It wouldn't stick around long enough to justify its own existence.
Subaru dropped an absolute bombshell on its fans this past weekend when it announced that the 2022 Subaru WRX would not be getting an STI derivative. This was especially disappointing since the Japanese automaker recently took a stroll down memory lane, reflecting on the performance and handling of the regular WRX, which only made us more excited about the potential of the latest model being turned up to 11. But the decision has been made, with Subaru saying that it is "exploring opportunities for the next-generation Subaru WRX STI, including electrification."
That will likely have annoyed potential future STI buyers just as much as the announcement that the STI isn't coming for this generation, but since Subaru has only recently revealed its first EV, an electrified STI is certainly a long way off. So why not give us one last unelectrified STI before a hybrid or EV version is ready?
Well, Road & Track was wondering the same sort of thing, and a Subaru spokesperson gave an answer that makes a lot of sense. "If we designed [a new STI] now, it would have a very limited shelf life," said Subaru Director of Corporate Communications Dominick Infante. "The regulations are changing so quickly that it kind of wouldn't make any sense."
Essentially, Subaru is worried that investing in the development of an STI - which the brand always does very thoroughly - would not be worthwhile since it may take a few years to sell enough units to see a good return.
Of course, a number of fans will immediately claim that they would have certainly bought the last-ever electrification-free STI, and considering how well "first edition" and "final edition" models released by various manufacturers tend to sell, one could argue that Subaru's justification is weak. But we think that this could be a good move. As we noted above, Subaru takes the development of STI-branded models very seriously, and getting a headstart on its first electrified performance product could serve the company well in the coming years. Infante reassures us that "the STI brand still exists," and if the STI E-RA Concept is anything to go by, it will continue to be brilliant. We await the inevitable comments about how Subaru has lost the plot.