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Old 12-06-2019, 03:56 PM   #1
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Default STI homologation in the US

https://jalopnik.com/why-the-2019-su...-in-1838499631

Why The 2019 Subaru STI S209 Is A Pain To Even Sell In America

Justin T. Westbrook
12/5/19

The 2019 Subaru STI S209 may just look like a modified Subaru sedan on the outside, but it’s technically a product of STI, Subaru’s motorsports division. When STI went to homologate the car to our crash and emissions regulations separately from Subaru, it faced one setback: the U.S. government couldn’t wrap its head around what exactly the car was supposed to be.

The STI S209 is a heavily modified version of the 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA, which itself was a modified version of the regular 2018 Subaru WRX STI. It’s the latest in a series of what Subaru and its motorsports division, STI, refer to as “S-cars,” which are modified performance versions of Subaru’s street cars.

Until now, S-cars have never been exported and were only ever sold in the Japanese market, the most recent being the S208 back in 2017. Because of the heavy modifications, those cars were always deemed too difficult and costly to certify for sale in the U.S., so we’ve been missing out.

But with demands for a more powerful STI coming from the U.S. and strong sales of the current standard WRX STI, Subaru bit the bullet and certified its latest limited edition performance street car, the S209, for the American market—but it was far from easy.

Earlier this year, Subaru paid for my lodging and nourishment to drive the production version of the S209 around Palmer Motorsports Park; you can read more about that here. There, Subaru revealed just how complicated a process it was to actually sell the car in this country.

According to Subaru, certain federal organizations that have to approve and certify production cars for sale in the U.S. were confused about what exactly “STI” is.

Here’s why it was so confusing: There’s Subaru, the automaker which has sold cars in the U.S. for decades, then there’s the Subaru WRX STI model, a version of the regular Subaru WRX sedan that is, we’ll say, moderately tuned by Subaru’s motorsports division and already homologated for sale in the U.S. as a Subaru. Then there is STI itself, which stands for Subaru Tecnica International and is the name of said motorsports division, which considers itself mostly separate from Subaru in its operations.

And now there’s the STI S209, a modified version of the WRX STI which isn’t technically assembled on the same production line as the Subaru model it’s based on, but instead is corporately considered a product of STI and assembled in a separate STI facility, not by Subaru proper. Evidently that was all initially confusing for the government to get straight. (Note: The S209 starts life on Subaru's WRX STI production line and is then shipped off & "sold" to STI once it's completed. STI then finishes hand tuning the S209 by adding things like the wheels, chassis stiffeners, etc. I am confused why they can't modify the assembly line to install strut tower bars, draw stiffeners, etc. for mass production..)



Homologating a car in the U.S., as Subaru pointed out to journalists in its presentation, takes millions of dollars and requires full certification from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Air Resources Board for the states that follow those emissions rules.

Each certification requires individual extensive testing, including emissions testing, physical crash testing, durability testing, and there are usually few exceptions made for cars that are only intended to be sold in small volumes, like the limited edition S209. It’s all a very exhaustive and expensive process with hundreds of tests.

That’s why, most of the time, homologation is only done for cars that sell in the thousands of units, or for limited models that are sold at extremely high prices to cover the disproportionate certification costs.

But STI is only manufacturing 209 examples of the S209 at a price of $63,995, making it the most expensive Subaru ever sold in the U.S., and even then it’s still probably not enough to make up the cost of certifying the car.

Subaru glossed over the rest of the process, but STI reps did tell me they actually had to crash test the S209. It is extremely similar to cars that have already been through the crash testing process and it is a low volume of production, but as far as the government sees it, certain changes to the front of the car may have altered its crash profile.

This included upgrades like the front suspension and new 19-inch BBS wheels and Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT600A summer tires developed for the S209. (Jalopnik reached out to the NHTSA for more details on the S209 certification process, but after months of waiting, it still has not been able to provide more information.)

A source within the company with knowledge of the S209's emissions certification reached out to Jalopnik with more information on that part of the process, though. STI started with the S209 back in 2017, and the process was expected to take around 18 months but ended up taking closer to two years (which is still fairly reasonable).

Initially, STI tried to certify the car as an independent manufacturer. That proved to be next to impossible for STI due to certain rules from the EPA, and so STI had to turn to the Subaru homologation team and other resources for help.

This resulted in STI working with government organizations as a secondary manufacturer, similar to how Lexus is considered a secondary manufacturer to Toyota. Because of STI’s secondary manufacturer status, the S209 gets lumped into the Subaru lineup when it comes to fleet emissions requirements, etc., but allows STI to be listed as the main manufacturer of the car still.

