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Subaru has unveiled the limited-edition WRX STI S208 at the Tokyo motor show.

The car follows in the footsteps of the S207 launched in 2015, with slew of performance and handling upgrades designed to take the standard WRX STI to another level.

Exterior changes are headlined by a mesh grille with red highlights at the front, sitting above an angry-looking splitter finished in gloss black.

Gloss black highlights have been added to the side skirts and door mirrors, too, while the roof has also been treated to a dark gloss finish.

A carbon-fibre lip spoiler on the bootlid rounds out the changes, which are only really likely to alert trainspotters to the fact this isn’t a regular WRX STI.

The changes under the skin are far more pronounced, and should help breathe fresh life into the ageing WRX STI’s handling. Bilstein dampers and coil springs have been fitted to all four corners (tuned by STI, naturally) and the front end is now home to an STI flexible tower brace, flexible draw stiffeners and suspension supports.

Down back, the standard rear suspension subframe and suspension links have been traded for STI units.

A set of blacked-out 19-inch wheels wrapped in Dunlop Sport Maxx RT tyres hide Brembo brakes that, according to Subaru, are 18-inches in diameter. Having had a closer look at the images, and considering the fact the wheels are only 19s, we suggest that might be a bit optimistic.

The engine itself has a unique ECU, a performance muffler for less back pressure, a unique silicon air intake and, in a touch that will make rally fanboys jump for joy, a driver-switchable intercooler water spray.

All told, the changes bump power to 242kW (compared to 221kW in standard Australian cars) and torque to 432Nm (up from 407Nm). It’s worth remembering, the Japanese WRX STI is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged boxer engine, as opposed to the 2.5-litre unit in Australian cars, so we’re not exactly comparing apples with apples.

From behind the wheel, the driver and passenger sit in Recaro bucket seats. The instrument panel has S208 badging on it, and the usual smattering of decorative badges has been added to the dash, transmission tunnel and centre console.

NBR Challenge Package 

Along with the S208, Subaru unveiled the S208 NBR Challenge Package. Along with all the upgrades mentioned above, the car gets a carbon-fibre roof and an optional gigantic carbon-fibre rear wing. Trust us, you won’t mistake this one for a regular WRX STI.

Just 450 S208s will be built in total – 100 regular models, and 350 in NBR trim. They’re only for the Japanese market, with prices starting from 6.264 million yen ($71,200).

MORE: Subaru WRX news, review, comparisons and videos
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