The 2023 Subaru WRX STI Has Potentially Leaked: 400 hp and a Manual

By Sevan Shahijanian | September 15th, 2021
2022 Subaru WRX STI Leak
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Controversy & Redemption

The automotive world has no shortage of leaks and rumors – especially when it comes to cars as popular as Subaru’s rally-bred WRX and STI lineup. Coming off the tailwinds of a delayed and extremely controversial reveal, details on the yet-to-be unveiled 2023 WRX STI trim may have just leaked in a Japanese magazine. 

We recently wrote an in-depth article covering the 2022 Subaru WRX, so check that out if you haven’t already to get a baseline idea of what the new WRX is like. 

With regards to the leak, this photo of a magazine page, presumably taken by an insider, has been causing buzz as it makes its rounds on internet forums. We haven’t been able to track down the leak’s source or from which magazine this info is from; but we have translated the Japanese text to learn a few important points. 

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First up is the fact that the new STI will come exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission – no CVT or “Subaru Performance Transmission” option here. The text also states that the STI’s FA24 2.4-liter turbo boxer engine is under development with a goal of 400 ps (or about 395 hp). If true, that’s a significant bump from the WRX’s 271 hp. It also aligns with rumors we’d been hearing before the WRX’s release that Subaru was working on a 400 hp power plant.

The magazine also mentions the “evolution of driving” brought forth by the STI’s use of Subaru’s Global Platform. The platform brings significant improvements to the WRX’s center of gravity and rigidity. Scott Speed, driver for Subaru’s Rally Team USA and former F1 driver, has lauded the new WRX’s chassis improvements as being major players in the car’s stability. This is great news for performance fans, as improving the chassis after the fact is a much more difficult proposition – often requiring fine tuning and custom fabrication.

The final thoughts of the Japanese text carry somber undertones, saying that this generation WRX STI will likely be the last to use a “pure engine” – implying that future models will be all-electric or use some form of hybrid technology. Although some automakers are pushing back against legislation, it’s no secret that industry tides are shifting towards electrification. 

Comparing the leaked image with the 2022 WRX, the STI seems to have a redesigned and more aggressive front bumper. The small fins in the lower fascia are painted in body color and the front sides extend lower and claw forward. The design is very similar to the 2022 WRX’s, with just enough oomph to differentiate the STI.

Continuing to the sides, the controversial plastic clad fenders are now painted in body color and have different front fender vents reminiscent of the outgoing model’s vents. This should quell the outrage (or at least some of it), as the sore point for many enthusiasts has been the plastic cladding. Similar to the fenders, the WRX’s plastic side skirts are also painted in body color on the new STI. Larger STI-specific wheels better fill in the massive arches and the suspension looks to be lowered as well.

Moving to the rear of the car, the light bar seen in Subaru’s VIZIV concept makes its production debut. The top portion of the (also controversial) massive rear diffuser is painted in body color as well, separating the left and right reflectors into triangular accent pieces.

No STI would be complete without a massive rear wing, and it looks like Subaru has chosen to go with something a bit more subdued this time around. The wing has sharp side plates angled upwards and is painted black, but sits lower than traditional STI wings. The airfoil also looks to be aerodynamically functional. Finishing off the design, the STI goes with a black roof to make the car look a bit sleeker. Transitioning to Subaru’s Global Platform has made the WRX larger, so Subaru may have gone with black cladding and accents to keep the car looking a bit smaller than it actually is. 

If this leak proves to be true, Subaru fans may have some of their misgivings about the 2022 WRX allayed. Although we always suggest to take rumors and leaks with a grain of salt, it wouldn’t be the first time Japanese media has spilled the beans on an upcoming release. Details on the new STI remain unconfirmed and we anxiously await Subaru’s official unveil. Stay tuned!