Those holding out for a WRX STI will be disappointed.
With the arrival of the all-new Subaru WRX, fans of the brand have been anxiously awaiting the announcement of the high-performance STI derivative. Sadly, it seems that's not in the cards for the carmaker. The brand recently announced it will not be producing an STI upon the current WRX platform.
That's not to say the halo model will disappear forever. In a statement, Subaru has said it is "exploring opportunities for the next-generation Subaru WRX STI, including electrification." It has been slow to adopt EVs, but recently unveiled the Solterra, an electric SUV with 220 miles of range.
The automaker says it is focusing on how future performance cars should "evolve to meet the needs of the changing marketplace and the regulations and requirements for greenhouse gases, zero-emission vehicles, and Corporate Average Fuel Economy."
While we all knew this was coming, it doesn't make it any less of a shock. The STI has become an automotive legend; a relatively affordable sports sedan that could tear up a stretch of gravel or tail a supercar on a technical race track. Subaru has hinted at this in the past, though.
Its STI E-RA concept, first seen at the Tokyo Auto Salon, hinted at Subaru's electrified ambitions. Many wondered why Subaru was busy with an EV racecar but, according to the man heading up development, it's essential for the brand's performance future. Hiroshi Mori said that with carbon-neutral motoring on the horizon, STI needs to develop tech for future performance cars.
Lessons gleaned from the project will be used in future performance products, said Mori. The STI E-RA boasts more than 1,000 horsepower and the company is aiming to take it around the Nurburgring in 6:40. If this is any indication, the next WRX STI will be a massively exciting car, but the sweet boxer rumble will be missed.
As to when the electrified STI will arrive, we're not sure. Subaru hasn't hinted at whether it will be a full EV or a hybrid but we do know that many fans will be disappointed. Across the world, gearheads worship at the STI altar, so this loss may see fans keeping their older models, begrudgingly purchasing the new WRX, or abandoning ship altogether.
With a base price of $29,105, the 271 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque afforded by the turbocharged 2.4-liter will be sufficient for most. What's more, the WRX is keenly priced and, with a few upgrades, should be even more thrilling. While we wait for the announcement of the new STI, we're left wondering how the brand will approach the newcomer. It could be massively exciting or a huge disappointment. We sincerely hope it's the former.
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