Subaru Says No WRX STI, Suggests Electric Model

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
subaru says no wrx sti suggests electric model

When Subaru announced the latest WRX sedan, it was made perfectly clear that it would arrive without the high-performance STI variant metaphorically in tow. After attempting to push performance versions of the Impreza sedan into becoming their own thing for years, the 2022 model year saw the WRX jumping onto the Subaru Global Platform. This resulted in a more mainstream vehicle we assumed would need additional time in the relevant skunkworks garage before it could reemerge as the aggressive, rally-inspired, no-nonsense WRX STI.

But Subaru is now saying that there won’t be an STI for this generation. According to the manufacturer, “future sports and performance cars should evolve to meet the needs of the changing marketplace and the regulations and requirements for greenhouse gasses (GHG), zero emissions vehicles (ZEV), and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE).”

That means environmental regulations have effectively killed the STI as we know it. Though we imagine the automaker probably could have made it work. The current WRX saw its displacement upsized by nearly 20 percent, so it doesn’t seem wholly ridiculous to assume Subaru could have designed a juiced-up version of that car without offending government regulators. But the manufacturer has said it’s better to focus on electrification, citing the automotive industry’s overt push to sell more EVs and alleged environmental stewardship.

From Subaru:

As part of that effort, Subaru Corporation is exploring opportunities for the next generation Subaru WRX STI, including electrification. In the meantime, a next generation internal combustion engine WRX STI will not be produced based upon the new WRX platform.

The Subaru WRX STI and the STI brand represent the zenith of Subaru’s performance vehicles exemplifying Subaru’s unique DNA and rally heritage. As we look to the future, we also look forward to incorporating the essence of STI into our next generation of vehicles.

However, it still feels like there’s some gaslighting afoot. The automaker’s singular electrified model is the plug-in-hybrid variant of the Crosstrek and it has no battery electric vehicles to speak of, at least not until the subcompact Solterra SUV (co-developed with the Toyota bZ4X) arrives later this year. This time last year, Subaru was also stating that the WRX and STI would be the very last models in Subaru’s lineup to undergo electrification.

Heck, there were numerous credible leaks suggesting the STI would get the same FA24 2.4-liter direct-injection turbocharged Boxer engine as the new WRX — just with 395 horsepower and noteworthy bumps in efficiency. While the brand had endured numerous delays in development, those were attributed to working through COVID restrictions with the overarching plans going unchanged.

Now, Subaru is suggesting it’s better to ax the STI sedan to focus on efficiencies as it simultaneously discusses using Subaru Tecnica International to add performance to the rest of its lineup. But this just leaves us with more questions. Will the STI badge denote tangible improvements in physics or simply become an appearance package? Numerous brands have done this already by creating cosmetic focused variants that sit below genuine performance options while still leaning on the relevant badging (e.g. Ford’s ST-Line or Hyundai’s N-Line). Will the proposed STI-Line be exclusive to all-electric models, adhering to Subaru’s earlier statements about the importance of zero-emission vehicles, or will they also encompass internal combustion models?

Maybe this is all just a coy way of suggesting the WRX STI will soldier onward using the current platform until an entirely new model has been designed as a hybrid/BEV or it simply changes its mind. Subaru is being extremely cagey on the matter, so it’s really anybody’s guess at this point. Feel free to speculate in the comments as I continue losing interest in this company.

[Image: Subaru]

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4 of 17 comments
  • Kosmo Kosmo on Mar 15, 2022

    Dear Subaru: Please replace the STi with a hatchback "normal" WRX.

  • NG5 NG5 on Mar 15, 2022

    Subaru seems to be making the appliance-consumer-only pivot that Toyota recently turned away from, without having Toyota's reputation for reliability. Interesting to see when even VW, Honda, and Toyota are sort of trying to revive some enthusiasm. And other manufacturers are moving into the soft-roader AWD space so fast. Will be interesting to see if it works for them. The 86 is the only remaining car I'd consider that might have some interaction with the brand, and I'd probably get that serviced at an independent mechanic and buy it from Toyota. I want to like Subaru for AWD and fun rally history but I am not ever going to buy inefficient appliance vehicles that run a CVT.

    • See 1 previous
    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Mar 15, 2022

      @bullnuke They’re what Volvo was fifteen years ago.

  • Tassos What was the last time we had any good news from Ford? (or GM for that matter?)The last one was probably when Alan Mulally was CEO. Were you even born back then?Fields was a total disaster, then they go hire this clown from Toyota's PR department, the current Ford CEO, Fart-ley or something.He claims to be an auto enthusiast too (unlike Mary Barra who is even worse, but of course always forgiven, as she is the proud owner of a set of female genitals.
  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...
  • Wjtinfwb Looks like Mazda put more effort into sprucing up a moribund product than Chevy did with the soon to be euthanized '24 Camaro.