Currently reading: LA motor show 2010: Subaru Impreza concept
Bold four-door concept shows how next Scooby will be spiced up for its late 2011 launch

Subaru will spice up the next-generation Impreza next year, with vastly more contemporary styling in a drive to lift flagging sales.

Revealed as the Impreza Design Concept at today’s Los Angeles motor show, this new small saloon previews a European-flavoured design language with strong shoulders and more complex body surfacing, beefed up with wide sills and bulging arches.

The strong shoulders and arcing roofline look rather Volvo-like and emphasise strength much more than today’s bland design.

See the official pic of the new Subaru Impreza Design Concept - now updated with LA show pics

Subaru claims the concept “conveys a sporty and lively four-door coupé style” and says that it has “blended two design ideas — dynamic flow and confident stance — to showcase performance, driving enjoyment and quality”. The concept’s grille design is already on the current Legacy — but the gaping brake vents and angled headlights are new. And the Legacy’s pronounced wheel arch bulges are exaggerated further on this concept.

It is significant that the next Impreza is being shown as a four-door, the body style that’s provided the bulk of sales since launch in 1992. Subaru took a calculated risk to move today’s Impreza into the mainstream by designing a five-door hatch first and then spinning off a four-door, to take on Europe’s best brands in their heartland. But the plan misfired and the Impreza has failed to conjure up the magic of previous generations.

Read Autocar's first drive of the new Subaru WRX STi saloon

Subaru also hasn’t mentioned two-wheel drive — suggesting that the experiment with 2WD on today’s Impreza will also be abandoned, despite pressure to cut emissions.

Under the bonnet of the concept is a hallmark flat four engine in 2.0-litre capacity. It’s understood to be a new unit derived from the 2.5-litre boxer that powers the Forester in the US.

Subaru appears to be ploughing its own furrow in next-gen transmissions by mating the motor to a CVT, rather than a dual-clutch ’box. That also supports parent company Fuji Heavy, which supplies CVTs to other manufacturers, notably Nissan.

Julian Rendell

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supermanuel 20 November 2010

Re: Subaru reveals Impreza concept

I think this concept is quite tasty. There's definitely a lot of the Mazda 6 in that profile and I can see Holden at the rear too. I agree though, by the time it gets to production it may end up so watered-down that it could be by any manufacturer- like the Suzuki Kizashi which went from fabulous concept to dull invisibox in one fell swoop.

optimal_909 20 November 2010

Re: Subaru reveals Impreza concept

disco.stu wrote:
it is going to end up being just another shouty saloon trying to be aggressive and 'cutting edge', yet looking similar to everyone else's shouty saloons.
I second that - the whole scene reminds me of the launch of the Lancer. Many were impressed by the first pictures, but in metal it is quite disappointing.

stevied 18 November 2010

Re: Subaru reveals Impreza concept

It's true that the Impreza interior has always been a little drab, and although I think the STI hatchback is ok, I'm not sure I'd want one... but Subaru has never pushed the luxury appeal of an Impreza or a Forrester. Those two have always had a cheaper-looking interior because it WAS cheaper! The interior was purposely not where the money was spent. That cash goes on the technology, engine, AWD or whatever. I dont think Subaru ever intended, up until now at least, to splash out in that department. The Legacy was always the "luxury" model (I look at the aircon to gauge this: digital display denotes the "luxury" model, and Forrester and Impreza have never had digital aircon, whereas Legacy has had since late nineties at least. That's my theory at least!). I have said this before, but I think but the UK seems to have been let down by Legacy engine choice. The GT is the star performer in the Legacy line-up, but seems not to be available in Blighty. Previously 2.0litre, now 2.5litre twin-scroll turbo developing 270-odd HP, for both the saloon and estate version, has lots of punch. I am not a major fan of the latest design - much prefer the previous generation (which has great interior too I think) - but here in Japan there are quite a few of the new ones on the road now and they are growing on me, especially the GT. Anyway, thumbs up to the Impreza concept. Seems the makeover denotes the Impreza moving to the "luxury" end perhaps.