And it could wind up being a segment game changer.
Changes are happening in today's automotive industry, and survival is key. Therefore, automakers need to adapt, and performance cars like the Subaru WRX STI are no exception. Autocar first picked up an interesting report from Dutch website AutoRAI who spoke to Subaru's European sales and marketing manager, David Dello Stritto. Dello Stritto confirmed the current WRX STI's turbocharged 2.5-liter boxer engine "can simply not exist in the future," and that will be replaced by a plug-in hybrid setup.
Bear in mind we're still at least a year or so away from the next WRX and WRX STI, despite the current generation already being discontinued in the UK. But having electric motors isn't really a bad thing. Quite the opposite. It opens up many performance possibilities for the WRX STI and would give Subaru the opportunity to do something bold within the segment. The Ford Focus RS has pushed things to a higher level than ever, so Subaru needs to go above and beyond this time around. Dello Stritto specifically noted that Subaru isn't "giving up on 'fun to drive.' The new Impreza delivers this fun in a different, more sensible, C02 emissions-compliant way."
No one from Subaru has officially gone on record stating the next WRX STI will adapt plug-in hybrid tech, but the writing is on the wall. The new Subaru Global Platform, which will underpin all upcoming models including the WRX and WRX STI, was designed to allow space for batteries and electric motors. The recently revealed VIZIV Performance Concept, pictured here, previews the next WRX and WRX STI, so at least we know Subaru has no plans to drop its best model.