Hotter Subaru WRX STI teased ahead of 2019 Detroit auto show debut

The S209 is coming to America. Subaru on Thursday teased a hotter WRX STI variant ahead of its debut at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

While Subaru did not confirm the S209 name, the teaser follows a trademark application for the name, which surfaced just Tuesday. In the teaser video, the brand says something special from STI is headed to America for the first time “from Japan with love.”

S20 special edition WRX STI models have launched in Japan this entire decade. In 2011, Subaru produced the WRX STI S206; in 2015, the S207 bowed; and last year, Subaru released the S208. Each model was limited to only a few hundred cars. The S209 would be the natural progression after last year’s S208, which boasted 324 horsepower instead of the regular WRX STI’s 310 hp.

Subaru WRX STI S208

Subaru WRX STI S208

The last two Japan-only specials also featured a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer-4 engine instead of the 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer-4 Subaru uses in North America.

If the S209 is anything like the S208, we should expect numerous improvements in the name of performance. Last year’s S208 model featured a retuned steering rack, adjustable Bilstein dampers, 19-inch BBS wheels, a carbon-fiber roof, and a few other carbon-fiber components. A massive wing at the rear finished off the changes.

Subaru WRX STI S208

Subaru WRX STI S208

The latest special-edition WRX STI will also follow the American market 2018 WRX STI Type RA, which featured modestly more power and less weight.

The video above hardly shows off what we can expect from the S209 since the car is covered in a camouflage wrap, but it plays up the model’s racer charm. We can easily spot a massive rear wing and front dive planes on the car in the video. The wing falls in line with the S208’s style, and the dive planes could be an additional bit of race car-style aerodynamic trickery.

We’ll have all the details soon on the hotter WRX STI next month when the 2019 Detroit auto show opens Jan.14. To learn about some of the other vehicles set to appear, head to our dedicated hub.

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