Subaru plans to roll out its dramatic styling cues shown on its new Impreza concept (LEFT) across the company's full model range over the next couple of years, and 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 coupe and a hybrid variant of the Legacy.
The coupe will also be the first Subaru to get the manufacturer'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 percent.
Subaru is unlikely to fit a totally standard 2.0-liter FB engine into its coupe, though. Engineers say the head will be extensively modified to free up as much as 200hp from the motor. The car will have a 6-speed manual gearbox and a 0-60mph time of about 7.5sec. it should go on sale in 2012.
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-liter version of the new boxer motor. Subaru is also likely to turbocharge the engine in a bid to improve performance and efficiency.
Subaru's engineers are likely to use the characteristics of the boxer engine – its low center 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.