With that, the S209 achieved homologation in the U.S., but it was a point of pride for the STI team that the car be known to come from them—it’s not just another Subaru.

STI executives, including Yoshio Hirakawa, the outgoing President of STI who spoke to me at the drive event, was proud that his organization achieved U.S. certification, and that it would be STI listed on the car’s certification labels inside the driver’s door, which you can see below:



So with the homologation of the S209, STI has established itself, in the eyes of the U.S. government, as its own entity, even if it’s ultimately still considered a secondary manufacturer to Subaru.

But now Subaru and STI have a deeper understanding of importing its best performance models to the U.S., and the government has a better understanding of what the hell Subaru Tecnica International is. Here’s hoping they don’t shy away from bringing us more fantastic toys in the near future.

Besides, the goal of a halo car is not to sell itself—it’s to sell everything else the company makes.

-Justin T. Westbrook
-Staff Writer, Jalopnik


Anyways.. lets try not to get this thread closed. Lets be excited for future S series models that we may receive in the US. It seems very unlikely that Subaru & STI would have went through all of this hassle for just one model.
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Old 12-06-2019, 04:39 PM   #2
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I'm not sure why "body kit, bigger rims, different turbo, different cat back, and supporting fuel system changes" was so hard to understand, but... Ok.
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:04 PM   #3
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The learning process for them is great. The final product is not. They didn't re-invent the wheel with the S209. BMW has managed to offer an ///M Sport model and an ///M model and a hopped up limited run ///M model for years now without all this fuss and confusion.

The car we got was a compromise because they didn't know how to do it. No seats no hand built engine no adaptive suspension because the cost would have gone way up to do all those things. Perhaps now people understand how costly it is for Audi BMW and Mercedes to bring their tuning division cars here and why they're so expensive. But in actuality they really are not expensive at all.
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:07 PM   #4
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Sorry, it still doesn't have forged pistons. But they are correct, it's like the ZL1 or ZR1, both designed to sell the lower models. Like I told a friend waiting on his GT500 allocation, Ford doesn't care about the owners of the car. The entire point of the GT500 is to sell more regular Mustangs and Mustang GT's. The S209 exists to sell more regular STI's.
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:07 PM   #5
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I think they pitched it that way rather than saying "it was a lot more expensive and time consuming than expected".

I'm sure complying with NHTSA, EPA, CARB, CAFE, etc. is a huge hassle.. especially since they chose to limit the production run to only 209 units. But a larger production run would be difficult if STI can truly only alter 2-3 cars a day. I'm sure there was a balance of delivery time, cost (manufacturing & homologation), and MSRP (factoring in production numbers vs premium for rarity).
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:26 PM   #6
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This is very interesting information. That is a lot of hassle to sell 209 cars. But why did Subaru need to do all of this to make STI a secondary manufacturer? Are they really planning a lineup of STI vehicles with significant changes?

So is BMW's M division and MB's AMG divisions listed as separate entities too?
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:46 PM   #7
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This is very interesting information. That is a lot of hassle to sell 209 cars. But why did Subaru need to do all of this to make STI a secondary manufacturer? Are they really planning a lineup of STI vehicles with significant changes?

So is BMW's M division and MB's AMG divisions listed as separate entities too?
Correct me if I'm wrong those cars aren't sent to different facilities from the regular production line cars they start with to become M and AMG ...M cars are part of BMW's regular production assembly lines....I.E...in house....AMG used to be independent but that hasn't been the case for awhile...both of those brands are mass produced(AMG has 50 different models for example), and if you throw a rock in a parking lot you'll probably hit an M car LOL. The STI is one car sent out and assembled at a different location than the rest of the Subaru line up. Its not a mashup of 50 different cars LOL...like the other brands.

The certification process proves the uniqueness and more importantly the PROVENANCE of the S209...its the only GENUINE STI ever sold in the U.S

worth every penny in my opinion.

And yes this isnt news Subaru announce in 2015 at the leguna Seca new Gen STI launch event that special models from the STI division would be sold in the U.S.
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:59 PM   #8
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I'm not sure why "body kit, bigger rims, different turbo, different cat back, and supporting fuel system changes" was so hard to understand, but... Ok.
its because they changed/added more than that, such as the chassis struts which could alter how the chassis behaves/collapses in an accident or the intercooler water spray tank in place of the spare structural changes like those need to be looked at to make sure that in an accident you and your passengers aren't going to be impaled by something coming through the firewall, floor or trunk....and those modifications aren't done on the regular production line....the final assembley of the S209 is done at a different location at the Subaru Technica International facility.

