Stricter emissions regulations, particularly in Europe, could lead to the end of the WRX STI as we know it.

That’s according to David Dello Stritto, Subaru’s sales and marketing head in Europe.

Speaking with Dutch website AutoRAI, Stritto said the WRX STI’s current format of a 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-4 cannot continue due to emissions and that Subaru is gauging market conditions to determine the best route to take for the successor model.

“Subaru is looking carefully at market developments and makes its future plan with this information in mind,” he said. “CO2 emissions are becoming increasingly important and the current 2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine with turbo can simply not exist in the future.”

Engine downsizing is one possibility but the more likely scenario would be Subaru implementing hybrid technology of some sort. In this way the automaker will be able to maintain or even boost performance while reducing emissions.

2018 Subaru WRX STI

2018 Subaru WRX STI

Unfortunately, the transition will mean we’ll have to go without a WRX STI in showrooms for a certain period, Stritto warned.

“We do not say a definitely goodbye to the WRX STI, the car belongs to Subaru, but there will be a period where a WRX STI temporarily will not exist,” he said. “There will really be a new WRX STI in the future, but it takes time.”

What isn’t clear is whether Stritto was referring to both the WRX STI and the tamer WRX, or just the former.

We’ll remind you that Subaru used last month’s 2017 Tokyo Motor Show to present a sport sedan concept that very likely previews the next-generation WRX.

Stay tuned for an update.