For almost 30 years, Subaru fans have enjoyed the beefed up WRX version that came with the STI marker. The company recently unveiled the latest generation Subaru WRX and everyone was looking forward to the WRX STI version to be released in the coming months. Unfortunately, Subaru did the unexpected, the automaker reported that the STI version would not be coming, at least not in the usual setup.
Understandably, car enthusiasts were disappointed with the announcement especially because Subaru didn’t give a good reason why it had axed the beloved car.
Earlier this week, an executive from the company shed more light to the decision.
“If we designed [a new STI] now, it would have a very limited shelf life,” Subaru Director of Corporate Communications Dominick Infante said. “The regulations are changing so quickly that it kind of wouldn’t make any sense.”
In other words, Subaru has been pressing forward it’s electrification agenda and producing a more powerful STI based on the recently announced new generation WRX combustion engine wouldn’t be a smart move at this transition point in the automotive industry.
However, there’s still some light at the end of the tunnel, WRX STI might return, but it will almost certainly be at least partially electrified (hybrid) , if not a full-on EV. The company stated that it was exploring opportunities for the next-gen STI that included electrification. The internal combustion engine (ICE) based STI will no longer be produced, but the brand still exists.
“The STI brand still exists,” Infante said, noting that Subaru had unveiled the STI E-RA concept this year in Tokyo. The automaker has also revealed 2 STI concept cars so far this year; the Solterra STI concept, and the S4 STI Performance, both displayed in Tokyo Auto Show. In addition, the name is used on some Japanese domestic market cars, like the Levorg STI Sport.
It remains unclear when we can expect the electrified WRX STI, but there are rumours it will have upwards of 350 horsepower, which is a notable power boost compared to the recently announced 271 hp of the WRX non-STI version.