Finally, America gets something Japan can’t have. We’re talking about the Subaru WRX STI S209, a U.S.-exclusive road rocket that celebrates 30 years of the STI brand. We drove a camouflaged example at Japan’s Fuji Short Track and found it to have unbelievable levels of grip thanks to wide tires and a flexible tower brace.
As the most powerful Subaru STI street model and the first S model to ever be sold on our shores, the S209’s 2.5-liter turbo-four cranks out 341 horsepower. The S209 comes with a bevy of other performance equipment, such as a low-restriction exhaust, a redesigned intake system, and a lighter flywheel. It’ll put down a zero-to-60 time of less than five seconds.
An intercooler water-spray system is also part of the package. Drivers can give a steering wheel-mounted paddle a tug to quickly lower the engine intake temperatures and temporarily boost power. Six-piston Brembo front brakes and two-piston rears take care of deceleration. Subaru will only produce 200 units of the S209, making it even more desirable for fans of the brand.
Subaru knows better than to mess with what works, and as such its latest debuts have been gradual, well-executed evolutions of two of its core models. That’s right, during the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, the 2020 Subaru Legacy crossed the stage. The seventh-generation midsize sedan will ride on Subaru’s new architecture, dubbed the Subaru Global Platform.
The 2020 Legacy receives some premium standard equipment, such as torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist safety technology, and a huge 11.6-inch infotainment screen. Power comes from a 2.5-liter inline-four producing 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque in the base, Premium, Sport, and Limited models. The top-of-the-line Limited XT and Touring XT models receive a much more enticing powerplant, a 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four that churns out 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque.
This is all wrapped in fairly ordinary bodywork, as the Legacy’s styling remains fairly staid compared to competitors like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Subaru equipped the sedan with active grille shutters to help with fuel economy on the base engine, resulting in a relatively impressive 27/35-mpg city/highway EPA rating.
Subaru is also staying true to lovers of lifted wagons with its new 2020 Subaru Outback, which we recently drove. Although the body panels are all-new, the Outback retains similar styling to the outgoing model, but its chassis updates deliver better handling. There’s more tech to go around in the new Outback. Like the Legacy, a whopping 11.6-inch touchscreen dominates the dash in every model except the base car. However, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard across the lineup, as is the EyeSight bundle of safety features. It’s also available with up to four USB ports and two standard 12-volt power outlets.
Finally, the Impreza will also be refreshed soon, and the Japanese version of the updated car has been revealed. You can see what to expect from the refreshed 2020 Impreza here.
On Sale: WRX STI S209: Late 2019; Legacy: Fall 2019; Outback: Fall 2019
Base Price: WRX STI S209: $55,000 (est); Legacy: $23,000 (est); Outback: $27,000 (est)