2023 Subaru WRX STI Is Going To Decimate The Competition

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If it looks anything like this, Subaru will have a winner on its hands.

Subaru has only just unveiled the all-new WRX and we're already salivating over it, especially the new 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine delivering more power and more torque than the previous 2.0-liter unit. It might have a lower redline than before, but it retains the rifle-bolt manual gearbox we loved in the previous incarnation. More than that, we in the CarBuzz office are big fans of the styling. Many haven't appreciated the raised ride height and the black body cladding, claiming it's too crossover-like, but considering the WRX is meant to be hooned on dirt, it's a true form-follows-function design. But there's something to get even more excited about.

Following the release of every WRX comes something more hardcore. A Subaru WRX STI. Subaru has been tight-lipped about the details, but our in-house design gurus have had a crack at what the next STI might look like. This is the result.


For starters, a big wing is standard fare in the evolution from WRX to STI. But STI models are more than just wings. The front and rear fenders have been widened to accommodate a wider track and fatter tires, needed to put down the bump in power the STI nomenclature will no doubt be accompanied with. Subaru has officially retired the EJ engine that did duty in the last several generations of STI, and the predictions are that the new model will inherit the 2.4-liter flat-four from the WRX, but with the wick dialed up somewhat.

While the WRX produces 271 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, the STI is expected to churn out 345 hp. A manual will no doubt be present, as will the STI's driver-controlled center differential (DCCD), allowing the driver to tailor the behavior of the drivetrain. Brake-assisted torque vectoring will also feature.

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The expected outputs may well be down on potency compared to the likes of the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45's 382 ponies or the new RS3's 401 hp, but the WRX STI has always been more about the driving experience than outright numbers. It also has the benefit of a so-called 'true' all-wheel-drive system. The engine is mounted longitudinally, unlike the two aforementioned rivals, and although they now have rear clutch packs with torque vectoring and even a drift mode, we expect Subaru's engineers to have taken this into account when tuning the STI's powertrain.

Feeding the more powerful engine, our designers have envisioned a larger hood scoop, adding extra aggression.

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In the transition to STI spec, the foglights have been ditched and the front air intakes have been broadened. The front and rear fascias are also more aggressive with a chin spoiler up front, darkened headlights, and a more aggressive grille. The odd triple ventilation slats on the front wheel arch are replaced by a more traditional vent mounted lower down, and obligatory STI fender badges accompany the design. At the back, larger exhaust outlets will hopefully capitalize on that signature Scooby burble.

As the STI is more track focused than the WRX, we predict that it will ride lower to the ground than the model on which it's based, giving it better body control and handling at the limit. Of course, no STI would be complete without a set of signature BBS wheels, finished in gold to accompany the WR Blue paint scheme.

If the new WRX STI looks anything like how we've envisioned it, we know Subaru will have a winner on its hands. Sadly, we don't expect there to be an STI wagon based on the new WRX Wagon.


As far as the more mundane technicalities go, the WRX STI will inherit the WRX's Subaru Global Platform. The dimensions won't change vastly, meaning a large interior and a large trunk, and ensuring the WRX STI's status as a practical performance sedan. But the new platform has big benefits, like a 28% increase in torsional rigidity when comparing the new WRX to the previous one. In the STI, a stiffer suspension and extra bracing will enhance this even further. However, don't discount the adaptive dampers from the WRX carrying over, making the STI more livable than it's been before.

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The interior will largely carry over from the WRX, inheriting a new tablet-style Starlink infotainment interface measuring 11.6 inches. The Subaru EyeSight assistance suite will also likely feature as Subaru enhances its focus on safety. Recaro bucket seats will be more aggressively bolstered, and a D-shaped steering wheel will be the focus for the driver, with STI badging, thumb grips, and the obligatory red contrast stitching.

As for when it will arrive, we're only expecting it to debut late in 2022 and arrive stateside as a 2023 year model. The new WRX is only arriving at dealers in early 2022, which means we'll have plenty of time to get acquainted with it before the STI is revealed.

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