Subaru Tecnica International (STI) will reveal the limited-edition STI S209 at NAIAS

Wheels.ca | Matthew Guy | 12/28/2018

The Japanese company best known for all-wheel drive crossovers appears set to imbue its showrooms with a dose of sportiness next year.

Subaru announced today that the company’s skunkworks Subaru Tecnica International (STI) will reveal the limited-edition STI S209 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 14th.

Little more than that brief sentence and the teaser image shown above were given by Subaru today, however we are not bereft of information. Historically, S-tuned vehicles from the company’s hothouse have featured upgraded engines, hotter turbos, and stiffer suspensions. Oh yeah – they’ve also been only available in Japan, meaning the vehicle set to be shown in Detroit will be the first time one of STI’s S-series machines has been offered in North America.

A teaser video was published last week showing what appears to be a camouflaged WRX STI tearing around a racetrack. Wearing a tall wing and front splitter, could this possibly be the car in which Subaru is finally bringing their 2.0L direct-injected turbo motor to North America? See video

This mystery machine isn’t the only STI news from Subaru. The annual Tokyo Auto Salon (think SEMA for Japan) in January will see a Forester STI concept on the company’s stand. Painted in tough-guy Fighter Gray with 19-inch wheels, the new-look Forester cuts quite a stance although it doesn’t have a hood scoop like the old Forester XT. Various aero addenda amplify the visual aggression.

In addition to that rig, the company also tossed some STI strands of DNA at a copy of the JDM Impreza wagon. No word was given about performance upgrades but, like the Forester concept, it has gained body kit flourishes to juice up its styling features. Centrally mounted twin exhaust tips poke out from the rear bumper, while both the roof and wheels have been hit with a contrasting shade of dark paint.

In you feel the need to whip out a dose of car-related trivia at the dinner table, recall that Subaru Tecnica International Inc. (STI) is actually a subsidiary of Subaru, established to undertake motorsport activities within the company. With the confirmed announcement of the S209 for Detroit and the STI-ified Forester and Impreza for Japan, there’s a very good chance the company’s performance arm will have a bigger presence in Subaru showrooms than it has in years past. Pouring some of the profits it is making from record sales in North America into performance versions of its vehicles would be a great love letter to the brand faithful.

Look for the S209 on January 14th in Detroit and the Forester/Impreza STI concepts in Japan a couple of days prior.