Muscular WRX mules lead to speculation of a STi rebirth
There was great expectation around a current generation Subaru Impreza STi around the release of the WRX early last year. A Japanese market WRX S4 even wore STi logos on its limited edition stint last year. In fact, even the 205 kW 350 Nm 2.4 litre turbocharged boxer-four symmetrical all-wheel drive fifth generation WRX even wears a STi logo on the steering wheel.
Subaru poured hot water on new ideas
Then a WRX STi performance study got the juices running even freer at the Tokyo Auto Salon later in the year, albeit that was just a cosmetic study. But Fuji poured cold water on any expectations when it announced that there would be no apex Impreza this time around. Some markets including Europe will not even get the WRX, which is happily still freely available in SA.
None of that however ties in with spy photos more recently emerging out of the US of an Impreza that is clearly a little more than just a WRX. These exclusive Auto renderings based very closely on the prototypes in the images show how a current model Subaru Impreza WRX STi could look, but is this really an STi?
The subtly disguised mule did nothing to prevent those rumours from flying. Besides its badges masked over, the rest is plain to see with cool new lower profile alloy wheel rims. So, are the mules true-blue 300 kW rally inspired STis? Or are they just another special edition WRX?
A 300 kW STi would need those bigger brakes
Well, if anything, closer inspection of the prototypes reveal bigger brakes akin to that famous genealogy. Why would Subaru engineer a big-brake kit just for a special edition, when the WRX clamps are more than up to the task anyway? A 300 kW STi would of course need such a big brake kit.
The flip side of the coin is that the Subaru Impreza WRX turns 30 in 2024. A major milestone that Subaru could very well celebrate with a fiery special edition WRX. Either way, a wilder, and hopefully hotter Subaru Impreza WRX appears to be on the cards. All that remains to be seen is whether that will just be a hot birthday WRX, or a real deal true blue STi.
Words & sketches: Michele Lupini