Reminder of the motorsports heritage behind the Pleiades.
Subaru might be busy tarting up crossovers and hatchbacks for the Tokyo Auto Salon, but beyond that, there’s more that the brand is working on. It’s easy to forget in this day and age of XVs and Foresters that the Subaru brand was one that proved its mettle in motorsport, with few names conjuring as much respect as ‘WRX.’
After TAS comes the Detroit Auto Show on January 14th and for that, Subaru appears to be working on something a little mental as a swan-song to the current-generation WRX. Through a teaser film, featuring a thoroughly-camouflaged Subaru WRX with a goalpost of a rear wing and decidedly-gold alloys, a more hardcore variant of the brand’s legendary performance car is seen hooning itself around the Virginia International Raceway.
Subaru says that the camo-ed car is coming “from Japan with love,” and it’ll be “coming to America for the first time ever.” This lends weight to the assumption that the car in the film is in fact an ’S’ series of WRX, previously reserved primarily for the Japanese market (with only a handful officially sold elsewhere), which works in concert with a trademark filing by the company earlier this year to keep the ‘S209’ badge to itself.
The previous ’S’ variant was the WRX STi S208, which debuted at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show sporting quite the range of upgrades. With 242kW on tap from the turbocharged flat-four 2.0-litre, the S208 also featured Bilstein DampMatic II dampers, torque vectoring on both axles, a front strut tower brace and quicker steering. For the eyes, the S208 got things like a large front spoiler, a larger rear spoiler (in carbon-fibre of course), and 19-inch BBS forged alloys (in black). The cabin got Recaro bucket seats too.
Only 450 S208s were made, with all but 100 of them getting NBR Challenge Package options applied to them to mark Subaru’s victory at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring the year before. Those cars got an additional dry-carbon roof and a larger-still rear wing.
But that’s the Subaru WRX STi S208. We can only imagine the S209 for the US market to be more potent, more pointy, and even more leery. And for what it’s worth, we already approve of the gold wheels.