Sunday, December 25, 2011

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206

We almost don't want to tell you about the new Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206. Why? Because it's the fastest, best-handling WRX Subaru's STI division has ever produced, but you can't buy it in the U.S. It's yet another special STI limited edition built exclusively for Japanese domestic consumption.

Subaru's tuning department takes its STI "S" series very seriously, something we witnessed at the recent Tokyo Motor Show when it revealed the new S206 with its eye-popping spec sheet. There's more than a decade of history in the top-shelf S series, starting from the radical-looking S201 to the gutsy S204, and the extreme R205. We've driven them all and been suitably impressed with every car. But the S206 takes "S" to a whole new level.
Powering the S206 is a version of Subie's turbocharged 2.0-liter boxer from the WRX STI. Horsepower has been bumped from 305 hp to 316 hp while torque increases from 290 lb-ft to 318 lb-ft. The engine is hand-built, with pistons, connecting rods, and crankshaft all meticulously balanced before assembly. The secret to the S206's improved performance comes from the newly fitted low friction, twin-scroll ball-bearing turbo, a remapped ECU, and a low back pressure exhaust system that boosts low- to mid-range torque.
Built off of the outgoing WRX STI platform, the S206's suspension gets specially fitted inverted Bilstein dampers, STI coil springs, and a flexible front strut tower brace, while those 19-inch rims are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sports rubber (245/35ZR19), highlighting huge six-piston Brembo calipers with drilled rotors.

As we launch ourselves out of the blocks, the S206 feels at once poised and ready for any right boot extension. And any corner. Switching the VDC to S# for maximum throttle response, and with the updated DCCD (driver controlled center differential) left in normal mode, we gun the boxer engine in first and second to record a stopwatch-timed 0-60 mph sprint of around 4.5 seconds.
Compared to the current WRX STI, the S206 displays beefier torque between 3200 and 4400 rpm -- where you need most for quicker cornering exits. But as Tatsumi says, "this torque curve also makes it easier to putter round town as well." Right, but that's not what we're here for.
2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206
BASE PRICE $76,000 (est)
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door, sedan
ENGINE ENGINES 2.0L/316-hp /318-lb-ft, turbocharged, DOHC, flat-4
WHEELBASE 103.3 in
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 180.3 x 70.7 x 57.9 in
0-60 MPH 4.5 sec (MT est)
EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON 24.5 mpg (Japan est)
ON SALE IN U.S. Japan domestic market only (unfortunately)

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