Subaru is set to fill the gaps in its model range with diesel and hybrid power
25 August 2005

Subaru is planning some major introductions to its engine range. First, and due to arrive late next year, are a pair of new common rail diesel engines based around the Japanese car maker’s tried and tested horizontally opposed design, as used on its petrol units for over three decades.

The new engines have been developed in co-operation with Isuzu and will come in 150bhp 2.0-litre and 180bhp 2.2-litre four-cylinder guises. Although Subaru originally commissioned Porsche’s Weissach based engineering team to design the new 180-degree diesel units, the production units are based around an in-house design according to Autocar sources in Japan. Among the models planned to receive the four-cylinder oilburners is the Impreza and Legacy.

Subaru’s decision to go the diesel route in a bid to boost its European sales will be a boon for Saab, which has already established plans to produce a follow up to its US-only Impreza-based 9-2X. The option of diesel power will, say Saab officials, allow the second-generation model to be offered in Europe as a rival to cars like the BMW 1-series, Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz A-class and upcoming Volvo V30.

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Meanwhile, back in Japan Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd is developing a hybrid powertrain for the Legacy in collaboration with electronics company NEC Corp. The company claims that the hybrid could have a battery life of up to 15 years.

The unit is being developed for trial in 2007 and is expected to incorporate the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine also found in the Impreza, with a 30 per cent boost in fuel economy, but it is not yet known whether or not the hybrid will appear in Legacy models outside of Japan.

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