By on June 21, 2017

2018 Subaru WRX STI and WRX - Image: Subaru

Even thought Subaru’s new Impreza is already here and riding on the company’s new global platform, an updated WRX appears to be a long way off. In fact, it might be another three years until we see an updated performance sedan from the (mostly) all-wheel-drive automaker.

While the current incarnations of the WRX and its hotter STI variant still provide balanced dynamics and remain well liked by driving enthusiasts, seven years without a significant upgrade is a long time to wait.

Subaru says it’s fine with the powerplants found in the current models and cites their above-average sales figures in the dwindling small car segment to prove that consumers are happy. Subaru Australia’s managing director Colin Christie confirmed a desire for more powerful engines but not the need for one, saying not to expect an updated WRX in Australia until around 2020 — which obviously applies to the rest of the world, too.

“We’d love to have more powerful cars,” Christie told Motoring. “But there’s nothing on the cards. The 1.6 turbocharged Levorg engine does not fit, so Impreza sports models are restricted to pack changes.”

The WRX doesn’t have much in the way of direct competition at the moment, but the STI certainly does. Volkswagen’s Golf R and Ford’s Focus RS are serious contenders, both providing something the Subaru doesn’t. VW adds refinement while Ford serves up brutality, leaving the Subaru somewhere in the middle but otherwise unconcerned. After all, the only car the STI has ever had reason to fear was the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and the earliest hypothetical return for that particular model isn’t until 2023.

That doesn’t mean the STI wouldn’t benefit from an update; it definitely would. But Subaru isn’t known for prioritizing horsepower in any of its production cars.

“From our point of view that engine works perfectly for what the car is designed to do. The revhead in me would love to put high powered turbos in every single car, but the reality is every car has a niche and a role to play,” Christie said.

Subaru plans to bring the hard-edged WRX STI Type RA to North America, but its cold-air intake, forged pistons, upgraded ECU and a high-flow exhaust system only adds five extra ponies. The RA is more about saving weight, suspension upgrades, and being outfitted specifically for track use. It’s also being built in extremely limited numbers, so you’ll never be able to buy one anyway. Instead, you will either have to appreciate the performance sedans Subaru currently has to offer, wait a few years, or look elsewhere for your four-door performance fix.

[Image: Subaru]

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11 Comments on “New Subaru WRX and STI Not Due for Another Three Years...”


  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    2018 Subaru models have already landed.. So, 2 years for an updated 2020 model? This has already been the consensus in the Subaru community for quite some time.

    Seems like you don’t really care much for or follow Subaru, or you just love clickbait-y titles??

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The article also mentions Australia and 2020 as a calendar rather than model year. So that would be 3 years.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      The only ‘news’ here is *in* 2020, which would likely make it a 2021 model. So three more years of the current WRX and STI.

      If Subaru were smart, they’d limit the 5th gen Impreza to four model years (MY17-20) like they did for the 3rd, and then mate the two up again for MY21. There’s savings to be had in getting them both on the same platform and body.

      Also, it’s cute that someone thinks the Evo is coming back.

  • avatar
    Bazza

    Just as I suspected…the loss of the EVO as primary competitor has basically gutted any desire within Subaru to keep the WRX current. What a damn shame.

  • avatar
    mojeimeje

    Both WRX and STI came out for the 2015 model year. And they will be facelifted for the 2018 model year. An all new model coming out in 2020 is normal.
    However, before the current generation came out, WRX has always been released at the same time as the Impreza, but that changed with the 2012 Impreza. So we have a 2015 WRX with an interior from a 2012 Impreza, which means the 2020 WRX will probably have the interior from the 2017 Impreza.

  • avatar
    zayg

    Why can’t Subaru just release these cars in line with the regular Impreza?

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Happy with the output really? The old ass EJ 2.5l. I had one for 5 years, cracked a ringland. Even after that I’d entertain going back if they offered a hatch/wagon and a much better engine.

    Other companies are providing what Subaru is not and there are more on the way. Subie is happy with their Crosstrek/Forester/Outback sales and won’t do much until that declines.

    • 0 avatar
      Bazza

      To be honest, Subaru does not seem to need a halo vehicle either now or in the near future. The WRX/STi are just sorta “there” while the world passes them by. Hopefully…but I don’t think likely…some enterprising project manager with a performance bent will pick up the development ball and run with it. Again, not likely.

  • avatar
    legacy

    I think rather than power, people would rather them at least switch off the old, problem prone EJ block to the technologically superior FA which is in the WRX.

  • avatar

    Well, so much for being worried about my lease ending a YEAR before the new version. I guess I’ll be able to safely lease another example of this iteration – albeit with upgraded (safer) infotainment…

  • avatar
    MasteringRegularExpressions

    Forget more power, what I want is an alternate body style. I’d love to have the body of a Levorg with suspension equivalent to a WRX.

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