2023 Subaru WRX STI, next-generation Subaru STI
Denis Flierl's picture

What Killed The Next-Generation Subaru STI And Why It’s Not Coming Back

The 2023 Subaru WRX STI will not be manufactured for performance fans. Here is what killed the next-generation STI and why it’s never coming back.
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When Subaru of America announced the next-generation WRX STI with a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine would be off the table and “will not be produced based upon the new WRX platform,” it shocked the performance car community. The 2022 Subaru WRX is ready for its dealer launch this spring, and the STI was supposed to follow next year.

Performance enthusiasts were excited to discover how much horsepower the next-generation 2023 STI with a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Boxer engine would have. There was speculation it would produce close to 400 horsepower.

2023 Subaru WRX STI, next-generation Subaru STI
photo credit: Competition Subaru

Expectations were high, but the air went out of the balloon quickly as Subaru of America announced the 2023 STI would not see production.

What killed the STI?

Subaru said, “As the automotive marketplace continues to move towards electrification, Subaru is focused on how our future sports and performance cars should evolve to meet the needs of the changing marketplace and the regulations and requirements for greenhouse gasses (GHG), zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV), and corporate average fuel economy (CAFE).”

2023 Subaru WRX STI, next-generation Subaru STI
photo credit: Competition Subaru

The global shift toward electrification is in high gear, and many automakers are talking about a fully electrified lineup by 2030. Subaru Corporation has been reluctant to embrace a fully electric lineup and believes that the Boxer engine coupled with hybrid battery technology is the best way to meet emissions and fuel economy standards.

But a lot changed when California reinstated its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales mandate.

“Today, we proudly reaffirm California’s longstanding authority to lead in addressing pollution from cars and trucks,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Our partnership with states to confront the climate crisis has never been more important. With today’s action, we reinstate an approach that for years has helped advance clean technologies and cut air pollution for people not just in California, but for the U.S. as a whole.”

Subaru Corporation sells nearly seventy percent of its global output in the U.S. and needs to meet much stricter emissions and fuel mileage standards in California. This will affect all its vehicles, and the STI was the first domino to fall.

Subaru couldn’t pour its limited resources into a new turbocharged STI and develop new electric technology simultaneously, and the STI had to go. The 2.4-liter turbocharged 2022 WRX was designed before the global tipping point shifted electrification into high gear.

Because California’s new ruling changed what Subaru can sell in one of its largest markets, it forced Subaru Corporation to explore “opportunities for the next-generation Subaru WRX STI, including electrification,” they said in the announcement.

The 2023 Subaru WRX STI is not coming to the U.S. or any global market. The greenhouse gas (GHG), zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV), and corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) are what killed the next-generation STI and why it’s never coming back.

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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: Competition Subaru


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Comments

Foolish foolish Subaru. Alas you suck up to California nut jobs and their worthless “leadership” in killing combustion powered engines because you bought the lies about greenhouse gasses and global warming. Shame on you. Don’t you dare ever put the name STI on any EV garbage.
Alright now. I'm as mad as anyone that we don't get the new STI but don't be spouting nonsense that global warming isn't real. It's scientifically verifiable and happening. Fucking nutjobs like you and other flat earthers are why I think maybe this whole WW3/nuclear holocaust wouldn't be such a bad idea.
Completely sad! I agree with you. EVs are actually harder on the environment, nickel manufacturing ravages areas, recycling of these batteries in 10 to 15 years, people need to research this before they get behind what socialist media tells you. I had high hopes for Subaru that they would maintain their vehicles without outside interference. Just a sign of the times I guess
You know it is not the market that is moving on its own, it is the regulations that forces the market to shift. Yet, the climate will still do whatever it wishes, like it did for so many millions of years.
Subaru announced in 2015 they were incorporating electrification in the STI, but it was at a time when the tools they had were more like beefing up a Prius (2014 Crosstrek Hybrid era). So with the massive technological leaps BEV’s have taken recently, such as electric cars that have almost double the power of similar ICE cars, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Subaru is focusing on taking the STI brand in this direction. I’m sure the work going into the STI E-RA (if it’s not just a marketing thing) is forming the foundation of the next generation of their electric vehicle platform (hopefully soon and much better and more capable than the one Toyota shoehorned them into). Ever since Yamaha announced a year ago that they were developing low weight high performance motors for vehicles I’ve been waiting to see what manufacturers they were going to partner with. Now with the STI E-RA using the Yamaha motors I’m hopeful the entire Subaru line will benefit.
If you live in the United States, you might wanna wait a bit. Come the mid terms and the 2024 elections, its very likely given the high gas prices and inflation burdens on the masses that new leadership with a pro domestic oil direction will restore a oil fueled US economy.
Well I was going to buy the next generation sti for my next car in 2 years. Looks like I'll never buy a subaru product in my life. I can't wait for subaru to become as irrelevant as mitsubishi after they axed the Evo. What should my next car be? C8 corvette, Nissan z, supra, golf r, mustang? I'll give my money to a company that listens to enthusiasts, not one that torments them.
you are evolving before time. that means u don't make a decision by urself. u just seem like puppets.. wherever you do has consequences.
Never mind all the arguments that CA. Cant I even power its own power needs during the hot summer months, or that its main electrical provider PG&E simply does not have the infrastructure to meet the needs of EV’s, and like the bullet train to know where project is a complete financial failure. The simple truth, is that if the US gets another pro domestic oil production President and gas returns to $2.75-$3.20 range, this whole pro green EV agenda goes away like a bad nightmare. With gas and inflation at a all time high, and the absolute failure of leadership at both the domestic and international level by the current US president, it will not be long before a complete 180 flip happens.
The last administration installed a Fed Reserve chief that announced they were taking a new stance on inflation to let it exceed the 2% limit they normally work to hold it to. That same guy also brokered a deal with the Saudis and OPEC to take millions of barrels of oil out of the supply chain to drive prices back up when they were at all time lows. This administration has made some mistakes but don't kid yourself about the other team. They all play for corporate interests and we're getting screwed by all of them.
Makes no sense. The platform was already set up with the new 22 wrx so im sure the sti was already developed by this point. All this for California. What a load of crap. Big mistake for subaru.
This is unbelievable. Seriously?! :mad:
I like how this article didn't mention anything about the STI engine failure lawsuits. I bet that had nothing to do with it, RIGHT!
The poor reaction from the terrible new body style and extremely underwhelming performance killed it
I wouldn't doubt that played a role. But, they'd never say that to the public.
Why should California and U.S. EPA set the course and standard for great automakers, when their own policies are self destructive in nature? All automakers should be able to see this, and following the rules set for them by the voices that yell the loudest, will only lead to their unfortunate demise.
Also reason they aren't releasing, everyone hates the new wrx and got horrible feedback and spinless subaru f*** themselves cuz the sti was also trash and not much different from the last.... so why bother releasing it, just more bs excuses for their failures
You probably have never owned one I’ve had 5 STI’s and have never found a competitor’s car to compete on price,space, performance,design or road holding Was looking forward to 23 model and was crushed when they discontinued. Will keep the one I have now, and suspect that the ev model will be stunning, but probably be expensive For decades the STI has always been the best value for money sports car … period