The WRX STI has lengthy been the head of Subaru efficiency within the US, however that is not the case throughout the Pacific in Japan. That is the place Subaru has lengthy offered its, the S201 via S208, all of which have been mere desires to American fans. That each one modifications with the brand new , a limited-edition, range-topping STI that is lastly being offered on US soil. And let me let you know, this one is not for the faint of coronary heart.
- Unimaginable chassis engineering
- Extra energy and torque than the usual WRX STI
- Six-speed guide transmission is a pleasure
Do not Like
- Bump steer galore
- Middling infotainment system
- Very spendy
The S209 takes every little thing we love aboutand turns it as much as eleven. Aggressive aero? Test. Carbon fiber wing and roof? You recognize it. Upgraded 2.5-liter turbocharged engine? Hells to the yeah. However amid all these upgrades, it is the chassis that will get essentially the most consideration right here. Within the phrases of my colleague Andrew Krok, “It is toight like a toiger.”
How tight? Tight sufficient for a freshly opened can of Food regimen Dr. Pepper to spill after I’m driving via a residential neighborhood. Tight sufficient for an insane quantity of bump steer to come back via over every pavement irregularity. Tight sufficient for me to smile and snigger like a maniac as I pilot the S209 via the deserted again roads of Northern California, solely to show round and run the identical route over and over.
Frankly, it isn’t stunning that the S209 is stiffer than a… properly, you understand. It has all types of race automotive goodies. Other than the usual Bilstein shocks and is derived, the S209 goes huge with reinforcements to the chassis, a versatile front-strut tower bar, entrance and rear draw stiffeners and two beefy stabilizer bars measuring 24 millimeters up entrance and 20 millimeters out again. Mixed with a fast 13.3:1 hydraulic-assist steering rack and 265/35R19 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx summer time tires, how may the S209 not knock my socks off?
The turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is tuned to supply 341 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, which is up from 310 and 290, respectively, within the WRX STI. A six-speed guide transmission places the ability right down to all 4 wheels with entrance and rear limited-slip differentials. Drivers can dial of their heart differential settings via the aptly named Driver Managed Middle Differential. I like to use a heftier rear bias at instances, simply to get the S209 to rotate a bit extra with throttle management, however the S209 does simply high quality by itself. On a observe, the DCCD would undoubtedly play a component in proudly owning the circuit, however on my again roads, the automated setting works nice.
Retaining the S209 in third gear places it within the good place for fast nook exits, with the engine’s most torque approaching at 3,600 rpm. Sure, I really feel each bump within the street with this super-stuff chassis and the bump steer is a bit disconcerting, however the tradeoff is wonderful. The S209 does my bidding at each flip, diving into turns like a demon, exiting easily and hurtling towards the subsequent one.
Switching the SI-Drive system from Sport to Sport Sharp permits for elevated throttle response and faster acceleration. Subaru says the S209 can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, which is greater than doable, and completely hilarious.
Heavy acceleration requires heavy braking, as properly. The Brembo stoppers do an awesome job right here, with upgraded high-friction pads and a linear pedal really feel that dares me to brake later and later into every flip. Sure, these pads are a bit noisy and dirt collects within the wheel wells, however these brakes present no indicators of fade. Up entrance you may discover 13.4-inch discs with six-piston calipers, whereas out again the S209 makes use of 12.8-inch rotors with dual-piston calipers. All 4 discs are ventilated and cross-drilled to maintain issues as cool as potential.
The S209 has a neat little trick up its hood scoop: an intercooler mister. What would usually be a paddle shifter as an alternative directs water onto the warmth exchanger. Cooler air means extra of it may be pushed into the cylinders leading to an even bigger bang and a bit extra energy underneath your proper foot. It is not fairly a, “Hit the Nos, Jim” degree of enhance. However should you’re racing, each little bit helps.
The EPA offers the STI S209 a gas economic system score of 15 miles per gallon metropolis, 21 mpg freeway and 17 mixed. These aren’t nice numbers, and there’s the truth is a $1,000 fuel guzzler tax — which Subaru of America pays. Nonetheless, even after every week of driving this factor on the pipe, I find yourself matching the EPA’s mixed quantity. So go forward, drive it such as you stole it.
Inside, the S209 will get just a few upgrades to set it other than lesser WRX STIs. The Recaro entrance seats are heated, they usually’re completed in ultrasuede, as is the steering wheel. The material soaks up the sweat my palms are pushing out whereas I pilot this street-legal race automotive, which is useful but additionally sort of gross. There are just a few S209 badges sprinkled all through the cabin, however aside from that, the inside is just about like each different STI — practical, however that is it.
Infotainment duties are managed by Subaru’s Starlink software program on a 7-inch touchscreen, with and included. Starlink is fairly high quality and usually intuitive, but it surely would not maintain a candle to the subtle, feature-laden methods you may discover in different efficiency sedans. On prime of that, there are not any driver-assistance methods to talk of, save for cruise management. If know-how is what you need, go get an with adaptive cruise management and the super-slick Digital Cockpit gauge cluster.
An Audi may appear to be a league above the Subaru, however belief me, it is not. The S209 prices $64,880, together with $885 for vacation spot, placing it proper in German sport sedan territory. The RS3 begins at $57,195, together with $995 for vacation spot. Heck, even awith greater than 400 hp begins underneath $60,000.
You may assume that’d make the S209 a troublesome promote, however that is not essentially the case. Neither the Audi or BMW are as raucous because the S209. Heck, the RS3 is barely provided with a dual-clutch transmission, which is perhaps smoother, however definitely takes away from the added involvement you get with the S209’s six-speed guide transmission. The M2 Competitors definitely is rambunctious, however general way more refined. And ultimately, what I like most in regards to the STI S209 is definitely its lack of refinement.
In a world the place many efficiency vehicles appear to be they should be all issues to all folks, the S209 is only a pure, rockin’ good time. It is blissfully free from digital intervention and infinite settings. The S209 is a automotive that simply desires to be pushed. Laborious.
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