We drive Subaru's limited-edition hot rod STI S209 - very carefully
It might seem odd to review a 2019 vehicle when the 2020 model year is upon us, but there was one car left that we didn't want to miss. Subaru made a special edition of its WRX STI factory hot rod, and this one is sure to become a collector's item.
The 2019 Subaru STI S209 is so-called because only 209 examples of this track-ready sports car were made. Using a special intake and exhaust system and a lightweight flywheel, the already potent 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer engine got a little more juice to hit 341 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. Subaru paired that with their usual 6-speed manual transmission, and their symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. The S209 will hit 60 MPH in less than 5 seconds.
Like all STI models, the S209 gets the multi-mode driver-controlled center differential system. This allows the driver to control how much power is allocated to the front and rear wheels. You can adjust the S209 for a very sporty rear-wheel biased experience or split the torque equally among all the wheels for traction. The S209 comes with limited slip differentials at both ends and active torque vectoring to help keep everything pointed in the right direction.
The S209 also comes with a full set of track-ready performance modifications, including special STI-tuned Bilstein suspension, uprated sway bars and strut tower reinforcement, six-piston Brembo brakes, and forged 19-inch wheels. There's even a trigger on the steering wheel to spray cooling water on the engine's intercooler. That helps keep power up during heavy driving on hot days.
Inside, the S209 is all business. This model comes with Recaro performance seats. There's no heated seat function in this model, and the seats are firm enough to tell you that this isn't a paint-and-stickers performance edition. The steering wheel is trimmed in smooth Ultrasuede. If you touch it, you're going to like it.
You do get a stereo system in the S209; Subaru's not completely barbaric. It's a seven-inch touchscreen with smartphone integration and a CD player. We didn't use it much, to be honest. The growl of the engine was better music.
On the road, the S209 was surprisingly easy to drive. We happened to get the car during the recent heavy rainstorms and the local raceway is all set up for Holiday Lights, so we didn't get to open it up the way we'd like to. But we can tell you that the engine lives up to its promise, and Subaru's all-wheel-drive system works very well to put all that power to the pavement.
The price tag on this limited edition STI is $63,995. That's a big pill to swallow, but if you want the most outrageous STI on the market, that's the price of admission.
2019 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S209
Base price: $63,995
Price as tested: $63,995
Type: Compact hatchback
Engine: 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer (341 hp, 330 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 6-speed manual
EPA estimated mileage: 15/21
Overall length: 181.8 inches
Curb weight: 3,485 pounds
Final assembly: Kiryu, Japan
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