All in the name of fuel efficiency.
We first saw hybrid technology as a means of increasing fuel efficiency and making vehicles more environmentally friendly. While that makes sense for motorists looking to save the environment, Subaru's WRX and WRX STI are for enthusiasts that want an everyday sedan that can also out-perform proper sports cars on the track and on a dirt road. While we recently heard a rumor that the next generation of the Subaru BRZ might be a hybrid, Australia's Motoring is claiming that the next WRX STI will utilize a hybrid powertrain.
According to the Australian automotive outlet, the next iteration of the WRX STI will have a revised version of the FA20 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer engine with an electric motor. It would make sense if the hybrid powertrain is for extra performance, but the idea behind the revised powertrain would be to radically improve fuel economy. Apparently, the hybrid powertrain will produce roughly 320 hp, which is up 15 hp from the current WRX STI. According to Motoring, an unnamed source close to Subaru stated that engineers are currently analyzing an all-new all-wheel drive system that utilizes "motor-drive" on the rear axle. The next WRX STI is also rumored to have a new dual-clutch six-speed automated manual gearbox for better fuel economy.
The automaker's new Subaru Global Platform (SGP) has been engineered to carry battery packs, motor and other hybrid hardware to improve fuel economy. Motoring's unnamed source has also confirmed that Subaru is testing a plug-in hybrid variant of the new Impreza-based STI hybrid, which should be here by the 2018 Tokyo Motor Show. While this rumor seems pretty out there, Subaru is coming off of its best sales record ever and needs to do something big to stay at the top. A hybrid WRX STI is the perfect vehicle to do just that.