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2020 Subaru WRX STI S209 Prototype First Drive Review

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2020 Subaru WRX STI S209 Prototype First Drive Review

We’re about 70 miles southwest of Tokyo on the grounds of Fuji Worldwide Speedway. Yoshihide Yano places his hand on the camouflaged carbon fiber roof of the 2020 Subaru WRX STI S209 prototype we’re about to drive and smiles. “It will by no means make a enterprise case,” says the assistant supervisor of Subaru’s North America Enterprise Planning Division. “We do not need to make greater than 250. The extra we make, the extra money we lose.”

From the wince of his co-staff, Yano is clearly off the script, however his assertion is not an enormous shock. Constructing the STI S209 is difficult and time-consuming, with most of its in depth engine, suspension and aerodynamic modifications being put in by hand at STI’s small off-website headquarters simply outdoors Toyko. Based in 1988, Subaru Technica Worldwide is the automaker’s motorsports division and employs solely one hundred twenty individuals. It may possibly produce simply two automobiles a day.

And why not exhibit your quickest road car ever on Fuji’s world-class 2.eight-mile street course? Particularly at the moment, whereas the monitor is packed for its annual STI Motorsports Day, a yearly pilgrimage for the model’s trustworthy. The place is flooded with WRXs, BRZs, and fashions we do not get in America just like the Levorg STI Sport, a scorching rod model of its mid-size wagon.

Though STI’s new Tremendous GT and Nürburgring race automobiles are making scorching laps on the primary circuit, our drive of the inexplicably camouflaged S209 (which was absolutely revealed on the Detroit Auto Present) is on a small half-mile street course tucked away in a distant nook of Fuji’s large acreage. And we get simply three laps.

STI’s S-Line of automobiles have been the model’s most succesful machines because the S201 launched in 2000, however the S209 would be the first S-Line mannequin bought in america – and solely in america, for that matter. It’s going to even be the primary S-Line WRX that will not be powered by a modified model of the model’s venerable EJ20 engine household, which Subaru launched in 1989. The corporate says the EJ20 can’t meet emissions and make greater than 300 horsepower on our low-octane fuel. The repair for this can be a model of the turbocharged EJ25 collection, which has powered each U.S.-spec WRX STI since we acquired it in 2003.

To create the S209, STI’s engineers began by mixing collectively sure elements from each the S208 and the 310-hp WRX STI RA Subaru bought in America final yr. The S209’s Recaro seats and carbon-fiber roof are shared with the RA and are put in on the meeting line together with the S208’s Alcantara-coated steering wheel.

2020 Subaru WRX STI S2092020 Subaru WRX STI S2092020 Subaru WRX STI S209

The two.5-liter’s redline is 7,200 rpm, simply as within the RA, and its compression ratio stays eight.1:1, however STI has elevated energy with a bigger turbo for extra increase, a excessive-movement air consumption that has 5-% larger diameter, and 20-% extra fueling because of a better move fuel pump and new injectors. Increase will increase from sixteen.2 psi within the Sort RA to 18 psi right here, and STI matches stronger cast pistons and connecting rods on the manufacturing unit to deal with the extra energy.

Subaru claims 341 hp at 6,four hundred rpm and 330 lb-ft of torque at three,600 rpm, which is a heck of much more than both the Sort RA or the S208 kicked out. The Sort RA was good for 310 hp and 290 lb-ft, and the S208 was a bit stronger with 324 hp and 319 lb-ft. That stated, the S209 numbers are provisional, as a result of, as Yano is fast to level out, the S209’s certification continues to be pending with the EPA for mpg, emissions and OBDII.

On the tight half-mile monitor, it pulls strongly from about three,000 rpm to redline and makes use of second, third, and fourth gears managing ninety mph in fourth on the finish of the temporary entrance straight. It is about the identical velocity we obtain within the greater-revving S208 in third gear.

Would Be Quicker With an Automated

Subaru does not supply a zero-60 mph time for the S209 as testing is ongoing, however Hasegawa says will probably be the quickest Subaru ever and he hopes for a time beneath four.5 seconds. That might be greater than a second faster than the STI RA.

