Why a new version of Subaru’s WRX STI is at least three years away

2017 Subaru WRX STI
Subaru just launched a brand new Impreza, which signals that changes are coming to the hot-rodded WRX STI. A new report coming out of Australia sheds insight into what we can expect from the model.

The 2017 Impreza is built upon a new, modular platform that will ultimately be found under nearly every member of the Subaru lineup. However, Australian website Motoring has learned the refreshed WRX STI that’s right around the corner won’t make the shift to the new platform because it won’t be entirely new.

Instead, the updated WRX STI will be a face-lifted version of the current car (pictured). It will consequently use an evolution of the familiar turbocharged, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine tuned to pump out over 305 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque. A handful of visual updates will help set the updated model apart from its predecessor, though the tweaks will be discreet at best.

Subaru points out that the current-generation WRX STI is only a couple of years old, so it will stick around for another three or four years. Engineers need time to fully redesign the model.

“It’s not the cost, but everything goes through a production cycle. You can’t shorten that production cycle, there’s many things to consider such as durability testing and likewise. It’s not as simple as taking the turbo engine out of one car and presto, off you go. You’re talking about complete suspension tune and a development team. It’s a big process,” explained a senior engineer who asked to remain anonymous.

The Japanese brand is under pressure to deliver a WRX STI that’s both sporty and efficient. When it finally arrives, the next-generation model is expected to offer a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain for the first time in the nameplate’s illustrious history. An earlier report claims the drivetrain will provide roughly 320 horsepower, but full technical specifications aren’t available yet.

Look for the updated Subaru WRX STI to debut in the coming months. It will land in showrooms in time for the 2018 model year.

Updated 1/19/2017 by Ronan Glon: Corrected an error pertaining to the next WRX’s projected debut date.

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