Not even a week after Subaru files a US trademark for S209, a new teaser video shows what seems to be a fancy version of the WRX STI coming to America for the first time.
We know we’re not supposed to say anything is a sure thing, but we’re just going to call it right here and now: Subaru is bringing the very first S-spec WRX STI to the United States at next month’s Detroit Auto Show.
Let’s break down the evidence. First, we have earlier reports of Subaru of American trademarking the name “S209” at the USPTO for use on “automobiles and structural parts and structural fittings therefor,” as well as floor mats.
The floor mats part we can safely ignore, other than expect to get a set of fancy new floor mats when the S209 eventually goes on sale. The important bit is the name, which describes the best of the best that Subaru has ever made but previously only sold in their domestic Japanese market.
Last year’s S208 model was limited to just 450 examples and came with a tuned version of the 2.0-L turbo boxer engine that is only sold in Japan. It produces 329 hp and 319 lb-ft of torque, which is a lot better than the 310 hp and 290 lb-ft that the American version gets. It also came with a carbon fiber roof, Recaro racing seats, bigger Brembo brakes, stronger Bilstein shocks, and a neat-lookin’ rear wing that harkens back to the import-tuner heyday of the late ‘90s and early 2000s.
But they never sold them in the US. Every single S-spec STI from S201 all the way to S208 has been for Japan and Japan only.
Not anymore. A new teaser video on Subaru of America’s Facebook page says that: "Something special from Subaru Tecnica International is coming to America for the first time ever.” Then it lists the date of the Detroit Auto Show and its official hashtag.
The clincher is the car itself, which although wearing camouflage, has distinctive S-features that you can compare favorably to the S208.
The question is not whether an S209 will come to America. The question is actually what will be under the hood. As Motor Trend points out, all previous S-spec STIs have been made with the Japanese 2.0-L EJ207 engine, but the American version of the STI has the 2.5-L EJ257. Enthusiasts are demanding that America gets the same version as Japan, which even though a smaller size, magically produces more power than the 2.5-L does.
We’ll have to wait and see, of course, but there’s plenty of time for info to leak before the middle of next month.