Though Hasegawa says this won’t be the final STI to get a guide transmission, he admits the car can be even faster in addition to quicker round a race monitor with an automated, twin clutch or in any other case. The S209’s prime-mount intercooler is one other piece of legacy engineering STI’s engineers want to change however cannot due to value and different company realities. A bigger entrance mount unit can be far more environment friendly and permit engineers to seek out extra energy.

2020 Subaru WRX STI S209

A partial band-help for this challenge is the S209’s intercooler water spray system, which is put in by STI and activated by steering wheel paddle shifters. Sadly we did not get to test its advantages throughout our very temporary test drive.

STI additionally installs the S209’s aero package deal, which makes use of the identical giant adjustable rear spoiler because the RA together with new rocker spoilers and low rear underspoilers behind the rear tires. The vents behind the rear tires, which STI says launch strain within the wheel properly, are from the S208 Nürburgring Version. Subaru says the S209 has extra downforce however refused to get extra particular.

STI’s engineering workforce had examined the S208 extensively on the Nürburgring however did not return to the notorious German circuit with the S209. As an alternative, the sedan was examined at Virginia Worldwide Raceway as a result of it’s the location used for Automotive and Driver’s Lightning Lap competitors. “It is 5 seconds quicker round VIR than the RA,” says an organization rep.

2020 Subaru WRX STI S209

What actually units the S209 aside visually are its fender flares, which cowl its wider 265/35R19 Dunlop Sport Maxx GT600A Summer time tires and 19×9-inch BBS wheels. The tires are 10mm wider than the S208s and 20mm wider than the tires on the RA. The rear flares are plastic, however the fronts are metal and stamped into the S209’s distinctive entrance fenders together with small useful vents to ease underhood temperatures.

In accordance with Subaru, that each one provides as much as three,485 lbs, which is ninety lbs greater than an NA and about one hundred fifty lbs greater than an S208.

Straightforward to Drive Very Shortly

New brake pads with extra chew and improved fade resistance are additionally put in by STI. Stiffer Bilstein dampers are paired with springs with 18 lbs of further price, and strong pillow ball rear suspension bushings improve response. The steering is identical because the U.S.-spec WRX STI and RA with a thirteen.three:1 ratio. STI thinks the S208’s eleven:1 ratio is just too fast and darty for America’s larger interstate speeds.

To stiffen the physique, STI provides versatile entrance and rear strut tower braces, which add rigidity, but in addition have a damping impact that STI says helps maintain the S209’s tires planted. “We do not actually care that a lot about consolation,” says Yano. “However we do need to hold the tires on the bottom for extra grip.”

On the monitor the S209 turns with extra immediacy than U.S.-spec STI, and feels prefer it has significantly extra stick. It turns in properly on the brakes, and with its middle differential in auto there’s only a contact of understeer on the restrict to maintain it settled.

2020 Subaru WRX STI S2092020 Subaru WRX STI S2092020 Subaru WRX STI S209

There all the time appears to be sufficient grip even in case you think you’ve got entered the nook with an excessive amount of velocity. It takes a impartial set on the facility and by no means feels prefer it’s getting away from you. The suspension is compliant over the monitor’s tall curbing, which do not upset its stability and throw the sedan off its line.

STI says one of many objectives for the S209 was to realize a car that responds to the driving force’s will. It is easy to leap in and shove the car round. You get the sensation that when you had extra time to study the car and despatched extra energy to the rear tires with the adjustable differential, you would pitch it into corners and slide it round on the facility. After our three arduous laps, the brakes are smoking however the pedal continues to be agency and the chew continues to be there. We take a calm down lap and pull onto pit street.

Though the Scooby crowd purchased up these RAs, the car was rightly criticized for its infinitesimal efficiency improve – and large price improve – over a standard STI. With the S209, Subaru and STI are about to redeem themselves. Although the S209 shall be costlier than the RA, the restricted run of 250 automobiles can be considerably faster than each WRX STI that has come earlier than, deal with higher, be simpler to drive, and seem like the king of its species with these correctly bulging fender flares. And the whole lot is best with correctly bulging fender flares. America is lastly getting the best WRX Subaru and STI can construct, and it will be well worth the wait.

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– 2020 Subaru WRX STI S209 Prototype First Drive Review –

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