The flat-four Subaru EJ engine is like that tough old man who’s a fixture at a local dive bar: he won’t start shit with you, but he’ll definitely finish it if you step to him. Now, after 30 years in service, one of this engine’s more notable variants—the EJ20—finally sees an end to its production run.
Fittingly, this happens in a car called the Subaru WRX STI EJ20 Final Edition, which was unveiled this week at the Tokyo Motor Show. It’s a Japan-only car limited to just 555 examples (Internet Glory to the first commenter who can point out why that number is notable) and features the final example of the 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four that’s made its home in many WRXs and STIs over the decades. Here, it makes 304 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque.
The EJ series made its debut way back in 1989 in the Legacy and has spawned a number of variants in displacement over the decades. Here in America, we’re probably slightly more familiar with the bigger 2.5-liter EJ25 that currently lives in our WRX STI and hopped into our WRX in 2006; America’s current WRX uses the newer 2.0-liter FA20 engine.
But the EJ20 managed to be popular here anyway among JDM swappers, tuners and even enthusiasts up for tossing them into Volkswagen Beetles and Karmann-Ghias. (I call those people “heroes.”) And with ever-tightening emissions standards across the whole world, it’s quite amazing this motor lasted as long as it did.
We also caught a glimpse of the future at the Tokyo Motor Show: a brand-new 1.8-liter turbo boxer four that will see duty in the latest Subaru Levorg wagon. Word on the street is that car, or that motor, will preview the next WRX in some way; it’s smaller than we’re used to, but these cars are rarely disappointing to drive, so I’m not worried.
Anyway, pour one out for a legend today. It had a good run.