Can you imagine driving a plug-in hybrid Subaru WRX STI with a CVT automatic gearbox? It could come sooner than anyone thinks. Subaru revealed two new all-wheel-drive electrified models to show the world what they have planned for the future. It’s at the Geneva Motor Show where Subaru Corporation also brought a new “VIZIV Adrenaline Concept” that could be a preview of the new Subaru all-electric crossover called Evoltis. What’s next for STI fans?
Subaru will be bringing a new-generation WRX and WRX STI in the next year and it could get hybrid power. Subaru is moving in this direction as the new Global Platform that WRX and STI are being underpinned with, will allow for gas, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric powertrains. Like it or not, eco-performance is coming to Subaru Tecnica International, Subaru’s performance and motorsports division.
Here’s a preview of what’s coming for next-gen WRX/STI
Hybrid electric power could be a good thing for the WRX STI as the world slips closer to the EV tipping point. Electric power will bring even more torque which will be ideal coupled with a high-horsepower turbo Boxer engine. The hybrid STI will get improved performance and better fuel mileage. Subaru Europe’s sales and marketing manager David Dello Stritto confirmed that the WRX STI’s 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer powerplant won't’ be around much longer and said recently, it “can simply not exist in the future.”
What will power the Subaru WRX STI in the future? It’s likely to get plug-in hybrid technology being developed now by Subaru Corporation in collaboration with Toyota, Mazda, and Denso. Subaru has already developed new twin-turbo boxer engines like the 2.4-liter powering the new Ascent 3-Row family hauler.
Subaru could mate their WRX-sourced 2.0-liter Turbo DIT with an electric motor to drive the all four wheels for the new coming hybrid WRX STI. Or, it could get an all-new fuel-efficient twin-turbo FA24 2.4-liter boxer coupled with the plug-in hybrid technology. It’s also possible the new-generation STI will start out being gas-powered and switch a few years later to hybrid power.
Will Subaru drop the manual gearbox?
Subaru could also drop the 6-speed manual gearbox in the STI in the next-generation model and only offer it with the Sport Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission with paddle shifters. It’s because the Japanese automaker has a goal to be the overall safety leader and all models will need to come standard with their EyeSight driver assist. Subaru engineers have not been able to make EyeSight work with a manual gearbox. WRX already comes equipped with a CVT automatic with EyeSight, and the STI could be next to get it. Subaru UK boss Chris Graham said recently: “I’m not sure Eyesight is compatible at all with a manual gearbox. My gut tells me it (WRX STI) will be Eyesight with Lineartronic long term.”
Performance fans will see the new-generation 2020-2021 Subaru WRX STI get new eco-performance technology sooner than anyone thinks. The global tipping point for the end of the internal combustion engine is in sight. Plug-in hybrid power is coming next for the WRX STI, it’s just a matter of time. Will Subaru drop the STI manual gearbox? Look for a WRX concept rumored to surface at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. Stay tuned.
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Photo credit: Subaru Corp