Subaru Is Exploring Its Options For the Next WRX STI

Photo credit: Subaru
Photo credit: Subaru
  • Subaru says the the next-generation WRX STI, with an internal combustion engine, will not use the updated WRX platform.

  • Subaru also says that it’s looking at electrification and electric vehicle trends.

  • Subaru’s battery-electric Solterra goes on sale this year.

The Subaru WRX STI sits atop Subaru’s lineup like a boxer-powered crown. The legendary WRX STI has historically shared its bones with the Impreza WRX (now just called WRX), though with performance differentiators that pushed the WRX STI into a league of its own—a gap that grew wider when the WRX STI continued using older technology as the WRX moved onto new powertrains. And now, according to a statement made by the automaker, the difference between WRX and STI is about to become a full-blown divide as the STI is preparing to move to a completely separate platform from its more affordable stablemate.

Subaru also disclosed an interesting proposition for the STI’s future, saying it is “exploring opportunities for the next-generation Subaru WRX STI, including electrification. In the meantime, a next-generation internal combustion engine WRX STI will not be produced based upon the new WRX platform.”

The automaker doesn’t offer much elucidation—in fact, it raises more questions than answers. The future of the WRX STI has actually been in question for some time, since Subaru ceased production of the Japanese domestic market's WRX STI’s holdover EJ20 engine in 2020. (North American Subaru WRX STI models sport a similar, but larger, EJ25 mill under its hood.)

This could mean that the Subaru WRX STI’s replacement will skip a generation and land on the new WRX’s replacement. It could also mean that the Subaru WRX STI could see a different platform than the new WRX, while still carrying the legacy name. Considering Subaru’s comments about electrification, and the company’s upcoming Solterra EV, it would make sense for the next STI-badged vehicle to sport an electrified powertrain, if not exclusively electric propulsion.

What’s safe to say is that the Subaru WRX STI is going to change significantly. Unsurprisingly, Subaru doesn’t include any sort of timeline in its comments. Considering the current WRX STI is starting to show its age, we’ll probably find out what Subaru has in store for its storied performer sooner than later.

Do you think a hybrid or electric WRX STI will make the Subie crowd happy? Or is Subaru’s STI an internal-combustion-only proposition? Let us know your thoughts below.