The first model by STI brought to market under the S label was the S201 in April 2000. Based on the first generation Impreza, also known as GC8, it was the final model to wave out this generation as a few months later the second generation Impreza started selling.
By seeing the S201 you can immediately see that this is not a normal Impreza. The bodykit looks extreme to today’s standard, but the design was fully functional. Other noticeable changes on the exterior were the black racing style mirrors, double rear spoiler and rear diffuser. The exhaust was a single large diameter pipe with the STI logo engraved on the tip. And difficult to see on first glance, but the hood was made of aluminium.
In the interior the most eye-catching are the blue sports seats with pink STI logo. The center console surround, as well as the shift lever surround have a blue trim garnish including a numbered plate saying which number of the limited edition it is. In the meter cluster there was a also blue background, with the meters themselves having a white background. Centrally in the cluster was the tachometer which has an STI logo. The 4-spoke Momo steering wheel stood out in the interior as it did not have blue or pink accents, but a contrasting red stitching.
Mechanically, a lot of things changed as well. Starting with the engine, forged pistons and redesigned intake and exhaust valves were major changes. Furthermore a metal head gasket and upgraded cooling system (STI radiator, STI fans and an intercooler with water spray) ensured a reliable increased performance of the engine. Even the hydraulic power steering (ratio 13:1) had an oil cooler. Compared to a regular WRX STI the power was up with 20 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission was the only transmission option.
STI also did their effort to improve the chassis performance. The fixed suspension was changed for a reinforced, height adjustable one. On the rear suspension, the lateral link and trailing link were ball-jointed. 16″ forged wheel (developed with Rays) in gold were wrapped in Potenza RE010 tyres. The four wheel drive system had a helical-type limited slip differential on the front.
The price for the S201 was 3.9 Million Yen in the year 2000, which is a bargain for all the enhanced performance you got with this car. Certainly because the car was a limited production run of only 300 units. Other non-limited WRX STI models, such as the WRX Type RA STI Version 6, were around 1 Million Yen cheaper with a price of around 3 Million Yen. The second generation Impreza WRX STI also had limited S-Models, namely the S202, S203 and S204.
Click on the picture below to see the S201 and other Impreza versions per year and detailed specifications such as weight, new price and equipment for each version in the Goo-net.com catalog.