2019 Subaru STI S209 review: A rowdy and raucous race car for the road

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The WRX STI has extensive been the pinnacle of Subaru functionality in the US, but that’s not the situation throughout the Pacific in Japan. This is the place Subaru has extensive marketed its S-Series vehicles, the S201 by way of S208, all of which have been mere desires to American lovers. That all alterations with the new S209, a constrained-edition, variety-topping STI that’s eventually becoming marketed on US soil. And allow me notify you, this one particular isn’t for the faint of coronary heart.


  • Extraordinary chassis engineering
  • Extra electric power and torque than the regular WRX STI
  • 6-pace handbook transmission is a pleasure

Never Like

  • Bump steer galore
  • Middling infotainment program
  • Extremely spendy

The S209 usually takes every thing we love about the regular WRX STI and turns it up to eleven. Aggressive aero? Check out. Carbon fiber wing and roof? You know it. Upgraded two.five-liter turbocharged engine? Hells to the yeah. But amid all these upgrades, it truly is the chassis that will get the most focus in this article. In the text of my colleague Andrew Krok, “It is toight like a toiger.”

How limited? Limited sufficient for a freshly opened can of Diet plan Dr. Pepper to spill when I am driving by way of a household neighborhood. Limited sufficient for an insane quantity of bump steer to occur by way of more than just about every and each pavement irregularity. Limited sufficient for me to grin and laugh like a maniac as I pilot the S209 by way of the deserted again roads of Northern California, only to convert all around and operate the exact route more than and more than once more.

A wider keep track of and Dunlop SP Activity Maxx tires signifies this thing has grip for times.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Frankly, it truly is not surprising that the S209 is stiffer than a… nicely, you know. It has all kinds of race automobile goodies. Apart from the regular Bilstein shocks and springs, the S209 goes major with reinforcements to the chassis, a adaptable entrance-strut tower bar, entrance and rear draw stiffeners and two beefy stabilizer bars measuring 24 millimeters up entrance and 20 millimeters out again. Combined with a speedy 13.three:one hydraulic-aid steering rack and 265/35R19 Dunlop SP Activity Maxx summertime tires, how could the S209 not knock my socks off?

The turbocharged two.five-liter four-cylinder engine is tuned to produce 341 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, which is up from 310 and 290, respectively, in the WRX STI. A 6-pace handbook transmission places the electric power down to all four wheels with entrance and rear constrained-slip differentials. Drivers can dial in their heart differential settings by way of the aptly named Driver Managed Middle Differential. I like to use a heftier rear bias at situations, just to get the S209 to rotate a little bit a lot more with throttle management, but the S209 does just fantastic on its have. On a keep track of, the DCCD would certainly engage in a element in owning the circuit, but on my again roads, the computerized location works great.

Preserving the S209 in 3rd gear places it in the perfect place for speedy corner exits, with the engine’s most torque coming on at three,600 rpm. Yes, I really feel each bump in the road with this tremendous-stuff chassis and the bump steer is a small disconcerting, but the tradeoff is amazing. The S209 does my bidding at each convert, diving into turns like a demon, exiting effortlessly and hurtling toward the future one particular.

Switching the SI-Drive program from Activity to Activity Sharp makes it possible for for elevated throttle response and a lot quicker acceleration. Subaru claims the S209 can go from to sixty mph in 4.nine seconds, which is a lot more than doable, and absolutely hilarious.

Weighty acceleration phone calls for large braking, as nicely. The Brembo stoppers do a great position in this article, with upgraded significant-friction pads and a linear pedal really feel that dares me to brake later and later into just about every convert. Yes, individuals pads are a little bit noisy and dust collects in the wheel wells, but these brakes clearly show no indications of fade. Up entrance you will come across 13.4-inch discs with 6-piston calipers, whilst out again the S209 works by using twelve.8-inch rotors with dual-piston calipers. All four discs are ventilated and cross-drilled to keep factors as great as possible.

The S209 has a neat small trick up its hood scoop: an intercooler mister. What would generally be a paddle shifter rather directs drinking water on to the heat exchanger. Cooler air signifies a lot more of it can be pushed into the cylinders resulting in a bigger bang and a little bit a lot more electric power beneath your appropriate foot. It is not pretty a, “Strike the Nos, Jim” amount of raise. But if you happen to be racing, each small little bit helps.

The interior is mostly the exact as the regular STI, conserve for these wonderful Recaro seats.


The EPA gives the STI S209 a fuel economic climate ranking of fifteen miles for each gallon metropolis, 21 mpg freeway and 17 merged. These aren’t great quantities, and there is in reality a $one,000 gas guzzler tax — which Subaru of The united states pays. On the other hand, even right after a 7 days of driving this thing on the pipe, I close up matching the EPA’s merged quantity. So go forward, push it like you stole it.

Inside, the S209 will get a couple of upgrades to set it apart from lesser WRX STIs. The Recaro entrance seats are heated, and they are concluded in ultrasuede, as is the steering wheel. The fabric soaks up the sweat my palms are pushing out whilst I pilot this street-legal race automobile, which is helpful but also form of gross. There are a couple of S209 badges sprinkled throughout the cabin, but other than that, the interior is really a lot like each other STI — purposeful, but that’s it.

Infotainment responsibilities are managed by Subaru’s Starlink software on a 7-inch touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile integrated. Starlink is really fantastic and usually intuitive, but it won’t hold a candle to the innovative, feature-laden programs you will come across in other functionality sedans. On leading of that, there are no driver-help programs to discuss of, conserve for cruise management. If technology is what you want, go get an Audi RS3 with adaptive cruise management and the tremendous-slick Digital Cockpit gauge cluster.

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

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

An Audi might feel like a league over the Subaru, but rely on me, it isn’t. The S209 expenses $64,880, together with $885 for destination, putting it appropriate in German activity sedan territory. The RS3 begins at $57,195, together with $995 for destination. Heck, even a BMW M2 Competition with a lot more than 400 hp begins beneath $sixty,000.

You might consider that’d make the S209 a challenging market, but that’s not essentially the situation. Neither the Audi or BMW are as raucous as the S209. Heck, the RS3 is only made available with a dual-clutch transmission, which might be smoother, but unquestionably usually takes away from the additional involvement you get with the S209’s 6-pace handbook transmission. The M2 Competition unquestionably is rambunctious, but total significantly a lot more innovative. And in the close, what I like most about the STI S209 is in fact its absence of refinement.

In a earth the place numerous functionality vehicles feel like they need to be all factors to all people today, the S209 is just a pure, rockin’ superior time. It is blissfully totally free from electronic intervention and countless settings. The S209 is a automobile that just desires to be pushed. Challenging.