The New York motor show opens its doors to the public this Friday (6 April), and among its most important unveilings will be the new Subaru Impreza. The first official pictures of the car can be seen in our gallery. Pay more attention to the five-door hatchback than the four-door saloon because, unlike every Impreza we Brits have ever bought, the next one will be sold as a five-door hatchback only here in Blighty. It'll have the same range of horizontally-opposed petrol engines as the current car though, as well as Subaru's new 2.0-litre flat four diesel engine, which is due in the car sometime in 2009. The biggest shock of all comes with the news that the new WRX model, possibly the most highly rated of all, will not make it to the UK. Here, importer IM Group will be leaving the 230bhp option out of its range, choosing instead to take cheaper and less powerful models (which it hopes to sell in greater numbers than the current car), and a 300bhp STi model to fill the performance brief.
A change of image
The Impreza's new outward appearance will probably come as the biggest change that Subaru's die-hard followers will have to get used to; once they've accepted the move from saloon to hatchback, they'll have to get used to styling that seems to place the emphasis on refinement and elegance over distinctiveness and boldness of character.Under its new look, Subaru has chosen to update the Impreza's mechanicals rather than throwing them away to start again. It's got double wishbones at each corner tuned for higher levels of ride comfort, a lower centre of gravity afforded by a flat four engine mounted lower in the nose, and additional use of high tensile steel throughout makes the new body a stiffer overall structure than the last one.More information on the new Impreza will emerge as the New York show unfolds this week; expect more detailed news on the car by Friday.