Another One Bites the Dust: The 2023 WRX STI is No More
No ICE ICE, baby
In a move that’s come straight out of left field, Subaru has confirmed that the next STI will not be produced based on the 2022 WRX platform. Their brief statement out of Camden, New Jersey references tightening greenhouse gas regulations, zero emissions vehicles, and the NHTSA’s CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards as reason for the seemingly sudden shift in development.
Subaru continues by saying that the STI will (eventually) live on, just not in the internal combustion form that fans have come to love. The next generation WRX STI will instead include some sort of electrification. Whether that means a hybrid or full electric power plant is yet to be seen; but it’s safe to assume that the next STI will be at least five to ten years out since the new generation WRX was just recently unveiled as a 2022 model. This comes as a total shock to everyone, as many journalists (us included) were speculating that Subaru had sandbagged the 2022 WRX’s power figures to allow for a wider gap between it and the STI.
The vagueness in Subaru’s press release leaves some room for the imagination, however. The next generation WRX STI may not be based on the current WRX platform, but it’s possible that it may have its own platform altogether. The STI E-RA concept electric race car may hint at the direction Subaru is leaning towards for the future of their performance division.
It’s not quite clear how long Subaru has been considering axing the WRX STI for this new generation. We’ve reported on their S4 STI Performance concept showing at Tokyo Auto Salon, as well as leaks of the 2023 WRX STI featuring the turbo FA24 turned up to 11 with revised styling and classic Subaru wing. Putting rumors aside, this move still comes across as being last second and rash. We’re anxiously waiting for more clarity on the matter and will report as soon as we find out.
Regardless, although the new generation WRX will continue, it’s sad to see another high performance all-wheel drive performance car bite the dust. With the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Ford Focus RS, and now STI gone (for the time being), there just aren’t that many options left in this category. Electrification may be the future, but the transition sure is rough.