Why The Next Subaru WRX STI Will Probably Be All Electric

Subaru unveiled the next-gen WRX to mixed reactions among rallying fans and enthusiasts alike. On the one hand, the 2022 WRX features a stiffer architecture and a rear stabilizer bar mounted to the body instead of the sub-frame, one of the surefire ingredients for better handling, a comfier ride on smooth tarmac, and a more direct driving feel. It also has track-tuned suspension right out of the box, a subtle hint to its WRC-conquering DNA inherited from its glorious Impreza-based predecessors.

But on the other hand, the new WRX's rugged styling attributes immediately drew the consternation of hardcore Impreza fans. We wouldn't mind the tacky, plastic body cladding on the new WRX if only the steering were more communicative to driver inputs, something that Slashgear's Victoria Scott made clear in her first drive of Subaru's sportiest four-door sedan. Still, a lot of the excitement centers around the much-awaited STI variant of the new WRX, a genuine fire-breathing, rally-ready variant dressed in World Rally Blue paint and STI Gold wheels, all riding on the new WRX's Subaru Global Platform.

It all sounds good, but the idea of an all-new WRX STI could be just a pipedream. Are you ready for an all-electric STI, or does nothing compare to the proven ingredients of a Boxer engine, symmetrical all-wheel drive, and a six-speed manual stick?

Subaru scraps the new WRX STI

The buzz surrounding a new WRX STI became viral enough for Subaru to issue an official press release to address the matter, and the news isn't good. According to Subaru, the company "is focused on how our future sports and performance cars should evolve to meet the needs of the changing marketplace." Moreover, the automaker is concerned with CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) and greenhouse gas regulations, which are possibly the main reasons why Subaru remains coy when questioned about releasing a new STI.

But to put all rumors to rest, Subaru laid the final nail in the coffin by saying it will not produce a next-gen WRX STI based on the automaker's Subaru Global Platform. However, Subaru is aware that the WRX and STI branding are part of its storied and illustrious heritage, so it's looking into electrification to explore the future of STI (Subaru Tecnica International). This is good news if you fancy the idea of driving an electric rally car; bad news if you're holding off on the new WRX in anticipation of a new STI.

If you look at it from another angle, an electrified WRX STI is not far from reality. Subaru already has the Solterra electric crossover arriving at dealerships soon after multiple delays (per Torque News), and its e-Subaru Global Platform (shared with Toyota and the bZ4X electric SUV) is ripe for some STI wizardry. Subaru also revealed an STI concept version of the Solterra at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon in January, together with a luscious STI E-RA electric sports car that Subaru is developing to break the current Nürburgring lap record. The Japanese automaker claims the STI E-RA (Electric-Record Attempt) is a "motorsport study" of a near-future STI concept.

From the looks of things, Subaru won't be making an STI model of the new WRX, but it doesn't mark the end of the STI. Before you know it, it could return with a bang and possibly with a new lap record under its belt.