Subaru WRX STI: Electric or Hybrid, What’s Next?
Where has the Subaru WRX STI gone? Why has this high-performance nameplate been absent from our lives since the latest version of the WRX arrived?
Although we don’t have answers to the why part of the question, we’ve learned that Subaru isn’t giving up on the STI name. The brand is working on bringing this moniker back to the market, potentially in an electrified version of the top WRX, giving us a hybrid or all-electric model wearing the STI name. Unfortunately, this new STI doesn’t seem to be on the horizon, but much further down the line.
When will we see a new STI?
All indicators point to the STI waiting until the current WRX generation has ended. This would mean the new model might not appear until 2028 or later. By this time, nearly half of all vehicles sold will need to be electric or plug-in hybrid models. Of course, this could fit right into the plans Subaru has for the STI name. If its return will be as a plug-in or EV model, the timing couldn’t be more perfect for the return of an exciting Subaru sports car. There might be other factors standing in the way as well.
Could there be delays in the Subaru electrification plans?
Is Subaru married to Toyota when it comes to hybrid and EV technology? Early indicators tell us that’s certainly the case. The Current Subaru Crosstrek PHEV uses items from the Toyota Prius Prime and the Subaru Solterra electric SUV is a platform mate of the Toyota bZ4X. These two companies seem to be married regarding hybrid and electric power, but could this marriage impact the future of the Subaru WRX STI? Currently, Toyota doesn’t have a counterpart to this car, which could be problematic for the Subaru sports car.
Can a new electrified STI meet our expectations?
Although we can recognize that Subaru is in the infancy of its hybrid and EV adventure, making a high-performance electric vehicle might be a little far-fetched. Toss in the fact that Toyota isn’t rushing to add more EV models to the market; instead, choosing to bring more hybrids. This signals the thought that a new WRX STI might be more likely to arrive as a plug-in hybrid rather than a full EV. If that’s the case, Subaru should be fine. Toyota has several PHEVs with ample power to give this car the expected power and performance.
Currently, the Subaru Solterra is a low-powered electric SUV. This is fine for a compact SUV made to take five passengers on the highway, but what about an electrified car meant for rally racing? If the Subaru WRX STI returns as a full EV, it should offer at least 400 horsepower from a dual-motor AWD setup. This would be pretty cool, but will it work and is Subaru ready to deliver? Thankfully, the current WRX should last at least through the 2027 model year, which gives Subaru time to develop this new high-performance machine.
Should the next WRX stray from the Impreza roots?
Could we finally see the WRX return in a hatchback body style? The next generation of performance-oriented Subaru models could offer us everything we want in terms of power and performance. This could be the car that transitions the hot hatch market from gas-powered cars to plug-in hybrids or EVs. To accomplish this feat, it will need to truly be a hatchback. It would be pretty awesome to see the next Subaru WRX STI in a hatchback body style, giving us a look that brings us back a few years while utilizing a quiet-running hybrid or EV powertrain.
Will Subaru differentiate the AWD system for the new STI?
Subaru is well-known for including AWD in every vehicle except the BRZ. If the new WRX STI will have an AWD system, it should probably be something that’s a bit different from the symmetrical system used in most Subaru models. If this new hot hatch is an EV, using a dual-motor system with torque vectoring could be the answer to this challenge. This would give the car enough force and fun to tear up the local rally track or take on the WRC and come out on top.
Regardless of how the new Subaru WRX STI arrives, it seems the distinct sound from the turbocharged flat-four will be gone. Of course, with the market changes, many of the familiar sound we love from sports cars will go away in place of swift, silent, and deadly cars that are ready for some serious performance drivers.
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