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2020 Subaru WRX STI S209: First Look

  • Exclusive to the United States.
  • 341-horsepower 2.5-liter engine.
  • On sale fall/winter of 2019
  • Limited run of only 200 units.

Holy snikees, Subaru is finally bringing its S-Line to the U.S. as the 2020 Subaru WRX STI S209 which wowed the crowd at the North American International Auto Show. STI (Subaru Tecnica International) has produced several S-Line models for Japan, but this is its first for the U.S. And if you want one, get moving. STI is only building 200 of them.

Based on the WRX STI Nurburgring Challenge race car, the S209 gets lots of extra goodies and modifications not found on the typical WRX STI. It will come in two color combinations: Blue Pearl with gray wheels and Crystal White Pearl with gold wheels. Subaru hasn’t announced pricing, but expect it to be significantly more than the $36,595 price tag on the 2019 Subaru WRX STI.

Under the Hood

With its HKS turbocharger, the 2.5-liter flat 4-cylinder Boxer engine develops an estimated 341 horsepower. This is a 31-pony increase over the stock WRX STI. Contributing to the increase is a larger turbine and compressor with boost increased from 16.2 psi to 18 psi. A high-flow air intake brings in more outside air and the injectors are larger to accommodate for the change. A close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission distributes engine output to all four wheels through Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system with front/rear limited-slip differentials and active torque vectoring.

A recalibrated SI drive system offers three modes: Intelligent for better mileage, Sport for optimizing balance between response and control and Sport Sharp for the quickest acceleration.

More Performance

Other performance upgrades include a performance-focused chassis with a flexible strut tower bar, Brembo brakes with high-friction pads and 19-in forged BBS wheels wrapped in Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT600A rubber. To accommodate the wider wheels and tires, STI has added some wide-body components that widens the 2020 Subaru WRX STI S209 more than 1.5 inches over the stock WRX STI.

Supporting the body are unique Bilstein dampers, stiffened coil springs and a bigger 20 mm rear stabilizer bar. Flexible front/rear draw stiffiners keep tension between the body and the cross member.

Papers, Please

In addition to the special color combinations and wider body, telling the 2020 Subaru WRX STI S209 apart from STI and Type RA versions is in the badging. S209 badges will be visible on the front and rear of the body. If you miss those, look for the larger 4-in exhaust tips. Inside, an S209 badge with a serial number will be located next to the center console. S209 badges will also appear on the headrests of the Recaro front seats, as well as on the dashboard in front of the passenger. If you get to stick your noggin under the hood, you’ll also find an S209 serial-number plate affixed to the engine.

Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street... Read More about Russ Heaps

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