Racing's red flag has dropped, for now, on one of the auto industry's most beloved performance cars.
Subaru, citing the advent of electrification and other environmental regulations, said Friday it will not produce a WRX STI with an internal combustion engine based on the recently launched WRX platform.
The fifth-generation WRX, introduced for the 2022 model year, is the first version of the sporty compact sedan built on Subaru's Global Platform.
The WRX, with U.S. deliveries of 27,141, up 28 percent in 2021, is the top-selling compact sporty car with one of the most loyal fan bases across the auto industry. The WRX STI is produced and sold in far more limited volumes.
"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 gases, zero emissions vehicles, and Corporate Average Fuel Economy," the company said in a statement.
Subaru said it is exploring opportunities for the next-generation WRX STI, including electrification, while "incorporating the essence of STI into our next generation of vehicles."
Subaru's high-performance flagship STI brand, which stands for Subaru Tecnica International, was introduced more than 30 years ago, first on the Legacy in Japan. The WRX STI, introduced in 1994 in Japan, has become one of the most celebrated rally cars. STI cars enjoy a cultlike following and almost always hold their value well.
The WRX STI debuted in U.S. showrooms in 2004 with a turbocharged 300-hp engine, six-speed manual transmission, all-wheel drive, STI suspension and Brembo brakes.
In 2018, Subaru added the WRX STI Type RA limited-run model to the U.S. lineup. And the most recent STI ended up going out with a bang, of sorts. Subaru finally introduced the 341-hp S209 for the U.S. in 2019.