By on November 15, 2017

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

In an effort to reduce emissions, Subaru is putting everything on the table in terms of its performance-focused WRX STI.

Keeping in mind your humble author is directly translating an interview given to a Dutch website (an activity which requires all of his brainpower), it seems there’s more than a passing chance that the next WRX STI will deploy some sort of hybrid technology in a bid to maintain its performance creds.

In a statement first appearing on AutoRAI, David Dello Stritto, who is listed on LinkedIn and other sources as General Manager of Sales, Marketing, & PR for Subaru Europe, is quoted as saying:

“CO2 emissions are becoming increasingly important and the current 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbo boxer engine simply can not continue to be used in the future. We do not say goodbye to the WRX STI, the car belongs to Subaru, but there will be a period where we will temporarily not run WRX STI.”

Okay, then. This could mean one of many things, not the least of which is the Subaru faithful may have to do without their halo car for an undetermined amount of time while the Exploding Galaxy figures out how to make enough power to placate their fans without harming any polar bears.

With the words “the 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbo boxer engine simply can not continue to be used in the future” ringing in one’s ears, it is more than plausible to imagine a downsized and boosted gasoline-powered engine powering the front wheels of the next WRX STI, while an electric motor (or two) fills in the blanks at the rear wheels. 

The current STI Rexy (I’m using that term because Corey Lewis loves it so much) is powered by  a 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer four, good for 305 horsepower funnelled through all four wheels. Don’t forget that Subaru displayed the Viziv Concept at this year’s Tokyo Auto Show, showing what may be the styling direction for the next WRX.  

Subaru does not currently have a plug-in hybrid in its lineup but one is rumoured to be slated for production by the 2020 calendar year. It will surely debut as a mainstream car. If the gearheads in the STI program are permitted to get their hands on it and fettle the powertrain, it could prove to be just the ticket for the next WRX STI. After all, it’s not as if hybrid powertrains and gonzo levels of performance are mutually exclusive concepts.

[Image: Subaru]

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11 Comments on “New Subaru WRX STI to Deploy Hybrid Technology?...”

  • avatar

    The STI has been surpassed and the 2.5l EJ is shit (had one for 5 years). They need to do something to compete although I’m not sure an STI hybrid is what is wanted.

    Turbo boxer 6 is what I’d want if I were to buy again.

  • avatar

    I like it. The EJ should have been put to pasture a good 10 years ago, and as we’ve seen hybrid performance cars done right can do very well to deliver driving thrills.

    I’m still hopeful for a return of bigger naturally aspirated motors enabled by hybrid tech. I would love something like a Golf R hybrid with the corporate 3.6 VR6 up front, even if it all weighed like 3500lbs.

  • avatar

    They should just call it the NS-X and be done with it.

  • avatar

    Selective quoting or selective hearing in effect. The quote was “the current 2.5-liter”, not “the 2.5-liter”. It certainly leaves the door open for a revised engine design.

    But, as you pointed out, the car is AWD, and a hybrid conversion may be “low-hanging fruit”.

  • avatar

    There have been several industry-only publications reporting that Subaru recently tested a WRX-STI at the Nurburgring with a 2.0 turbo liter engine making roughly 350 HP (possibly beefed up version of 2.0 turbo’s currently used in WRX and Forester XT). The first test ended with the engine catching fire, the second test apparently went OK. Nothing was said about Hybrid technology.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    A friend had an STi ( i, not I. probably ) for less than a year. It was his Dream Car after getting a ride in another friend’s WRX wagon years before but, alas, it was a bad dream. He said it bogged a lot and that to get it moving smoothly he had to be into the boost. This often made other drivers around him think he was hooning about, he said, and was in several impromptu races on his way to work as a Senior Geologist at an oil company. He went back to Dodge Diesels but this new form of WRX might just tempt him to return from The Dark Side.

  • avatar

    The EJ257 is way too dirty (emissions) for modern use and it will be difficult to make the smaller, cleaner FA20F into a sufficiently powerful replacement. I think a Honda-style motor-based torque-vectoring AWD system adding a bunch of low-end torque to the FA20F could be just the ticket.

  • avatar

    Subaru has made sure that the electric motors of the hybrid will have head gaskets that leak with simulated oil.

    • 0 avatar

      Heh heh heh! Yes, I was going to say, I suspect that the hybrid box will blow a breaker at about 60K miles, and the batteries will leak fluid as well. Subaru dealers will say that it’s normal to have to fill up the batteries every few thousand miles.

  • avatar

    Having spent 30 seconds inputting that web page URL into Google Translate, I can say that a lot of what appears in this post is a glorious flight of the imagination on the hybrid front, not dissimilar from the guess about outside component supplier problems at Tesla, when it is outside suppliers of production line systems that are the main problem there.

    So, if one can speak out of one’s left ear with impunity, I predict that the next STI will have a souped-up version of the 2.4 turbo being prepared for the Subaru Schoolbus and Dog Kennel Transporter Ascent, due out next Spring.

    “However, this does not mean that the WRX STI comes with an alternative powertrain, but Subaru emphasizes that everything is being investigated. David adds: “There will be a new WRX STI, but that takes time.”

  • avatar

    Hear, hear. Subaru has been c**k-teasing hybrids for years and years. Aside from the mild hybrid Crosstrek, it’s been all talk, no action.

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