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New Subaru WRX/STI Loses Big Power; Drops 31 Percent

The 2018 Subaru WRX/STI loses power in a big way. It leads the brand in sales drop.


The Subaru WRX and WRX STI lose power in July and leads the Japanese automaker in sales loss for the entire lineup. It looks like the WRX STI’s lack of horsepower increase is showing up big in sales. Subaru of America (SOA) reports the 2018 WRX/STI performance line dropped 31.4 percent last month compared with July 2017. SOA reports 2,013 sales in July 2018 compared with 2,933 in July 2017. The performance sedans are down 10.8 percent YTD.

What’s the problem?

It could be Subaru needs to give the aging EJ25 Boxer engine an overhaul. It could also need an all-new engine for the WRX STI. The WRX received the new 2.0-liter Boxer in 2015 when the performance cars received the new-generation upgrades. But the STI keeps the same engine as it’s had since 2004.

Even though the 2018 STI received upgrades for the suspension, Subaru Corp chose to leave the engine alone. For 2019, engine revisions to the STI, include new air intake and high-flow exhaust system and higher turbo boost (now 16.2 PSI, up from 14.7 PSI), increase output to 310 horsepower (up 5hp) and the same 290 lb-ft of torque. Revised third gear improves acceleration times.

Performance fans may be waiting for the next-generation WRX STI or upgrading performance in their older model while they wait. Many enthusiasts have been asking for a return of the hatchback, but we don't know when or if it will return. If it ever returns, we wouldn't expect to see it until a WRX appears on a new platform. The next-gen models won’t arrive until sometime in 2020 or 2021 when it arrives with the new Subaru Global Platform. For 2019, fans will have to settle for a Limited Edition (250) WRX STI Series.Gray model.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Robert Stave (not verified)    August 3, 2018 - 9:01AM

I own a 2011 Impreza STi sedan and a 2018 WRX STi Type-RA. I can tell you that the upgrades in the Type-RA that will be available in the 2019 STi are better than what is being reported. The performance is significantly improved.

Paul Cahill (not verified)    August 3, 2018 - 10:31AM

I'm tired or seeing articles on this topic. Why would *anyone* be surprised in a sales drop? No major revisions to the platform in the 4 years its been out, aside from some styling inside and out; and that EJ25 just needs to fecking DIE. TERRIBLE gas mileage, 15 year old design, and for the money, it doesn't compete. Whenyou compre a mustang or even a kia stinger to the STI it just doesn't add up.
I own a 2015 WRX Limited and I didn't buy an STI because I didn't want an old tech engine...and that is obviously holding true with current sales.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    August 3, 2018 - 6:58PM

Your article reads as if the WRX STi is losing power, which has lost business. But it looks like the WRX is gaining power, although small for the 2019 model. I agree that the sales drop is more due to a lack of technical and styling improvements recently. Certainly an updated powerful engine and styling would give the company a boost. Perhaps Subaru's cooperation with Toyota to develop the 86 sports car, and their recent work with them to bring out the PHEV Crosstrek, shows that they can cooperate to improve their engineering to keep Subaru competitive. I would love to see this alliance redesign the WRX in styling, technology and performance moving forward.

Tom Jones (not verified)    August 10, 2018 - 12:51PM

i have a subaru WRX 2015 with only 71732km on it with a blown engine. Report says connecting rod broke and cause catastropic engine damage Now Subaru Canada does not want to warranty it cause we missing one oil change receipt. this is crap I see all kinds of reports on this car Not Good one What can i do to get this under warranty

Pedro hernandez (not verified)    August 12, 2018 - 8:32AM

Overpriced and underpowered with too many engine issues. Also a gas guzzler.I have a 2006 sti 1st and last .

nick (not verified)    August 16, 2018 - 5:58PM

I have had a 2002 wrx and now own a 2011 wrx wagon with just under 80,000 miles. the 2011 is great, quick and never had a problem with it - the 2.5 liter is sweet (IMO)

Bailey reid (not verified)    September 16, 2019 - 9:40PM

In reply to by nick (not verified)

I have a stock 2011 wrx sedan and the dealership wanted to buy it back and lease me a 2019 wrx. I entertained them and went by to discuss it. Test drive the 2019 and man, it just felt so weak in comparison to the 2.5 engine. Especially through 1-3, it had a bit more noticeable too end, but I prefer the power to be kept low anyway for the way I drive. Glad I stuck with the 2011. 178k miles and no major problems yet, knock on wood.