The Evo’s old rival, Subaru’s Impreza STi, is also set to offer a diesel model in its next generation — but it’s still likely to have a petrol-powered variant too.
Due in 2012, the next-gen STi will get an enhanced version of the 2.0-litre turbodiesel offered in the current Impreza. Its flat four layout should make it easier for Subaru to maintain the STi’s reputation for fine handling, while delivering better fuel economy.
Subaru isn’t about to drop turbocharged petrol engines just yet, though. Insiders say a downsized four-cylinder petrol unit, possibly based on the 1.5-litre flat four that powers base-model Imprezas, is under consideration.
Subaru is one step behind Mitsubishi on the hybrid front, though. Although the company has this technology planned for the hot Impreza, it’s unlikely to appear until at least halfway through the next-gen model’s lifecycle.
As with the Evo, the Impreza’s revisions will mean a shake-up of the car’s motorsport activities. Instead of rallying, the Impreza is likely to switch to circuit racing.