Subaru plans to roll out its new Impreza Concept’s dramatic styling cues across its full range over the next couple of years — and the company will back up the design changes with fresh engineering that will include an all-new hybrid powertrain to accompany the latest boxer engine.
Autocar’s sources in Japan say that the styling cues — including the prominent shoulder line, blistered wheel arches and deep front air intakes — are likely to feature on a string of new cars, including the Subaru version of the Toyota FT-86 sports coupé and a hybrid variant of the Legacy.
The coupé will also be the first Subaru to get the firm’s latest generation of boxer engine, its first all-new take on the famous layout in 21 years.
Previewed last autumn and called FB-type, it’s a 1995cc unit with a longer stroke than the old EJ-type powerplant. Subaru says that this allows maximum torque at lower revs, which improves the power delivery and increases fuel economy by 10 per cent.
Subaru is unlikely to fit a totally standard 2.0-litre FB engine into its coupé, though. Engineers say the head will be extensively modified to free up as much as 200bhp from the motor. The car will have a six-speed manual gearbox and a 0-60mph time of about 7.5sec. it should go on sale in 2012.
A year later, Subaru will incorporate the Impreza Concept’s looks into a new Legacy hybrid that makes use of Toyota technology. The Japanese giant’s THS II hybrid system — as used in the previous-generation Prius — will be attached to a 2.5-litre version of the new boxer motor. Subaru is also likely to turbocharge the engine, Autocar understands, in a bid to improve performance and efficiency.
Subaru’s engineers are likely to use the characteristics of the boxer engine — its low centre of gravity and symmetrical layout — to position lithium ion batteries on either side of the propeller shaft, thus extracting the most from the Toyota-based technology.
The hybrid and all other Legacies are likely to use a CVT gearbox, because Subaru is phasing out regular automatics.