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Old 12-06-2019, 06:04 PM   #9
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its because they changed/added more than that, such as the chassis struts which could alter how the chassis behaves/collapses in an accident....and those modifications aren't done on the regular production line....the final assembley of the S209 is done at a different location at the STI facility.
Itís a lightly modified base STI with a poorly done body kit. The civic type R is more different from the base hatch than the s209 is from the base STI.

Feel free to ruin another thread though.
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:24 PM   #10
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AMG's engines like the M139 are hand-built with forged internals. They have a much more advanced assembly line than STI allowing them to produce 140 hand-built engines per day. The engines carry a plate with the signature of the assembly technician.

The M139 also has the highest specific output (HP/L) of any production 4 cylinder engine. 416 hp & 369 lb-ft from a 2.0L (1,991 cc) = 208.9 HP/L.

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Old 12-06-2019, 10:07 PM   #11
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AMG's engines like the M139 are hand-built with forged internals. They have a much more advanced assembly line than STI allowing them to produce 140 hand-built engines per day. The engines carry a plate with the signature of the assembly technician.



The M139 also has the highest specific output (HP/L) of any production 4 cylinder engine. 416 hp & 369 lb-ft from a 2.0L (1,991 cc) = 208.9 HP/L.



Mercedes-AMG M139 four-cylinder engine with 416 horsepower - YouTube


At the 4:57 mark the tech is installing a small rubber belt. Anyone else here think thatís a poor location for a rubber belt? I mean, the motorís going to have to come out to change that sucker. Probably going to be a maintenance item like timing belts....
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:08 PM   #12
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At the 4:57 mark the tech is installing a small rubber belt. Anyone else here think thatís a poor location for a rubber belt? I mean, the motorís going to have to come out to change that sucker. Probably going to be a maintenance item like timing belts....
pretty sure that's the oil pump drive...YIKES! If that breaks motor goes BOOM.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:21 PM   #13
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AMG's engines like the M139 are hand-built with forged internals. They have a much more advanced assembly line than STI allowing them to produce 140 hand-built engines per day. The engines carry a plate with the signature of the assembly technician.

The M139 also has the highest specific output (HP/L) of any production 4 cylinder engine. 416 hp & 369 lb-ft from a 2.0L (1,991 cc) = 208.9 HP/L.

Mercedes-AMG M139 four-cylinder engine with 416 horsepower - YouTube
Thanks for posting that. I don't think of modern lower end AMGs as particularly special, but that was a really special process.

Amazingly, that lovingly hand built engine will go into a car that's probably going to be $10,000 cheaper than the S209.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:39 PM   #14
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pretty sure that's the oil pump drive...YIKES! If that breaks motor goes BOOM.
the oil pump on an ej series engine is driven by a rubber belt and if that belt breaks, lots of things go boom with it.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:42 PM   #15
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That S209 Homologation information was awesome though. I dont know why its hard for the few in this thread to understand WHY the S209 needed certification....the added chassis struts and intercooler water tank in the spare tire well alone would need to be looked at to ensure that in an accident they couldn't injure the occupants in the car. As the first and only car assembled by Subaru Technica International to come to the U.S. Someone mentioned the type R being different from a base honda...but again they are missing the most important aspect of this homologation certification in that the Type R's are made in the honda factory. The S209 again has its final assembley by Subaru Technica International by hand at a different facility location then where the base STI final assembly happens. Theres a difference there.

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Old 12-06-2019, 11:56 PM   #16
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the oil pump on an ej series engine is driven by a rubber belt and if that belt breaks, lots of things go boom with it.
wrong. The oil pump is engineered with rotors that are driven by a machined "cam" on the crankshaft. As long as the crank turns the rotors turn. Your confusing the water pump being driven by the timing belt. The oil pump is not.

What does an AMG engine have to do with S209 Homologation anyway?
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Old 12-07-2019, 12:03 AM   #17
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https://jalopnik.com/why-the-2019-su...-in-1838499631

Why The 2019 Subaru STI S209 Is A Pain To Even Sell In America

Justin T. Westbrook
12/5/19

The 2019 Subaru STI S209 may just look like a modified Subaru sedan on the outside, but it’s technically a product of STI, Subaru’s motorsports division. When STI went to homologate the car to our crash and emissions regulations separately from Subaru, it faced one setback: the U.S. government couldn’t wrap its head around what exactly the car was supposed to be.

