With the launch of the fourth generation Subaru Impreza, the Japanese company will separate the Impreza model from the WRX and STI variants. Whilst the new 2012 Subaru Impreza naturally aspirated models will go on sale as soon as supply production from Japan is sorted, the WRX and STI variants will continue to be sold in the third generation shape for the forceable future.

We believe the main reason is to create differentiation between the two models so that the WRX and STI variants can earn their status as unique sport models and not just halo models for the Impreza.

The other reason is the new 2.0-litre boxer engine (pictured above), which Subaru currently has no plans to turbocharge. This means the EJ25 turbocharged engine (pictured below) currently in the WRX, STI, Forester XT/S-Edition and Liberty, is going to last a while longer before a replacement is found. The EJ design architecture is now over 20 years old but has been extensively modernised over the years and can still keep up and even outdo its competitors.

Speaking to CarAdvice in New York, Subaru’s Impreza Product General Manager, Mr Akihide Takeuchi, said work on the replacement turbocharged engine has commenced but would not give any further details. He did confirm that it will not be based on the EJ25 and will not simply be a turbocharged version of the new boxer engine.

He said that the new boxer engine was designed with fuel efficiency and performance in naturally-aspirated application as top priority, making its design architecture less suitable for a turbocharger.

Mr Takeuchi said that a decision on the future platform of the WRX and STI was due very soon. Talk of separation between the Impreza and its sport derivatives makes us wonder if we might see a two-door WRX/STI model in the future.

On the surface this may sound like bad news for WRX/STI fans but it can indeed mean that future models will be built from the ground up to be sports cars as oppose to just being an Impreza with performance bits.

In related news, talk of a hybrid Impreza is still on-going with Mr Takeuchi admitting that “hybrid is very  important” as his company continues to study the technology for viability.

Perhaps the next generation Impreza WRX/STI models will be turbocharged hybrids? Only time will tell. Let us know if you’d love to own a two-door WRX/STI!

  • Alexander

    A simple motor assist hybrid system (like Honda’s) with a manual gearbox wouldn’t detract from the drive experience too much as it wouldn’t be noticed by the driver until the engine turns off at the lights. It would add power while improving economy. Sounds like a decent idea…

    • Klev

      How about a 3 door WRX?STi for 2013? (That is, a 2 door hatch.)

  • Wd

    It would great if this means Subaru is heading in the same direction as Renault. Extra special track cars compared to halo models.

    • bobin

      good for the enthusiasts with plenty of cash, bad for overall range sales. Halo cars are a simple and effective way to sell lots of base models of the same variant. just like running a WRC car is first about marketing, secondly about rally.

  • davie

    Subaru once (in the 90’s) had a successful strategy by building a cheap innofensive impreza sedan/hatch model and then placing a reasonably-priced but powerful turbo charged model at the top.

    The whole ranged benefited sales-wise from the halo car association and in turn, the WRX’s development costs were kept down through use of shared parts.

    WRX won award after award including motor magazines bang-for-your-buck award 3 years running.

    To be fair, the WRX did get some criticism from journo’s who thought it felt “cheap”

    Other than the engine-sharing issue mentioned, the announcement above makes little sense to me. It suggests that the non-turbo impreza’s will continue to be designed and styled for fat-america and continue to get worse and worse.

    The WRX meanwhile will just end up costing more in future.

    • G

      That is the downside to the old approach – the ‘cheap’ feel. I had a brief look at the Evo X but the VRX interior just let it down. Prestige marks don’t seem to suffer from this as much because even the base model interiors are of a much higher quality.

      • G


        • Denzo

          Your a dickhead.

          • Jasmo


  • gjjjjjj

    why buy a WRX or STI now when we knoe a new one is coming?

    • Robert

      You could probably save a pretty penny for a car that is still gonna perform like an animal

    • dadar

      Why buy anything at all then?
      A new one is always gonna come.
      Pfft…. *shakes head*

  • ZeOwner

    It’s not coming any time soon by the sounds of it. Plus the MY11 STI/WRX look very mean with the bodykits. Probably the best looking since the 03-05 STIs and the original.

  • Justin

    The last of the 07′ model before the new one came out was better looking than the bug eye. If there is a 2 door impreza, what does that mean for the toybaru sports car?

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      The “Toybaru sports car” you are referring to is RWD, Subaru Australia has said on many occasions that it will not sell a RWD car here. More on this tomorrow.

      • Jean

        I think this direction gives them time to work on a 4WD version which will be the new WRX.

      • Showtime

        It’s a shame that Subaru Australia has this “AWD only” motto, but I suppose they built the entire brand here based on that. However, it really limits them on the amount of cars Subaru can sell here, such the Trezia (FWD light car) and the upcoming ‘Toyobaru’ (RWD).

      • Denzo

        Subaru say a lot of things mate, but heaps of people change their minds all the time.

        when I bought my MY03 WRX, brand new the guy swore there was not going to be a Club Spec coming for this new 2G model.. 3 weeks later I drove [ast the show room with the friggin car in the window..

  • Hector

    The WRX does “feel” cheap because it is cheap in the first place. However, you cannot argue with its performance credentials. Just look at the 0-100, quarter mile and track times of these “cheap” vehicles. The performance numbers (and vehicle sales) speak for themselves. Looks are subjective and for every 100,000 people that believe the WRX is ugly/hideous there is one that believes the car looks good and these two characteristics (performance numbers and unusual/odd styling) have made the WRX the successful car it has been/is currently/will be for the forseeable future.

