In a world where hot hatches are producing more horsepower than supercars twenty years ago, I do wonder what the point of this new, extremely powerful Subaru STI S209 is. But then I remembered. Hot hatches don’t sell in the US, and guess where the 100 limited editions of this car is being sold? The US.

That makes sense then. So let’s for a moment forget these hot hatches exist, and focus on what is the most powerful Subaru STI ever produced. Up from the previous model’s 296bhp, this 341bhp saloon boasts a larger STI turbo designed by none other than HKS. It’s also been turned up a notch to 18psi from its previous 16.2. To cope with this added pressure on the powerplant, the 2.5-litre EJ25 now embraces forged pistons and con-rods too, resulting in a blissful increase in torque – 10% more than before.

More power isn’t where it stops for this legendary name, though. There’s now limited-slip differentials at both ends of the all-wheel drive system. Coupled with the DCCD (Driver-Controlled Centre Differential), it won’t be anything of an issue to put the increased power to the tarmac. Greasy or not, corner or straight. this car can handle what you will be throwing at it. You have complete control over where the power is sent. But this isn’t where the customisation stops.

There are three driving modes to choose from: Intelligent allows for the car to choose depending on your driving style. This is the daily driver setting for the majority of you. Sport mode tightens up the throttle and allows for heightened performance, and Sport Sharp (Sport#) turns everything to 11. Even Subaru think this is too much, urging drivers to stick to Sport mode on track for “greater driving control”.

Control is certainly available with a closely geared six-speed manual, but more importantly, the car has an intercooler water spray system straight from the likes of the 2004-07 Impreza. That will make the die-hard fans of the rally legend very happy.

Add on a high-flow intake system, high-flow fuel pump, larger injectors an STI-fettled ECU, and a large performance exhaust, and we’ve covered the entirety of what’s responsible for the high power levels. Pull away from under the bonnet however, and you’ll see a myriad of changes to the body, too.

You’ve probably noticed it’s wider. And you’re right, by 43mm. And the rubber, 265/35/19 SP Sport Maxx GT600As, sit proudly and fat in their extended wheel wells. These tyres have been specifically produced for the car by Dunlop, and when pushed to their limits can create 1G’s worth of lateral force. Of course, a partnership with firmer Bilstein dampers helps massively, plus a new 20mm rear anti-roll bar and a flexible tower bar.

Subaru really have touched everything they can in this car, so of course they’re not going to forget about the brakes hiding behind the historic gold wheels. They’re cross-drilled steel rotors with big Brembo brakes strapped parallel – six pistons worth at each front corner and two at each rear. Of course, these have been paired with high-friction, fade-resisting brake pads.

This has been a long and wordy article on the new Subaru. But don’t let that put you off. It is a testament to the changes the Japanese company has made to this car, those being extremely impressive. What may also be extremely impressive is the size of the price tag. Unfortunately, that part will be released later in the year…

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