Subaru is bringing a version of its hottest WRX STI model to the U.S. and will reveal it Jan. 14 at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The automaker’s performance-boosted STI 200-series models were previously available only in Japan, and in scarce quantities at that. But Subaru says the latest car, the STI S209, is on its way here.
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Subaru teased the new flagship WRX STI performance model earlier in the video below and confirmed it with the teaser photo above, but it offered no more details on upgrades for the U.S. version. In October 2017, Subaru Tecnica International (a.k.a., STI) created the Japan-only S208, which it limited to 450 cars — all of which had more power, a beefed-up adaptive suspension and Brembo brakes, aero modifications and some weight-saving carbon fiber in the trunk lip spoiler. (A roof and big rear wing, also carbon fiber, were optional.) It did not say how many we’ll get, though 209 would be a nice, not-so-round number.
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Some of those upgrades may reprise or build off last year’s limited-edition STI Type RA model. But the first question will be what’s under the hood for the U.S. S209. Converted to U.S. specifications, the Japanese S208 has a 324-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but the 2019 U.S. WRX STI uses Subaru’s venerable 2.5-liter turbo. Even if the U.S. S209 stays with that engine, it should sport modifications for more output than the 2019 WRX STI Type RA’s 310 hp. BBC’s Top Gear recently noted that Subaru’s South African arm tweaked the STI’s 2.5-liter engine to get 348 hp for a special edition. We can only hope for that if we don’t get the newer 2.0-liter four.
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