New styling and technology for Subarus over the next couple of years - including on the new coupe
6 January 2011

Subaru plans to roll out its new Impreza Concept’s dramatic styling cues across its full range over the next couple of years — and the company will back up the design changes with fresh engineering that will include an all-new hybrid powertrain to accompany the latest boxer engine.

Autocar’s sources in Japan say that the styling cues — including the prominent shoulder line, blistered wheel arches and deep front air intakes — are likely to feature on a string of new cars, including the Subaru version of the Toyota FT-86 sports coupé and a hybrid variant of the Legacy.

See pics of the Subaru Impreza concept

The coupé will also be the first Subaru to get the firm’s latest generation of boxer engine, its first all-new take on the famous layout in 21 years.

Previewed last autumn and called FB-type, it’s a 1995cc unit with a longer stroke than the old EJ-type powerplant. Subaru says that this allows maximum torque at lower revs, which improves the power delivery and increases fuel economy by 10 per cent.

Subaru is unlikely to fit a totally standard 2.0-litre FB engine into its coupé, though. Engineers say the head will be extensively modified to free up as much as 200bhp from the motor. The car will have a six-speed manual gearbox and a 0-60mph time of about 7.5sec. it should go on sale in 2012.

Read more on Subaru's planned design revolution

A year later, Subaru will incorporate the Impreza Concept’s looks into a new Legacy hybrid that makes use of Toyota technology. The Japanese giant’s THS II hybrid system — as used in the previous-generation Prius — will be attached to a 2.5-litre version of the new boxer motor. Subaru is also likely to turbocharge the engine, Autocar understands, in a bid to improve performance and efficiency.

Subaru’s engineers are likely to use the characteristics of the boxer engine — its low centre of gravity and symmetrical layout — to position lithium ion batteries on either side of the propeller shaft, thus extracting the most from the Toyota-based technology.

The hybrid and all other Legacies are likely to use a CVT gearbox, because Subaru is phasing out regular automatics.

Peter Lyon

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