Guys, it’s time to devote one to the most iconic rally racer of all. Those of you who are patiently waiting for the next generation Subaru WRX STI better sit down, because it’s not coming any time soon. If ever.
In a surprise announcement, Subaru confirmed that STI would not be returning with the new WRX. In this regard, the automaker is somewhat vague about the future of the STI as well, stating that “Subaru Corporation is exploring opportunities for the next generation Subaru WRX STI, including electrification.” The statement further said, unequivocally, that the next-generation IMS with an internal combustion engine “will not be produced based on the new WRX platform.” Disappointment.
The surprise was certainly real, as we’ve been reporting rumors about the next generation of STIs for some time now. Last July we heard a 345-horsepower (257-kilowatt) IMS was being considered, but damn, forget rumors. In January 2022, Subaru stormed into the Tokyo Auto Salon with the S4 STI Performance concept all adorned with wings, red trim, and an STI badge. We thought it was a glimpse of something to come later this year, and you know what? perhaps it.
Subaru’s STI statement is only three paragraphs long, but it opens with a pretty telling section about electrification and meeting changing market needs. Between the previous STI rumors and the STI concept from a few months ago, it feels like something about the face goes against the long-term product plans. We reached out to Subaru in hopes of getting a little more background, but the automaker didn’t provide any additional comment.
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Despite the intentions, the reality is that the WRX STI we know is dead. The first version appeared in 1994, packing 247 horsepower and catapulting the modest Impreza to superstar status at the World Rally Championship. The US market won’t get the Impreza WRX launched until 2002, with the STI coming in 2004. Of course, Subaru separated the Impreza and WRX in 2014, but if we had known our stint on the 2019 STI 209 would be the last internal combustion dance, we might enjoy it more.
Will the WRX STI be revived with electrification in a next-generation package? Subaru left the door open at the front, but stopped without official confirmation.