Subaru on Friday announced that the current-generation Subaru WRX won't get a higher-performance STI model for this generation.
The reason? The company is examining how "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," Subaru said in a statement.
As part of that shift, the next STI won't come off the platform of the latest WRX, which just arrived earlier this year. While the new WRX rides on a version of the Subaru Global Platform that serves everything from the Impreza compact sedan to Ascent mid-size crossover, Subaru says it is farther afield of the Impreza platform than it has ever been. The rear structure is stiffer, and Subaru uses four-times as much body adhesive to improve improve front lateral rigidity by 14% and overall torsional rigidity by 28%. Apparently, only the WRX will benefit from those changes.
However, it doesn't appear the STI will fade away as the company said it is exploring opportunities for the next STI, including electrification. The company also said it also looks "forward to incorporating the essence of STI into our next generation of vehicles," so perhaps the rally-bred STI lineup will expand or influence other vehicles.
Subaru Solterra STI concept
Earlier this year the company gave a strong suggestion of the form that will take—in the debut of an STI E-RA road and racing concept, and in the display of a Solterra STI concept.
The news comes as a shock as we expected the next STI to be revealed any time now after we drove the WRX earlier this year. We expected a possible bump in horsepower from the 310 of the last model, the use of those adaptive dampers, and improved handling based on the changes to the WRX platform.
Perhaps the move explains the addition of the GT model atop the 2022 WRX lineup. The GT will feature adjustable dampers, a first for the WRX, an updated continuously variable automatic transmission the company calls the Subaru Performance Transmission, a transmission cooler, and Recaro bucket seats. For the time being, that will be the best performing WRX.