2018 Subaru WRX STI S208
Special edition WRX STI follows in the footsteps of the S207by Kirby Garlitos, on LISTEN 08:04
Subaru is going all-out at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. It’s bringing three “concept” cars to show off design plans for the future. It’s bringing a special edition BRZ that’s been infused with STI know-how. It’s also bringing the WRX STI S208, a special edition version of the performance sedan that’s dripping in aesthetic and aerodynamic upgrades. It, too, is limited to just 450 units and will be only be sold in Japan, but that’s ok because we do have something of similar ilk in the form of the WRX STI Type RA.
Most of the improvements featured in the S208 revolve around the goal of making the sedan lighter and more powerful than its predecessor, the S207 that Subaru released in limited quantities (only 400 units) back in 2015. It does look like the automaker accomplished that goal because it’s touting the S208 as having an “improved engine output” compared to the S207, among other notable features. As far as a release date is concerned, there’s been no indication of that from Subaru, though we can at least expect to hear more details about the new performance sedan when it makes its debut in Tokyo next month.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Subaru WRX STI S208
2018 Subaru WRX STI S208
What makes the Subaru WRX STI S208 special
If you’re the type who enjoys the experience of driving a Subaru WRX STI, the limited edition S208 is going to be a must-have vehicle. Not only does it receive plenty of stylistic enhancements, it also gets important aero bits that provide needed improvements to the performance sedan’s driving credentials. Before we get too caught up in what these changes could mean for the car, let’s dive first into what the upgrades actually are.
The exterior of the car received a good amount of them, none more important it seems than the roof, which is now made entirely from carbon fiber
The exterior of the car received a good amount of them, none more important it seems than the roof, which is now made entirely from carbon fiber. Care to venture a guess why Subaru decided to go the carbon fiber roof route for the S208? All in the name of weight savings, folks! Compare the standard WRX STI with the S208 and you’ll also notice a few subtle tweaks, including the presence of a front lip spoiler on the latter, a different configuration for the air intakes, and a blacked out wheels and mirror caps, and a massive rear spoiler at the back.
There is one photo of the S208’s interior and while it doesn’t reveal much, we do get a good look at the black sports bucket seats with white trim and the predominantly black interior to go along with it. That’s about it.
Since this is a Japan-exclusive, the S208 is expected to have the same 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer engine sitting underneath that hood
Now about the engine. Since this is a Japan-exclusive, the S208 is expected to have the same 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer engine sitting underneath that hood. The only difference is that the limited edition model will pack more power compared its predecessor. Subaru hasn’t said the actual figures, but let the S207’s output serve as a guide on what we can at least expect out of the S208. The 2015 limited edition carried 323 horsepower and 328 pound-feet of torque, an increase of around 20 horsepower and close to 30 pound-feet of torque over the standard model at that time. Using those numbers as a baseline, expect the S208 to have somewhere in the vicinity of 350 horsepower and around the same amount of torque. Perhaps around 360 pound-feet? Either way, the WRX STI S208 isn’t arriving in Japan to be a sheepish excuse of a performance sedan. It’s arriving ready to unleash holy hell on whoever gets in its way.
Expect the S208 to have somewhere in the vicinity of 350 horsepower and around the same amount of torque
Last, but certainly not least, is the work on the sedan’s suspension - something that Subaru and STI worked together to improve in order to get the most out of the car’s driving capabilities. The S208 is not going to be the most powerful car in the world, but what it lacks in outright straight-line speed, it should more than make up for in top-shelf cornering.
Power aside, what was the WRX STI S207 like?
I’ve mentioned the Subaru WRX STI S207 a handful of times already, but here’s for a few bits of information about the car for those who still aren’t familiar with it. In addition to what I’ve already mentioned, the S207 was also offered with a choice of four colors: Crystal Black Silica, Crystal White Peal, WR Blue Perl, or Sunrise Yellow. The last of these colors - Sunrise Yellow - was limited to just 100 units of the 400 total units of the S207.
Aesthetics aside, the WRX STI S207 also received Bilstein front struts, rear dampers and coil springs, a new mesh front grille, larger front under-spoiler, metallic side sill moldings, and a new rear bumper. The interior also received goodies of its own, including a unique instrument panel, an engine switch button, shift knob, and revised Recaro heated front bucket seats.
Just like the S208 that’s come after it, the S207 was also a Japan-exclusive.
Customers in the US aren’t left out, right?
Well, we’re not getting the S208, but we did receive the WRX STI Type RA, a different special edition take for the WRX STI that included numerous upgrades, including a power bump courtesy of a new cold air intake, a high flow performance exhaust, beefier pistons, and a remapped ECU.
Before we talk about all that technical wizardry, it’s important to mention that the Type RA was also the recipient of aesthetic and aerodynamic upgrades like Cherry Blossom Red accents around the front grille and the rear bumper cover, along with an STI under spoiler mounted at the front. In addition, the badges, side mirror caps, and antenna have been painted in black. It also received Recaro seats in the interior and individually numbered plaques on the center console that denote the a specific unit’s place among the 500 units that Subaru built of the special edition sedan.
Now about that power upgrade. Since the WRX STI Type RA is a US release, it came with a bigger 2.5-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine. That said, its output only reached 310 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque, slightly lower than the figures achieved by the S207 from 2015. Worse, the Type RA was even overshadowed by the WRX STI Type RA NBR Special, a race-spec version that featured a 2.0-liter turbo boxer unit that was good for a staggering 600 horsepower. This was the same model that plowed the Nurburgring on its way to a lap time of 6:57.5-lap time, besting the Porsche Panamera Turbo by a ridiculous 41 seconds.
Read our full review on the Subaru STI S207.
Read our full review on the Subaru WRX STI.
Read our full review on the Subaru Type RA NBR Special.