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

por Nam Duterrau (02/07/2020)

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The WRX STI has long been the pinnacle of Subaru performance in the US, but that's not the case across the Pacific in Japan. This is where Subaru has long sold its S-Series cars, the S201 through S208, all of which have been mere dreams to American enthusiasts. That all changes with the new S209, a limited-edition, range-topping STI that's finally being sold on US soil. And let me tell you, this one isn't for the faint of heart.


2019 Subaru STI S209



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LikeIncredible chassis engineeringMore power and torque than the standard WRX STISix-speed manual transmission is a joy

Don't LikeBump steer galoreMiddling infotainment systemVery spendy

The S209 takes everything we love about the standard WRX STI and turns it up to eleven. Aggressive aero? Check. Carbon fiber wing and roof? You know it. Upgraded 2.5-liter turbocharged engine? Hells to the yeah. But amid all these upgrades, it's the chassis that gets the most attention here. In the words of my colleague Andrew Krok, "It's toight like a toiger."

How tight? Tight enough for a freshly opened can of Diet Dr. Pepper to spill when I'm driving through a residential neighborhood. Tight enough for an insane amount of bump steer to come through over each and every pavement irregularity. Tight enough for me to grin and laugh like a maniac as I pilot the S209 through the abandoned back roads of Northern California, only to turn around and run the same route over and over again.

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A wider track and Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tires means this thing has grip for days.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

Frankly, trương gia giới it's not surprising that the S209 is stiffer than a... well, you know. It has all kinds of race car goodies. Aside from the standard Bilstein shocks and springs, the S209 goes big with reinforcements to the chassis, a flexible front-strut tower bar, front and rear draw stiffeners and two beefy stabilizer bars measuring 24 millimeters up front and 20 millimeters out back. Combined with a quick 13.3:1 hydraulic-assist steering rack and 265/35R19 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx summer tires, how could the S209 not knock my socks off?

The turbocharged 2.5-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 six-speed manual transmission puts the power down to all four wheels with front and rear limited-slip differentials. Drivers can dial in their center differential settings through the aptly named Driver Controlled Center Differential. I like to apply a heftier rear bias at times, just to get the S209 to rotate a bit more with throttle control, but the S209 does just fine on its own. On a track, the DCCD would definitely play a part in owning the circuit, but on my back roads, the automatic setting works great.

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