Subaru Kills the Fifth-Generation WRX STI

Subaru announced late on March 11 that they would not be manufacturing the Subaru WRX STI for this current generation. After months of teasing new WRX options and even releasing what was at the time believed to be a concept WRX STI, Subaru delivers a heavy shock to fans. 

The official statement doesn’t say much about the future of the Subaru WRX STI and what comes next for the 2022 Subaru WRX lineup. But one thing is clear: there won’t be a fifth-gen model, and there more than likely won’t be another WRX STI with a purely internal-combustion engine.

No fifth generation for the WRX STI, for now

Subaru is keeping a tight lip when it comes to definitive plans for future STI cars. The statement says only that “a next-generation internal combustion engine WRX STI will not be produced based upon the new WRX platform.” The reason for this sudden and heartbreaking change?

“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).”

Subaru U.S. Media Center

Is Subaru suggesting that the next WRI STI will be a fully electric vehicle? It may follow in the slower, more modest footsteps of the Subaru Crosstrek and try its luck as a hybrid.

There’s also no mention in Subaru’s statement about when to expect a new WRX STI. If a new STI does not emerge in the fifth generation, which was just released this year, fans may be waiting years before they see the familiar rear wing again in a showroom. For now, all fans can do is speculate—and hope for the best outcome.

Rear angle view of a blue 2020 Subaru WRX STI
2021 Subaru WRX STI | Subaru

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A brief history of the WRX STI

From the iconic rear wing to its rally-car roots, the WRX STI (Subaru Tecnica International) has held the hearts of car fans for decades. Jalopnik reminisced that while the first true WRX STI landed on the scene in 1994, piloted by Colin McRae in the World Rally Championship, the STI name wasn’t available in the US for purchase until 2004. Its 300 horsepower and kitschy yet legendary golden wheels made it a standout among the compact-car class.

The WRX STI started as a four-door sedan and later transformed into the classic hot hatchback that gained a cult following. Subaru discontinued the WRX STI hatchback body style in 2015. The model hasn’t changed much since then, and fans were eager to see styling and performance specs for a fifth-generation WRX STI.

If you’ve had your heart set on a classic Subaru WRX STI but were holding out for the latest model, you may be stuck shopping current models.

Dark front view of a 2020 Subaru WRX STI in blue. Only the front end and headlights of the car are visible
2020 Subaru WRX STI | Subaru

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What will happen to Subaru’s STI brand?

It’s unclear from Subaru’s statement what will happen with the Subaru WRX STI and other STI performance vehicles. More information may be released in the coming weeks, but there’s one brief phrase that jumps out: “we also look forward to incorporating the essence of STI into our next generation of vehicles.”

Could this mean a possible future of other STI vehicles in the Subaru lineup? A BRZ STI? Crosstrek STI? Forester STI? With a lot of things up in the air, anything could happen.

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