Rallycross and vape enthusiasts everywhere were dealt a blow on Friday afternoon in the form of a press release from Subaru. Five sentences is all it took for the Subaru media team to declare there will not be an STI follow-up to coincide with the release of the latest WRX, in an effort to revitalize the brand as a major EV player.
Increasing demands for cleaner emissions have once again fallen on the consumer, as Subaru declares it is "exploring opportunities" as it relates to the next generation of STI-branded vehicles.
Heroes Get Remembered, But Legends Never Die
The news out of New Jersey marks the latest performance vehicle to get the chop, joining the Aventador, Evora, and AMG GT R, as carmakers race to provide the next line of performance oriented vehicles, sans gas-powered drivetrain.
Read in full, the statement says:
"CAMDEN, N.J., March 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 (CAFÉ).
As part of that effort, Subaru Corporation is exploring opportunities for the next generation Subaru WRX STI, including electrification. In the meantime, a next generation internal combustion engine WRX STI will not be produced based upon the new WRX platform.
The Subaru WRX STI and the STI brand represent the zenith of Subaru's performance vehicles exemplifying Subaru's unique DNA and rally heritage. As we look to the future, we also look forward to incorporating the essence of STI into our next generation of vehicles."
The all-new WRX debuted to less-than-stellar reviews, as a result of its newest plastic cladding, ever-climbing MSRP, and the general feeling that it was no longer worthy of the WRX marque. In recent years, the aging STI bones would receive more and more scrutiny, as it tried to justify a hefty price tag, for what essentially was a 15-year-old powertrain, coupled with stagnant performance figures.
It will be interesting to see what vehicle will bear the STI name, although we know for sure it won't be gas-powered.
WRX STI: Remembering An Icon
The Impreza, more specifically, the WRX, forged its place in rally history early on after its debut in 1994. Beginning what we now know as a dynasty, the STI tuned Impreza WRC model placed second in 1994, before winning Subaru back-to-back-to-back manufacturer's titles in 1995, 1996, and 1997.
Over the years, Subaru would rack up 47 WRC wins as a result of STI and the WRX, making them the winningest Japanese manufacturer in rally history. Receiving help along the way from legendary drivers such as: Colin McRae, Richard Burns, Petter Solberg, and Toshihiro Arai, Subaru has solidified itself as one of the most respected teams in the WRC scene.
The discontinuation of the STI further shrinks the rally-inspired street car segment, placing the weight of gearheads everywhere, squarely on the shoulders of the Ford Fiesta ST, Hyundai i20 N, and Toyota GR Yaris.