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Subaru STI shock: New WRX won't get a fire-breathing performance hero as brand shelves all petrol-powered STI variants

The new Subaru WRX won't get an STI variant. (image credit: @spdesignsest)

The new Subaru WRX won't get a fire-breathing STI variant, with the Japanese car maker shelving its performance sub-brand until electrification arrives.

While the STI brand hasn't been killed off entirely, it won't return with petrol power again. Instead, the brand says it will be reborn as an electric powerhouse.

But that's bad news for the just-released WRX, with Subaru confirming it won't be getting an STI performance hero in this generation at all. Instead, it says STI will return with the next-generation vehicle, with electrification.

"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)," the brand said in a statement.

"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."

It has been thought that the new WRX STI would use the turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder boxer currently found in the US-only Ascent SUV. According to multiple reports from Japan the new engine was tipped to make as much as 295kW.

Instead, the WRX will be the only power hero in the family, for now...

"This is a clear statement of the future performance direction of Subaru Corporation and Subaru Tecnica International. The prospect of what the Subaru Tecnica International engineering team can do with an electrified platform ensures an exhilarating future for Subaru fans, and we look forward to sharing with you what STI reveal next," says Blair Read, Managing Director Subaru Australia.