The STI S209 is a heavily modified version of the 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA, which itself was a modified version of the regular 2018 Subaru WRX STI. It’s the latest in a series of what Subaru and its motorsports division, STI, refer to as “S-cars,” which are modified performance versions of Subaru’s street cars.

Until now, S-cars have never been exported and were only ever sold in the Japanese market, the most recent being the S208 back in 2017. Because of the heavy modifications, those cars were always deemed too difficult and costly to certify for sale in the U.S., so we’ve been missing out.

But with demands for a more powerful STI coming from the U.S. and strong sales of the current standard WRX STI, Subaru bit the bullet and certified its latest limited edition performance street car, the S209, for the American market—but it was far from easy.

Earlier this year, Subaru paid for my lodging and nourishment to drive the production version of the S209 around Palmer Motorsports Park; you can read more about that here. There, Subaru revealed just how complicated a process it was to actually sell the car in this country.

According to Subaru, certain federal organizations that have to approve and certify production cars for sale in the U.S. were confused about what exactly “STI” is.

Here’s why it was so confusing: There’s Subaru, the automaker which has sold cars in the U.S. for decades, then there’s the Subaru WRX STI model, a version of the regular Subaru WRX sedan that is, we’ll say, moderately tuned by Subaru’s motorsports division and already homologated for sale in the U.S. as a Subaru. Then there is STI itself, which stands for Subaru Tecnica International and is the name of said motorsports division, which considers itself mostly separate from Subaru in its operations.

And now there’s the STI S209, a modified version of the WRX STI which isn’t technically assembled on the same production line as the Subaru model it’s based on, but instead is corporately considered a product of STI and assembled in a separate STI facility, not by Subaru proper. Evidently that was all initially confusing for the government to get straight. (Note: The S209 starts life on Subaru's WRX STI production line and is then shipped off & "sold" to STI once it's completed. STI then finishes hand tuning the S209 by adding things like the wheels, chassis stiffeners, etc. I am confused why they can't modify the assembly line to install strut tower bars, draw stiffeners, etc. for mass production..)



Homologating a car in the U.S., as Subaru pointed out to journalists in its presentation, takes millions of dollars and requires full certification from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Air Resources Board for the states that follow those emissions rules.

Each certification requires individual extensive testing, including emissions testing, physical crash testing, durability testing, and there are usually few exceptions made for cars that are only intended to be sold in small volumes, like the limited edition S209. It’s all a very exhaustive and expensive process with hundreds of tests.

That’s why, most of the time, homologation is only done for cars that sell in the thousands of units, or for limited models that are sold at extremely high prices to cover the disproportionate certification costs.

But STI is only manufacturing 209 examples of the S209 at a price of $63,995, making it the most expensive Subaru ever sold in the U.S., and even then it’s still probably not enough to make up the cost of certifying the car.

Subaru glossed over the rest of the process, but STI reps did tell me they actually had to crash test the S209. It is extremely similar to cars that have already been through the crash testing process and it is a low volume of production, but as far as the government sees it, certain changes to the front of the car may have altered its crash profile.

This included upgrades like the front suspension and new 19-inch BBS wheels and Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT600A summer tires developed for the S209. (Jalopnik reached out to the NHTSA for more details on the S209 certification process, but after months of waiting, it still has not been able to provide more information.)

A source within the company with knowledge of the S209's emissions certification reached out to Jalopnik with more information on that part of the process, though. STI started with the S209 back in 2017, and the process was expected to take around 18 months but ended up taking closer to two years (which is still fairly reasonable).

Initially, STI tried to certify the car as an independent manufacturer. That proved to be next to impossible for STI due to certain rules from the EPA, and so STI had to turn to the Subaru homologation team and other resources for help.

This resulted in STI working with government organizations as a secondary manufacturer, similar to how Lexus is considered a secondary manufacturer to Toyota. Because of STI’s secondary manufacturer status, the S209 gets lumped into the Subaru lineup when it comes to fleet emissions requirements, etc., but allows STI to be listed as the main manufacturer of the car still.

With that, the S209 achieved homologation in the U.S., but it was a point of pride for the STI team that the car be known to come from them—it’s not just another Subaru.

STI executives, including Yoshio Hirakawa, the outgoing President of STI who spoke to me at the drive event, was proud that his organization achieved U.S. certification, and that it would be STI listed on the car’s certification labels inside the driver’s door, which you can see below:



So with the homologation of the S209, STI has established itself, in the eyes of the U.S. government, as its own entity, even if it’s ultimately still considered a secondary manufacturer to Subaru.

