A report coming out of Australia indicates Subaru will join the ranks of automakers that are turning to electrification in a bid to boost both performance and efficiency when it hits the reset button on its WRX STI flagship.
The next installment of the WRX STI will be built on a new modular architecture called Subaru Global Platform (SPG) that it will share with both the four- and five-door versions of the much tamer Impreza, among other models. Surprisingly, Subaru’s rally-bred sports sedan could adopt a hybrid drivetrain made up of a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four engine and an electric motor.
Subaru hasn’t decided how far it will push the hybrid envelope. The electric motor could simply help the flat-four spin all four wheels, or it could be mounted at the rear of the car in order to spin the rear wheels by itself. Regardless, the drivetrain will use a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, and it will be tuned to generate approximately 321 horsepower, a roughly 20-pony increase over the current model. Whether an enthusiast-approved manual transmission will be offered is up in the air at this point.
The WRX STI has never been a car for motorists looking to keep a low profile, and the new model isn’t about to break with tradition. It will stand out from the regular Impreza thanks to motorsport-inspired styling cues such as a deep front bumper, flared fenders on all four corners, carbon fiber trim pieces, an oversized wing on the trunk lid, and a huge air diffuser.
Previewed by close-to-production concepts in Tokyo and in Los Angeles, the next generation of the Subaru Impreza is expected to make its official debut at a major North American auto show early next year, and it will land in showrooms as a 2017 model next summer. With that time frame in mind, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the WRX STI bow in the second half of next year and go on sale as a 2018 model.