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How Exclusive Subaru WRX STI S208 Compares To the US-Spec STI Type RA

The 2018 Subaru WRX STI S208 made its debut in Tokyo. How does the Japan-only model, compare to the US-spec Type RA?

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The 2018 Subaru WRX STI S208 is an exclusive Japan-spec model limited to just 450 units, and was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show yesterday. The special STI will be a big hit in the home country of Subaru and there’s differences from the standard model. U.S. performance enthusiasts get a similar WRX STI Type RA model enhanced by Subaru Tecnica International (STI). How does the top-end STI S208 compare to the North American variant?

The 2018 WRX STI S208 is the top-end model of Subaru’s high-performance cars. The Japan-only model gets modifications to the engine, suspension, and comes with exterior and interior enhancements. On the outside it gets STI-designed BBS 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, wrapped in 255/35R19 Dunlop Sport Maxx RT rubber, a carbon fiber roof, and a dry carbon-fiber trunk lip spoiler. It also features a large front under spoiler and STI-designed Recaro front bucket seats and exclusive sports instruments for the interior.

The 2018 WRX STI S208 is powered by an STI hand-built EJ20 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve dual AVCS twin scroll turbo boxer getting a small bump in power over the S207. STI increased the maximum power output to 329 PS (325hp) which is 2hp more than last years S207. It gets a maximum of 432 Nm of torque (318 lb ft of torque).

The S208 EJ20 2.0-liter balanced engine also gets its own serial number and STI performance ornament, intercooler water spray (with toggle switch), STI-designed strengthened silicon intake duct, and performance muffler with lowered back pressure (featuring STI logo) with exclusive rear exhaust pipe.

Subaru will produce 100 units of the S208 in WR Blue Pearl and Crystal White Pearl, and 350 examples of the STI S208 NBR Challenge Package featuring a dry carbon-fiber roof and a dry carbon-fiber rear spoiler with S208 logo. S208 NBR also gets a special new Cool Grey Khaki exterior color.

2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA

U.S. performance enthusiasts get the 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA model. It will be limited to just 500 examples when it arrives next year. The numbered limited edition model also comes standard with a carbon fiber roof, the removal of the spare tire, a carbon fiber pedestal wing and lightweight BBS 19-in. forged alloy wheels shod with 245/35R19 Yokohama Advan Sports rubber. Inside, Type RA also gets STI-designed Recaro front bucket seats and exclusive sports instruments.


The big difference between the Japan-spec S208 and the US-spec STI Type RA is what’s under the hood scoop. It’s also coming with more horsepower than the standard model, but it’s not much more, and 15hp less than the S208. Type RA runs the 2.5-liter EJ25 turbo boxer engine and it's getting some STI modifications that will bump up the power to 310hp. The torque stays the same at 290 lb. ft.

Subaru Tecnica International (STI) worked in some new EJ25 engine mods using an STI-specified new cold air intake and high flow performance exhaust. A retuned ECU and stronger pistons also contribute to the increased engine performance. The six-speed gearbox also gets re-tuned with a revised 3rd gear ratio mated to a short throw shifter.

Both S208 and Type RA get suspension upgrades with inverted front struts and rear double wishbone suspension all with Bilstein dampers, and a modified multi-mode VDC for better stability. They also come with upgraded 18-inch Brembo brakes front and rear featuring an exclusive silver finish and come paired with cross-drilled rotors for improved heat dissipation.

We think the Japan-spec 2018 Subaru WRX STI S208 is the better performance machine with the EJ20 2.0-liter DOHC twin scroll turbo boxer over the 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA with the aging EJ25 boxer powerplant. The extra 15hp and additional 28 lb ft of torque and other engine upgrades would make a big difference in performance.

Check out the new Subaru VIZIV Performance Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Photo credit: Subaru Japan and Torque News

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Harry (not verified)    April 28, 2018 - 12:53PM

Aging ej257 power plant? You do know the ej207 is the same age at least. perhaps even older right? Get your own opinion instead of copy pasting everyone elses.