But now Subaru and STI have a deeper understanding of importing its best performance models to the U.S., and the government has a better understanding of what the hell Subaru Tecnica International is. Here’s hoping they don’t shy away from bringing us more fantastic toys in the near future.

Besides, the goal of a halo car is not to sell itself—it’s to sell everything else the company makes.

-Justin T. Westbrook
-Staff Writer, Jalopnik


Anyways.. lets try not to get this thread closed. Lets be excited for future S series models that we may receive in the US. It seems very unlikely that Subaru & STI would have went through all of this hassle for just one model.
this is very appreciated, and very detailed....right down to the door tag! Awesome stuff! I wonder if the S209 has a different C.O.O relative to the base STI's?

Last edited by NighthawkSTI; 12-07-2019 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 12-07-2019, 03:11 PM   #18
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ibtl.
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Old 12-07-2019, 03:27 PM   #19
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It looks like an internet seizure.
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Old 12-07-2019, 04:19 PM   #20
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Deja vu in the vein of 12 Monkeys.
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Old 12-07-2019, 05:03 PM   #21
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I won't comment on the car itself and whether it's "worth it" or whatever you peeps turn into keyboard warriors over these days, but I will say the article itself was very interesting and insightful, coming from someone who doesn't really have any knowledge of how these processes work behind the scenes. Just goes to show that it can be a lot of work just to put one product on the market that's more than just R&D and production costs.

Also, coming from a Californian, screw CARB (among countless other things). Over-regulation will be the death of this state. But that's maybe a discussion for OT or PP...
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Old 12-07-2019, 06:24 PM   #22
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At the 4:57 mark the tech is installing a small rubber belt. Anyone else here think that’s a poor location for a rubber belt? I mean, the motor’s going to have to come out to change that sucker. Probably going to be a maintenance item like timing belts....
changing the timing belt on an STI is an E A S Y inexpensive job...heck taking the engine out is easy....another advantage of the EJ being essentially the same since 2004.....massive OEM and aftermarket performance parts supply....with updated and innovative modern upgrades coming out every month it seems. The EJ STI's will be competitive and HIGHLY sought after for a LONG time because of this.
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Old 12-07-2019, 07:48 PM   #23
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At the 4:57 mark the tech is installing a small rubber belt. Anyone else here think that’s a poor location for a rubber belt? I mean, the motor’s going to have to come out to change that sucker. Probably going to be a maintenance item like timing belts....
That is the beauty of German engineering. Also, someone correct me if I am wrong (can't find the link) but that engine alone is well over 20 grand. I cannot imagine the astronomical price if something goes wrong out of warranty. Probably close to this:

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a1...mself-at-home/
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:04 PM   #24
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That is the beauty of German engineering. Also, someone correct me if I am wrong (can't find the link) but that engine alone is well over 20 grand. I cannot imagine the astronomical price if something goes wrong out of warranty. Probably close to this:

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a1...mself-at-home/
I dont know what the AMG engine has to do with S209 Homologation, we should be talking about the S209 and the EJ 257.... but since it was brought up I'll contribute....

More like 20G's just to do maintance! IMHO its overly complicated. Sure it makes 416 horsepower but that turbo is huge and it is set at 30 lbs of boost to get that rating. THIRTY!!! And honestly that seems rather inefficient...but I digress

And for maintenance? Forget it. The timing chain is in the back of the engine, so to change it the engine has to be removed and then pretty much completely taken apart as the cylinder head has to come off to get to it....there's your $ 20,000 LOL Eh...I'll stick with the Subaru boxer a fully factory forged FA 2.4 or EJ 2.5 prepped, and with 30 Lbs of boost would smoke that AMG engine. Truth.

Oh and intercooler bolted to the side of the block? LOL Can you say heat soak. My guess is that this engine will be like the Focus RS where it is loaded with ECU limiting tables and only gives that 416 horsepower in certain conditions. Otherwise it is probably down a lot from that rating.

Last edited by NighthawkSTI; 12-07-2019 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:59 AM   #25
WRX4US
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It seems to me that part of the hassle was due to the insistence that the S209 would be registered as a ďSTIĒ rather than a Subaru.
I donít know what future marketing considerations are at work here, but at least for now I donít think the typical (what ever that is?) S209 buyer really cares if itís a STI S209 or a Subaru STI S209.
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