Subaru’s surprise Los Angeles motor show concept is understood to give a glimpse of the next-generation Impreza, Autocar has learned.
Dubbed the CIM — short for ‘Confidence in Motion’ — the concept is billed as a showcase for a new design language and to introduce new green technology, most likely a hybrid powertrain. Although Subaru has a new coupé — a joint project with Toyota — on the way, the CIM is understood to be a different car.
That’s partly borne out by Subaru’s teaser picture, which shows a compact design with an arcing roofline and high-set ‘bustle’ boot. Unlike a coupé, the roofline doesn’t rake sharply from the centre line to the boot lid, suggesting it is more likely to be a four-door.
The teaser shot also highlights hallmark extended arches, which appear to add muscle to the design and take their cue from WRX and STi versions of previous-generation Impreza models.
A new Impreza is rumoured for production late next year, which would give today’s Impreza a relatively short lifespan of four years. The current model was unveiled at the New York show in April 2007.
Today’s Impreza was conceived as a five-door European hatch in a bid to attract mainstream sales. But the car has flopped, not helped by the lack of a diesel engine at launch and the fuel-sapping handicap of all-wheel drive.
Sparked into action by lacklustre sales in the UK, Subaru has recently launched a four-door notchback Impreza, originally a US-only body style.
Subaru showed a hybrid powertrain at the 2009 Tokyo motor show with the Hybrid Tourer concept, although it’s possible the new Impreza will use a development of Toyota’s HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive).
The 2009 study featured a pair of electric motors, one in the front axle and a second in the rear axle, in line with Subaru’s tradition of all-wheel drive.