The Next Subaru WRX STI Will Likely be Battery-Powered

Subaru recently announced that it is killing the fifth-generation WRX STI, choosing not to produce the beloved high-performance STI variant on the all-new 2022 WRX platform. The company chose not to share too many specific details about why the choice was made, other than a focus on regulations and requirements, or what would happen with any current plans for the 2022 STI.

So, what does the future hold for the Subaru WRX STI? It’s anyone’s guess at the moment—and we’re guessing that it’ll hold batteries.

Will we see a Subaru WRX STI Hybrid within the next few years?

Currently, Subaru offers one hybrid vehicle option: the Crosstrek Hybrid. This partial EV crossover has been a nice addition for consumers who are looking for a convenient plug-in vehicle that can haul some cargo and make it over nasty potholes on the way to work, but it’s no sports car. Between the engine and the dual motors combined, the Crosstrek Hybrid makes only 148 horsepower. 

Can Subaru use this relatively weak ancestry of PHEV performance to influence a WRX STI Hybrid sports car? We can only hope it has more surprises tucked up its sleeve.

Close-up on the front right wheel of a blue 2020 Subaru WRX STI parked on asphalt
2020 Subaru WRX STI | Subaru

RELATED: Is the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Worth the Luxury Price?

Will Subaru turn its WRX STI into a full EV?

If Subaru doesn’t opt for a gas/electric WRX STI PHEV, but has halted all production of a gas-only STI model, that likely leaves the door open for one option: a fully electric sports car. 

The all-electric sports-car field isn’t lonely. With current options from Audi, Porsche, and Tesla, an electric STI would have some stirring competition. 

There isn’t a single EV readily available in Subaru’s stable, and the 2023 Subaru Solterra isn’t likely to get sports-car fans’ hearts pounding. As interesting as the Solterra may be, it’s no more a performance vehicle than the loved but dowdy Forester.

In a recent article, MotorTrend drew a connection between the sunsetting of the conventional WRX STI and the announcement of Subaru’s E-RA—the brand’s all-new fully electric all-wheel drive racing car. 

It would make sense to pause the development of a road-ready high-performance EV in favor of the production of an electric track car. That would give Subaru the freedom to explore and experiment with a different platform and the potential for major power. Then, it could apply what works to the development of a possible electric WRX STI.

Silver 2020 Subaru WRX STI drifting around a tight corner, throwing up dust and dirt behind its rear wheels
2020 Subaru WRX STI | Subaru

Will Subaru Tecnica International compete with other electric sports cars?

The EV field has been growing quickly over the last few years and is showing no signs of slowing down. That means that automakers have to keep up or let themselves fall behind. If Subaru is intending to compete with electric sports cars like the Tesla Model S, Audi e-tron, or the Porsche Taycan, it’ll need to do some serious work. And it may just be able to pull it off.

Still, there’s no denying that diehard Subaru fans are disappointed with the WRX STI news. Can Subaru recapture the love with new high-powered EV options?


RELATED: The Subaru Forester EV Could Be Lightyears Away