aero to keep this Scooby as sticky as chewing gum. The bodywork is peppered with additional cooling vents to channel air to mechanicals working overtime to dissipate heat and scavenge for oxygen.

Subaru STI S209 interior and cabin

The chassis is beefed up considerably, with new Bilstein dampers, stiffer springs and chunked-up anti-roll bar. Much of the tech is derived from Subaru’s Nurburgring endurance racer, including a new variable stiffness strut brace. 

One final neat touch: the ultimate Subaru S209 comes in a choice of just two evocative colours - World Rally Blue Pearl and Crystal White Pearl. And those bazooka-like rear exhaust tips? They’re 101mm in diameter!

Sales start in autumn 2019; no prices have been announced yet.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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