  • PoisonEagle

    Umm, how does it do WRX/STi any justice to keep the old, ugly bodystyle? If anything they are the hero cars of the Impreza brand, and deserve much better.

  • Vince

    Damnit I was just starting to like th current WRX/Sti as well. Bring back the 22B!!

  • j

    But the JDM WRX is powered by the EJ20

  • Gidge

    I’d love a spiritual successor to the 22B.

    Just as long as Subaru keeps the WRX and the STi all wheel drive. I’ve got no problem with a rear wheel drive Subaru sports car but it should not wear the WRX badge or replace the WRX

  • Nick K

    Subaru… How clear it is that you are a small under capitalised manufacturer. Your AWD system is great as are your boxer engines, not so hot is your styling, interior presentation, fuel economy, lack of fuel saving autos and wide availability of your great boxer diesel. What a shame, you have greatness in the palm of your hand but just can’t join the dots.

    • Redback

      Pretty much sums it up…

    • hahaha

      “great as your boxer engines” so long as you rebuild them every 80K and upgrade the clutches every 60k

      • MrEs

        You’re an idiot, my WRX with ~240kw@the engine has 180,000KMs and is still on the original clutch.

        I know people with both stock and modified WRXs with 300,000Kms on an original unopened engine.

      • Subaru WRX Van

        I have had many Subarus, I run them all day, 50,000km a year is a mild year, one year reached in excess of 120,000km.
        I have had many of my Subarus clock over 600,000km without a rebuild or clutch. One hit the 800,000km mark.
        There was constant minor work done on them, as expected when a vehicle is run almost non stop.
        My Subarus have always outlasted several replacements of colleagues cars.
        The Mitsubishis were spending more time in the workshop thne on the road, and were constantly being thrown out for scrap.
        My Subarus were bought by friends, and all are still going, but at a more realistic family usage. None have had to be rebuilt.
        I suspect the way you drive it has something to do with your 80,000km. Any other make of car would probably not make 40,000km with similar driving.

      • Nick K

        Subarus generally are reliable and the drivetrain lasts for 100s of thousands of Ks.

    • davie

      All 4 the mediocrity

  • Richo

    I think people will be annoyed that a $20k base impreza has a nicer interior then their $60k plus WRX STi

  • Redback

    Interesting news regarding the engine for the new WRX/STi.

    Perhaps the new models (when they’re released) will be based on an AWD version of the FT86 chassis, using a turbo’d configuration of that car’s motor?

    Press reports indicate the entirely new FT86 motor will run Toyota’s direct injection technology and that Yamaha are doing the heads.

    Based on other collaborations between Toyota and Yamaha, it’s entirely possible the new engine would be good for 170kW+ in NA form straight off the showroom floor.

    If Subaru add their turbo expertise to that, they could have a pretty potent powerplant.

    Hope it happens…

  • paul84

    I completely understand if the STI is a 2 door. But i hope the ‘Bang for Buck’ Rexxie stays 4 door.

  • poor man’s porche

    please bring back the original pre 2000 colin macrae winning classic impreza shape and mechanics. this is the true subaru which ruled and was designed to perform. they havent changed the porche design. if it aint broke, why they ever tried to fix it?

  • http://caradvice OSU811

    yes Subaru seems to just miss the mark sometimes!
    eg, the boxer diesel should be available with the 5sp auto at least!, I know they say the CVT cant handle the torque, but if the 5sp can handle a STI and 3.6 and GT liberty, then surely it would be an easy bold in job for the diesel with minimal re tuning for the diesel power delivery!

    • Nick K

      OSU811… I agree should not be too hard to do but it seems that Subaru’s engineering resources are thin on the ground so obvious engineering work is not done… really frustrating stuff as I love Subaru’s AWD and boxer engines.

  • andronicus

    Well if this means that they will come up with a different design to the just unveiled Impreza then I am all for it.

    Pity though, was interested to see how the new Impreza shape looked kitted out in WRX form, wouldve made it half decent I think. Now we are just left with blandness.

  • Denzo

    I bought a MY99, MY03, MY08 and MY09.

    But everytime I walk past a MY99 I still smile. Awesome car. if it was brand new i would have bought another one this year.

    i went to the dark side with a GOLF R this time, but I maybe back in the Subie stable soon..

    • enrico

      How does the golf perform compared to your past subaru.

  • Klev

    How about a 3 door WRX/STI for 2013? (That is, a 2 door hatch.)

  • neverendingmods

    Bring back a FLAGSHIP 2-door STi that is leaps and bounds ahead of a base model WRX like the 22B was. The STi should be the flagship and performance exclamation point for Subaru. In the last 6yrs, the WRX has crept too close to the STi in terms of performace for the dollar. STi is a statement of “Subaru Technica International” and should prove it in raw performance and stripped of creature comforts like multi drive modes and excessive sound deadening and interior mood lighting. It’s a frakin RALLY car people. Make it look, sound, and perform like one.. My 06 STi has one mode, PERFORMANCE.

  • jflo

    I must be in the minority, for I love the present body style on the wrx. I hope they don’t change it any time soon since I’m hurtin to buy one.

  • http://googgle Max1

    Jflo im with yuo the wxr body style dont need to be changed. It is untouchable on streets. Subaru is the best

  • enrico drummond

    If the new WRX and STI models are geared towards the size and look of the Fiesta S2000 then good. It won’t be to much of a change in style and we can may still be able to afford future models which may end up being lighter and better performers in every way.