The next Subaru WRX STI will be a more emissions-friendly model, according to Subaru Europe’s sales and marketing manager David Dello Stritto.
Speaking with Dutch website AutoRAI, Dello Stritto confirmed that the WRX STI’s 2.5-litre turbocharged boxer engine “can simply not exist in the future”. That engine is likely to be replaced by a plug-in hybrid.
The addition of electric motors opens up several possibilities for the model, including the option of electrically driven rear wheels or keeping the brand’s signature boxer engine as the combustion element of a plug-in hybrid.
The hot hybrid Subaru will not be introduced soon, however, with a hiatus in the timeline of the model as the current version exits the brand’s product line-up, while a hybrid powertrain for the next version is developed.
“There will really be a new WRX STI in the future, but it takes time.” Dello Stritto said. “We’re not giving up on 'fun to drive'. The new Impreza delivers this fun in a different, more sensible, CO2 emissions-compliant way.”
Although Dello Stritto did not confirm explicitly that the next WRX STI would be a hybrid, he said “Subaru is looking carefully at market developments and makes its future plan with this information in mind”, hinting at the global push for electrification by both the car industry and global legislators.
No timespan has been given for when the electrified WRX STI will arrive, but its future aesthetic was signposted by the Viziv Performance concept of the Tokyo motor show this year. Details of the concept's powertrain were not disclosed, except that the model featured a boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive.
The new Subaru Global Platform (SGP) architecture will be the underpinnings for the future WRX; the modular platform has been engineered with hybrids in mind, featuring a protected space for batteries and electric motors. An electric Subaru model is scheduled for launch in 2020, although this will likely be a more mass-market offering than the niche WRX STI.