17 October 2003

The radical new Subaru B9 Scrambler roadster concept (above) isn’t destined for production – but it does signal a fresh design approach for the Japanese firm.

It’s the first product penned by new Subaru design chief Andreas Zapatinas, Alfa Romeo’s former styling boss, and the treatment at the front is set to become the new face of Subaru.

The B9’s snout is a development of the B11S coupé Geneva show star with handlebar moustache grille.

Chunky five-spoke 19in alloy wheels give the car a planted stance and the suspension is height-adjustable. Tough plastic cladding is used, like that on the Volvo XC70 and Audi Allroad.

Underneath, the Scrambler’s 4.2m-long two-seater bodyshell lie mechanicals borrowed from the Impreza, with Subaru’s permanent four-wheel-drive.

Not to be outdone by Japanese rivals, Subaru has added hybrid petrol-electric technology to the standard car’s 2.0-litre engine. Subaru doesn’t currently sell hybrid cars and the B9 hints that such a system could be launched, to match offerings from Honda and Toyota.

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