Next-Gen Subaru WRX STI Preview; Is The STI Getting Ready To Explode?
The WRX/STI needs a redesign and new upgrades to the aging EJ25 2.5-liter turbo Boxer and big changes are likely coming. The WRX/STI finished 2018 strong which tells us demand for the sport-tuned WRX and performance-tuned STI are still strong. Subaru and Subaru Tecnica International have made a commitment to keep the performance line and this will benefit performance fans. Performance enthusiasts want new exterior styling, a new power plant, and a hatchback body style. It’s been 5 years since the last remodel, and even before a redesign sales are still brisk.
The Subaru WRX and WRX STI are still the best performance value on the planet. The 2019 Subaru WRX/STI finished 2018 with strong sales. Subaru of America reports 2,417 units sold in December to finish out the year with a total of 28,730 models sold for 2018. It’s a small downturn of -8.4 percent compared with 2017, but all Subaru nameplates were down except for Crosstrek. But the STI could be poised for an explosion in sales when the new model arrives.
Here’s what could be coming
Subaru Corporation’s design chief Mamoru Ishii said after the VIZIV Performance Concept’s reveal at the Tokyo Motor Show in October, fan feedback was very positive, and the new-generation Subaru WRX and WRX STI could have similar lines. Subaru’s production cars rarely look anything like their concepts, so we will wait for that to happen. Remember the WRX Concept?
Ishii told AutoCar, “We have built up this tradition with the Legacy, Impreza, and WRX,” he said. “We want it to look fast even when it is parked.” But there could be even bigger changes coming under the hood scoop of the new-generation Subaru WRX/STI. Subaru won’t ever change it from all-wheel-drive, but what powers the new performance car could be radically different.
Ishii went on to say, “Four-wheel drive is critical to the power and performance levels our customers expect, but on the engine, we have more freedom.” The engine Subaru’s design chief is talking ab, ut could offer up hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric power to those four wheels in the next-generation model.
A new 2.4-liter Turbo?
There are rumors the WRX STI will get a new FA24 2.4-liter turbo under the hood. According to a report from Road & Track, Subaru could use the new Ascent 2.4-liter turbo Boxer in the fourth-generation Subaru WRX STI replacing the aging EJ25 2.5-liter used in the current model when it arrives sometime in 2020. It’s reported the 2.4-liter turbo could make 330 plus horsepower in the new STI.
Subaru engineers developed the 2.4-liter powerplant for the Ascent 3-Row family hauler. The new FA24 Boxer engine comes with the latest direct injection and other internal upgrades for the best power and towing vs fuel efficiency. Could Subaru drop it in the fourth-generation WRX STI?
Other rumors say Subaru and Subaru Tecnica International are bringing out a new limited edition Subaru WRX STI TC380. Drive.com reports Subaru leaked an image of a new exclusive limited run TC380 WRX STI badge, and this model will only be sold in Japan. But if the information is correct, and we’ve been unable to confirm any of this, the TC380 could produce 380 horsepower. The report says the TC380’s frame rigidity was increase to handle the extra horsepower.
Whether the WRX/STI gets a hatchback model is anyone’s guess, but fans want the return of the 5-Door STI. Subaru is expected to launch the completely redesigned fourth-generation WRX STI sometime in 2020-2021 and big changes are coming. Stay tuned.
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Photo credit: Subaru USA