Is Toyota Helping Subaru Design the next WRX STI?
The nameplates "WRX" and "STI" mean a lot to any Subaru fans. These are two of the most hallowed badges in the company's nomenclature and have been affixed to what arguably are some of the greatest performance cars that have ever been made. It's been believed previously that the current version of the WRX STI will be the last, with even a "Final Edition" (pictured up at the top) being produced. But, word on the street suggests otherwise...
Toyota's stock in Subaru has recently increased from 16% to 20%. This is a very interesting development, especially considering Toyota's renewed interest in making sports cars. This has created the rumour that Toyota will be lending their expertise to Subaru to help develop a new version of the WRX STI. Japanese automotive site Best Car has been the main proponent of this rumour, describing (in the best Google translated Japanese that my browser can accomplish) the development of "the most comfortable AWD model" between the two companies as a result of Toyota's increased stock in Subaru.
The next WRX STI will supposedly use an updated version of the 2.0 turbo flat four (part of the updates meaning the engine will be more powerful), whilst retaining its 6 speed manual transmission. There's also rumoured to be a "Super AWD" system being installed in the car - what that means I have no idea, but knowing Subaru's experience with creating great AWD systems, it should be an absolute corker of a drivetrain.
One of the more interesting rumours regarding the next WRX STI is that it will abandon the four door format of previous iterations of the car to go back to a two door like the famed 22B Impreza WRX STI of old. With nostalgia being all the rage these days, I can certainly see a business case for that, especially if it's going to be developed as an all-out, specialist performance car.
Of course, this is all hearsay at the moment. Things could change very markedly between now and the (once again) rumoured 2021-2022 release date of the new car. But if it is true that the WRX STI lineage is going to be continued via the involvement of Toyota and possibly also in the format of a 22B style two door, I have a feeling that many car enthusiasts will be very happy.