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The End of The Subaru EJ Engine: A Farewell

In 2020, Subaru announced the last production version of the EJ series motor that has been in their family for, well, awhile now. The EJ Engine came to the US in 2002 and the first Subaru STI model was brought to us in 2004.

The EJ Subaru Engine is well renowned for its distinctive rumble sound, its tuning potential and dominance in motorsports. Subaru’s flagship model the WRX and STI have all been powered by this engine series until 2015 when the WRX name dropped the EJ25 and added a BRZ variant of Subaru’s new motor the FA series. Meanwhile, the motorsports famous STI kept the tried and true EJ25 that has since released very capable variants like the S209 and Type RA specs. Sadly, this is the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. This one however, has no rumble.

As we wipe tears from our eyes and carry onward, we are able to recognize the 2020 Subaru STI as the final EJ series WRX/STI and it is both happy and sad. It’s exciting from all the rumors that we’ve heard such as the FA24 variant from the Ascent and Outback that would provide the same performance that the current gen WRX provides (in it’s own way) but with more displacement (FA20 = 2.0liter FA24 = 2.4liter).

If this turns to be true it could mean an entirely new platform that may be explored for enthusiasts like myself. If it flops, it could mean the end of a generation of oil sucking gear heads who’ve blown a motor or two. It could be a hybrid motor with an electrical motor since it seems that’s where the trends are going and Subaru has an entirely separate market to cater to.

We need to think of Subaru in this instance. We asked for a turbo BRZ, and they gave it to us but it was wrapped into a 4 door sedan and a WRX emblem was slapped on it. Granted, this platform is entirely respected with massive potential but it’s relatively new so we are still seeking reliable numbers above 500 ponies to the wheels. With that being said, the potential provided with corn (E85) fuel has shown that this motor is insanely capable when fed alternative fuel sources should the economies move toward that in the future. A corn fed STI with an FA24 sounds absolutely bonkers around the Nurburgring and on your way to Walmart to buy some deodorant or munchies.

That being said, the future of the STI is unknown but we are able to foreshadow the future of the WRX with its current state and position in their marketing lineup with the STI being their most expensive model next to the Tahoe rival, the Ascent. The 2020 STI is an homage to the famous and endlessly memed engine that enthusiasts will truly truly miss. The 2020 model has ramped it’s way up to three hundred and ten horsepower weighing in at three thousand fifty pounds giving it a power to weight ratio of about eleven pounds per horsepower.

Its base model price comes in right under $37,000 which is honestly reasonable for what you get when you jump in this car. Not only is it the farewell to one of the greatest motors of our time but it also has a state of the art all wheel drive system. A couple of ways to pick out the 2020 model versus the ones before it are its new wheels and the removal of its fog lights. The wheels are machined in a different fashion on certain spokes around the wheel that give it a distinctive look. The fog light bezels have lost their fog lights and they are now painted piano black with a mesh/grill type look molded into the plastic.

In closing, we have officially entered limbo in terms of what to expect for the future of the STI. I imagine we will have more of an idea at some point in 2020 as they approach launching the 2021 models but I’m not sure that we will have a 2021 STI as we quickly approach it later in the year. What we do know, is that Subaru has developed a highly capable new motor series known as the FA series. We saw them introduce this engine in 2012 along side Toyota to develop the FRS/BRZ/86 cars, then they waited 3 years and released it in the 2015 WRX only turbocharged, now it’s been 5 years for them to see the pros and cons of the motor. I’m hoping they release a really strong version of it for the next gen STI.

The EJ motor hasn’t changed much since 2002, but that might be why every person who owns one of these cars loves it so much. I’ve owned three WRX’s in my life, a currently own a 2015 with that is powered by the FA. My other two were 2003’s and they were powered by the EJ20. My current car is much faster, cozier, safer, and more efficient, but it doesn’t sound as good as my other WRX’s did, and I believe that is what we will miss the most from the EJ series. This is a farewell.

Check out Torque News Subaru Report and the stories of Denis Flierl who cover Subaru news stories at Torque News daily.

Also see: The New 2021 Subaru Complete Model Change Preview.

Alex Belauste reports Tesla cars and stories at Torque News. He has worked with the automotive industry for the last 18 years and has since grown very fond to the community. Alex has owned 16 different cars and writes automotive news based on research, his personal expertise and experience. Belauste has studied business at Oklahoma State University and has since started his entry into the professional automotive world. Follow Alex on Twitter at @Belauste and on Instagram. Search Torque News Tesla for more daily Tesla coverage from our expert reporters.


Bjames (not verified)    January 17, 2020 - 9:57AM

Actually, the EJ series came to the US in 1989 in the then-new Legacy platform. I've had several 1990s Legacy and Impreza cars with EJ22 engines.

The end of an era.

MTt (not verified)    January 18, 2020 - 10:28PM

In reply to by Deano (not verified)

Agreed, the earlier engines were good, but the EJ25 turbo engines were a disaster. They are just poorly designed and fail in the big ends and rings. Not a good engine at all and the team who designed it should be ashamed

Me (not verified)    January 17, 2020 - 11:17AM

Yes the EJ came in '89 but EJ22 was killed off by 2002 and WRX came around the same year. I think the author is simply saying that after adding to WRX and getting rid of EJ22, there wasn't much change at all until the FA. AVLS, PZEV, and some plastic intake manifolds were about it.

