Subaru Boss Says STI Will Return With 3 New Possible Drivetrains
The Subaru WRX STI had a long run with the Subaru Boxer engine, and like all good things, it had to end. The only choice now for performance enthusiasts is the 2022 WRX. It's not a bad sports car pick, but it's no STI. The FA24 2.4-liter turbocharged engine is a nice upgrade over the FA20 2.0-liter turbocharged Boxer with 271 horsepower. Still, just barely more power than the fourth-generation WRX (268 horsepower), and it comes with identical torque (258 lb-ft).
But there's hope that the next-generation Subaru WRX STI will be back. A new report from CarSales says a replacement for the STI is still in the works. Three different powertrains are under consideration by Subaru Corporation and performance partner Subaru Tecnica International.
photo: Subaru - VIZIV Performance Concept
In an interview with CarSales, Subaru Australia managing director Blair Read said the powertrain options they are working on include full-electric, hybrid technology, and internal combustion engines that run on new fuel technologies.
When asked why Subaru dropped the STI, Read said, "It was a combination of factors, and ultimately the primary driver is around fast-tracking the development in new technologies."
When will Subaru bring back the STI?
CarSales speculates Subaru will revive the WRX STI performance car when the sixth-generation WRX launches, but that won't happen until 2030. The Subaru WRX typically has a longer life cycle between model changes, and eight years is a reasonable estimate.
photo: Subaru - STI E-RA
Why will it take Subaru so long to develop the next-generation STI?
Subaru Corporation and Subaru Tecnica International (STI) are looking at the best possibilities for the STI while waiting to see what happens with battery-electric technology. But Subaru isn't standing on the sidelines. They have already begun testing the 1073 horsepower STI E-RA unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon this year.
Subaru's all-wheel-drive technology will evolve in the new carbon-neutral era by testing its 1073 horsepower eco-performance STI E-RA high-performance sports car on the Nurburgring.
"E-RA is the next iteration of new technologies," said Read. "Next year, it will do several different race tracks in Japan and go to Europe, aiming to set a record around the Nurburgring."
Subaru says, "The first goal of this model is to record a lap time of 400 seconds (6 minutes 40 seconds) in a time attack at the Nurburgring circuit from 2023 onward."
Is this the next STI?
We recently reported Subaru of America and Vermont SportsCar, the Camden, N.J. automaker's motorsports partner, announced they would enter the Nitro RX Championship's new all-electric Group E division this year. They will begin running an all-new 1073 horsepower all-electric Nitro Rallycross (Nitro RX) performance car. Check out the complete report here.
Blair Read also confirmed that Subaru Tecnica International is now working on a diverse range of powertrain concepts that could see the retention of combustion engines via synthetic fuels. "It's not just about electric; there's hybrid tech, and they are also working on fuel technologies," Read said.
New greener fuel technology
In November, Subaru Corporation announced they, along with Toyota, Mazda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha, are exploring new, greener fuel options for the internal combustion engine.
A recent report from Automotive News says, "Toyota believes technological breakthroughs, such as hydrogen engines, can give internal combustion a new lease on life, saving jobs and the environment. It is a debate over the best road to carbon neutrality."
In the announcement, Subaru Corporation said they are going beyond electrification to provide a "greater choice using internal combustion engines." They will start by participating in motorsports with the BRZ sports coupe using carbon-neutral fuels. Read the complete report here.
"The engineering, knowledge, and the people who've delivered cars like the WRX STI are the same guys working on this. That excites me, and those are the people who are developing things for what that next STI model will look like," Read said.
Subaru Corporation could take eight years to bring back the STI performance sports car. It will look very different and will be either all-electric, have hybrid technology, or have an internal combustion engine under the hood scoop that runs on a new synthetic fuel. Stay tuned.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Photo credit: Subaru