Will the sound of silence be electric performance models like the Subaru WRX STI's death knell? A recent report from Automotive News (by subscription) says if automakers wish to preserve American performance enthusiasts' passion for their cars, they better find a way to put some character and personality into their performance EVs.
The jury for the North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year awards wrapped up test drives of the candidates for the 2024 awards a few weeks ago. This year's contenders featured a record number of electric vehicles and no Subaru models. No surprise there.
The performance models were awe-inspiring. They tested the electric Lotus SUV, the Eletre, coming late next year.
Richard Truett, technology and engineering reporter for AN, says it felt like he was shot out of a cannon. The Eletre reaches 60 mph in around three seconds "and does so effortlessly," says Truett. The Lucid Air, which he also tested, performed much the same way. "If I were blindfolded and placed in an Air or an Eletre, I couldn't tell one from the other."
Subaru WRX STI fans are known for modifying their performance-tuned models with aftermarket performance exhaust systems. A big part of the draw is the sound they make. They are loud, and owners are proud to show them off. It's called the Subie Rumble.
Truett says, "Blistering acceleration is fun for a while. Then it gets boring. Today's high-performance EVs are homogenized, pasteurized, and sanitized." He says they have no soul compared with most internal combustion engine vehicles.
If Subaru wants to keep its performance fans engaged, it must offer some performance sound to go with the blistering acceleration. STI fans want to hear the mechanical symphony behind the performance sports car. I agree with Truitt. As the RPMs increase, it makes the sports car exciting to drive.
"It's the same thing that makes powerful overhead-cam-engined Aston Martin, Ferrari, or Lotus sports cars the type of vehicle enthusiasts lust after. And while some EVs pump fake sounds into the interior through speakers, it's not the same as the sound from an internal combustion engine, and it doesn't fool anyone."
Many Ford Mustang GT owners make their presence known by getting loud in Parker, Colorado, where I live. The same is true of STI owners. They want to hear the Boxer engine's rumble and for you to listen to it, too.
Truett points out that electric motors can make pleasing sounds, too. Sound engineers are studying how to make an electric motor's natural noises appealing to performance car drivers.
"There must be some way to prevent an electric automobile from becoming another disposable appliance. Truett says it won't be done with fake sounds and screens showing the flow of torque and electrons.
If Subaru Corporation doesn't make the new electric STI sound like an actual performance car with sounds fans want to hear, I'm guessing there will likely be plenty of aftermarket companies willing to satisfy the craving for the Subie rumble.
Will you get excited about the impressive acceleration in the electric STI alone, or do you want to hear the performance as well?
Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this electric Subaru WRX STI story. See you tomorrow for my latest Subaru Report.
For additional articles related to new Subaru models, here are a few of my top stories you may enjoy.
My Must-Read Top Picks
- Future Subaru WRX STI EV Rumble Could Be Fake
- Subaru WRX STI Rumble Is Music To Your Ears Video
- 30 Years Of STI; Will The Rumble Continue?
Check out Subaru Boxer Rumble - Exhaust Explained YouTube video
I am Denis Flierl, a 12-year Torque News senior writer with 20+ years of Subaru and automotive journalism experience. I enjoy bringing you, the Subaru fans and customers, the most up-to-date Subaru news, reviews, and new model information. You'll find the latest Subaru stories on the Subaru page. Follow me on my The Dirty Subaru website, Dirty Subaru blog, SubaruReport, All Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierl, Facebook, and Instagram.
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photo credit: Subaru Corporation