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Calm down – Subaru has not axed WRX STI

STI still here: Rumours about the death of Subaru’s performance flagship, the WRX STI, have been greatly exaggerated by a UK decision to discontinue the car on that market.

Subaru WRX STI falls victim to green car rules in UK, but not here

2 Nov 2017

AUSTRALIAN Subaru fans can relax – the WRX STI is here for the long haul, despite an announcement by Subaru UK that the performance flagship is reaching the end of the line in Britain.

The ageing STI with its port-injected 2.5-litre turbocharged boxer engine has fallen victim to tightening green-vehicle rules in Europe where a Euro 6 exhaust emission standard is mandatory and car companies must achieve average carbon-dioxide emissions of 130 grams per kilometre across their new-car fleet or face financial penalties.

In Australia, the Euro 5-compliant STI can continue on the market until a replacement happens along, probably about 2020, unless new mandatory Euro 6 laws intervene. By that time, the engine – code-named EJ257 – will have been around for about 12 years.

The current WRX with its more modern 2.0-litre direct-injected boxer engine is already Euro 6 compliant, not to mention more fuel efficient.

The manual WRX consumes 9.2 litres per 100km and emits 213 grams of CO2 per kilometre, while the six-speed manual STI drinks 10.9L/100km and emits 252g/km of CO2.

Of course, STI buyers care rather more about the performance of the all-wheel-drive (AWD) WRX STI, which bangs out 221kW of power and 407Nm of torque, sending the car scuttling to 100km/h from a standstill in 4.9 seconds.

Subaru is tight-lipped about the replacement for the STI, although many pundits are suggesting the Viziv Performance concept car that appeared on Subaru’s stand at last month’s Tokyo motor show could fit the bill.

Bigger in most dimensions that the current WRX/WRX STI siblings, the concept maintains two of Subaru’s trademark technologies – a boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive.

Whatever fills the STI’s big boots, it will sit on the same modular Subaru Global Platform as the latest Impreza, XV and upcoming Forester due next year.

In the UK, the current STI is being sent off into the night with a limited run of 150 Final Edition specials fitted with a number of enhancements including bigger Brembo brakes, 19-inch alloy wheels in place of the regular 18-inch items, new electronic control for the AWD system’s centre differential, new-look bumpers and new-look interior with more equipment.

In Australia, the STI comes in three variants – STI, STI Premium and STI spec.R, with the latter fitted with Recaro front seats. Prices start at $50,890 plus on-road costs, or $56,673 driveaway.

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