R205, S206, S207, and S208 – these are just four of the special-edition WRX STIs that Subaru Tecnica International did not offer in the United Kingdom. While those were a JDM-only affair, things will be different with the upcoming S209. Teased yet again ahead of its debut at NAIAS in Detroit, the new limited-run version of the high-performance S-badge saloon will be sold exclusively in the US.
The latest teaser image is also the most revealing to date as Subaru through its go-faster STI division has removed the camouflage to show off the muscular wings of the S209 with bulging wheel arches denoting it’s not just a regular WRX STI. Canards at the corners of the front bumper can be noticed, as well as a big wing at the back reminiscent of the Type RA special edition.
Gallery: Subaru Impreza WRX STI Detroit teaser video
Subaru has been coy on details about the new S209, but it’s safe to say the hardcore saloon will come with a nice power bump and could perhaps go on a diet. Its predecessor, the aforementioned S208 launched in 2017 in Japan, had an extra 28 bhp and 24 pound-feet over the regular WRX STI for a total of 324 bhp and 319 lb-ft.
Limited to 450 examples, the S208 also boasted a custom cooling system controlled via a steering wheel-mounted paddle to spray water onto the intercooler. Other goodies included Brembo calipers, an adjustable front and fixed rear suspension setup from Bilstein, drilled rotors, different subframe, and some other upgrades.
We’re expecting a similar array of tweaks for the new S209, though we’ll have to wait until January 14 to find out all the juicy details. Bear in mind Subaru just launched another regional special edition by introducing the Diamond Edition in South Africa with 349 bhp, thus making it the most powerful WRX STI ever. It remains to be seen whether the S209 will match that output.