Arthur (not verified)    January 17, 2020 - 1:29PM

HUH? Where and when did Subaru say 2020 will be the last year of the STI EJ257 engine??? Japan will be seeing the last EJ20 in MY20 but no mention here in north america. Alex please direct us to a press release from Subaru explaining otherwise. It will make more sense to release the new engine in the STI as a early MY22 in the late summer of 2021. They are on a 7 year cycle. Thank you!

Iluvdrt (not verified)    January 17, 2020 - 2:11PM

The EJ has been around since the 1990 Legacy which replaced the outdated EA82. in fact, the Subaru Legacy still holds the 24 hour sustained speed record with the Legacy SS; a turbo charged EJ22 that was available in the US from 92-94.

2002 only brought to the US the WRX, and in 2004 the STi.

John Hartley (not verified)    January 17, 2020 - 10:21PM

In reply to by Iluvdrt (not verified)

iluvdirt The ej22t was in the Legacy Sport Sedan from 1991 through 1994, I own one each of those, a 1991 and a 1994. Closed deck blocks. Mt or at. There was also a Touring Wagon available with the ej22t during those years. My 91is so solid, 230,000mi. engine never been out of the car. Also own a 2010 STi, love 'em.

Julian (not verified)    January 17, 2020 - 2:35PM

What do you mean by it sounds bonkers when fed with corn fuel, what does it sound like? Is there a video demonstrating what it sounds like?

JJ (not verified)    January 17, 2020 - 6:52PM

The FA engine is highly superior, as will be the STI update I'm sure. 3 words...Nameless Muffler Deletes. Rumble restored.

Alexander (not verified)    January 18, 2020 - 12:33AM

In reply to by JJ (not verified)

1 it is not the mufflers that give subaru its rumble its the Header. The older EJ engines ran Unequal Length Headers giving the exhaust gases spaces causing a rumble noise. The new engines such as the FA20 in the WRX have a very different sound compared to even the MY19 STI as the new engines all have Equal Length Headers causing a smoother running exhaust gas thus reducing the rumble. The mufflers simply make the exhaust louder but does not give it a rumble.

JJ (not verified)    January 18, 2020 - 12:09PM

In reply to by JJ (not verified)

I'm well aware of the equal vs non equal headers guys. But as you all rush in to wish for the old school rumble, what I'm saying is the deletes on the FA do produce a similar sound. It's not a perfect match but it's definitely not just "louder" either. So what you have is a good sound while also having the benefits from a more efficient engine design. The desire to maintain rumble at the expense of efficiency makes no sense and Subaru evidently agrees. Hey, I like the EJ rumble too, but it just doesn't make sense all these years later.

Bob (not verified)    January 17, 2020 - 10:08PM

That article is wrong, ej didn't come to the US in 2002, it came out in 1989 in the 1990 legacy. Even the turbo ej came out in 1992 I think in the turbo legacy.

Jeff (not verified)    January 17, 2020 - 11:24PM

Where's your proof? And did your mom help you with this article without fact checking first? That's how fake news gets started the EJ will never die unless it runs out of gas first.

Lex (not verified)    January 18, 2020 - 1:07PM

Good Riddance these sucked donkey balls. Ive wondered forever ppl even liked subarus and why they pretended they were good cars with these awful engines!

Buddy (not verified)    July 31, 2020 - 7:22AM

In reply to by Lex (not verified)

yep got a 2008 inpreza with73k heads are leaking , power is way down and $2k to fix. Always a weak engine. No wonder you have to turbo. Love the car hate the engine.

Glenn (not verified)    September 5, 2021 - 10:57AM

Being one of the 1st super mechanics in Saint Louis area this area I had 1 of the 1st loyal model 87 through drove it for 450000 miles with an automatic it's a magic never had a problem and I drove it harder than you guys could ever expect I drove 60 miles to work every day 1 way and hammer down all the way it never gave up the ghost so go back to those motors they never gave it up I worked on them never pulled them apart They didn't have to come apart because they were solid internally Even the earlier His motors were geared to gear and those were awesome never gave up much neither on them only problem was a very 1st ones where you had to shim the cylinder jugs necessarily your judge that was a problem Yeah Subaru also needs to go back to automatic transmissions like the loyal head forget the stupid CBT transmissions they are no good too much leg junk that's coming from a 40 year old Subaru mechanic not 40 years old but 40 year old Subaru mechanic

Nate (not verified)    October 11, 2021 - 12:52PM

Good riddance. My short relationship with this engine was in a 2008 STi that I purchased new. It was a blast when it ran. But that wasn't very often. The older forged versions faired much better. It's not a coincidence that if you Google "ringland failure" most of the results are hits for this very engine.

Manny Massas (not verified)    November 9, 2021 - 4:12PM

The EJ seriers definitely came out in 89 and the were Naturally aspirated but they did have turbocharged versions early on and In the mid 90s we had turbo charged versions in the US. In the states I've seen the early ones use 2.2s and then late late 90s 2.5 except small turbos which were 2.0 but definitely alot of 2.5 turbos as well. They come sohc, dohc and they've even made smaller engines like 1.8 and as small as 1.5 in certain markets. But definitely 32 years of ej production. And the reason certain ones have a different rumble is because they came with un equal length headers that's what makes the unique rumble. But now they like to use equal length headers so it sounds like regular inline 4 cylinders. However you can always put a set of unequal length headers on even the fa seriers and it will sounds just like an ej with same headers.