It’s the end of an era for the Subaru WRX STI.
Over several generations, Subaru’s really shown its rally-inspired muscle with the WRX STI — but it’s not to be this time around. The automaker announced late Friday evening that it is not working on a purely internal combustion-powered follow-up for the recently launched VB-generation WRX. Instead, the brand’s halo may lean into electrification.
Subaru of America, Inc. CEO Thomas J. Doll laid out a relatively brief message on the matter.
Here’s the full message:
“As the automotive marketplace continues to move towards electrification, Subaru is focused on how our future sports and performance cars should evolve to meet the needs of the changing marketplace and the regulations and requirements for greenhouse gasses (GHG), zero emissions vehicles (ZEV), and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE).
As part of that effort, Subaru Corporation 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 Subaru WRX STI and the STI brand represent the zenith of Subaru’s performance vehicles exemplifying Subaru’s unique DNA and rally heritage. As we look to the future, we also look forward to incorporating the essence of STI into our next generation of vehicles.”
An electric STI? We’ll have to wait and see
So it’s the end of an era for the high-performance WRX STI, it seems. It also leaves WRX enthusiasts with a quandary, as it’s one of the few cars that has a devoted manual transmission following. Right now, the WRX GT is CVT only, though here’s to hoping the automaker might through the row-your-own faithful a bone in future model years.
But naturally, there’s some wiggle room to interpret just how far Subaru will go on the “electrification” part. Are we talking a hybrid version backed by a gasoline engine, or a full-on electric model? It could well be the latter, since the company just absolutely ruled out a new STI based on the current platform.