Subaru has unveiled the STI S209, its most powerful model yet made, according to the brand.
The S209, a US-only halo model for its WRX STI hot hatch, has upgrades in power, handling, aerodynamics and driver engagement, said Subaru.
It is the first time an STI S model has been available in the US market. The S designation first showed up in 2000 on a special-edition Impreza model, the S201, while an S208 model was unveiled last year. However, they were only available in Japan.
The S209 is developed by Subaru Tecnica International, the car maker’s wholly owned performance arm. Subaru said it is inspired by the WRX STI Nürburgring Challenge race car, which won the SP3T class at the 2018 24 Hours of Nürburgring.
The Audi RS3 rival uses a heavily reworked version of Subaru’s well-known 2.5-litre boxer engine with a large turbo, delivering 336bhp. No more figures have been released.
Power is driven through the six-speed manual gearbox to all four wheels via Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system.
There are also new front and rear limited-slip differentials along with a driver-controlled centre differential, plus a new torque vectoring system.
Improved aerodynamics allow for higher cornering speeds and an additional 1g of lateral grip, according to Subaru.
The limited-run model of 200 units will go on sale in late 2019.
There are two paint colours: white and blue, a bespoke wheel design and a carbonfibre roof.
Subaru STI president Yoshio Hirakawa said: “What makes STI unique is its philosophy. What’s behind the wheel is as important as what’s under the hood. STI vehicles provide speed with performance and enjoyment.”
He continued: “For STI, the S model represents our highest level of technical performance. It is our halo model.”