Flat-four oil-burner just one of a raft of developments heading our way
1 February 2007

The next three years are going to be super-active for Subaru, with a new Impreza, a new Justy supermini, a new Forester, a new Legacy, a flat-four diesel engine and hybrid powertrains all in the pipeline.

First to come will be the third-generation Impreza, which makes its debut at the New York motor show in April. As already reported, the much-anticipated Impreza comes in two forms - four-door saloon and five-door hatch, though it's unclear whether or not the UK will get the saloon.

According to one insider, the new Impreza will be based on a shortened Legacy platform, meaning it should get a more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension. The next-generation Forester would also be likely to use this same foundation.

The 2007 Impreza ditches Subaru's unpopular current front styling for a more homogenous look, as seen on the 2005 B5-TPH Tokyo show car. The aggressive side profile has strong shoulders, and look for a sizeable jump in dimensions too, especially width.

In 2008, there will be a new Forester – the current car uses the same platform as the outgoing Impreza – and 2009 will bring a new Legacy. Expect the latest Legacy to be larger and more luxurious.

Subaru is also all due to borrow Toyota's Japaense-market Passo supermini to sell in Europe as the new Justy. It's already on sale in the UK as both the Daihatsu Sirion and the Perodua Myvi, but significantly for Subaru it doesn't have four-wheel drive.

Of even more interest to European buyers will be Subaru's first in-house diesel. The new flat-four 2.0-litre turbodiesel makes its debut at the Geneva motor show in March, and will then be shown in the first Legacy diesel at Frankfurt in September. Sales kick off in early 2008.

As well as a diesel, Subaru has been hard at work trying to match Toyota's hybrid technology to its boxer engines. Insiders say that the Prius-type, front-drive hybrid system doesn't fit, so Subaru is now looking at adapting the rear-drive system from the Lexus GS450h, but don't expect a Subaru hybrid until the end of the decade.

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