Originally unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show in the fall of 2010, Subaru brought its new Impreza concept along for the 2011 Detroit show.
Having been on a rather large upswing over the past couple of years, Subaru relies heavily on sales of the entry level Impreza. That car, however, has already been on the road for close to 3 years, meaning that its product cycle is coming to an end soon.
The complete redesign of a top seller is more important to a manufacturer than a completely new model. While a new model is something of a gamble, replacing an existing popular car could be a massive failure if the faithful don’t approve. Though the current generation Impreza wasn’t an instant hit with many existing owners, the car brought legions of new buyers into Subaru showrooms, and many left with their own Subaru.
This new Impreza concept is a whole new take on the car. With a more heavily sculpted look, Subaru has taken some styling chances. To my eye, it looks muscular and aggressive. While the hatchback style of the current car is more functional, the market has proven that Americans prefer sedans, so Subaru may just have a winner on its hands when this one comes to market.
More photos and Subaru press release after the break.
Subaru Press Release from the L.A. Auto Show:
Built to express possible future Subaru design elements, the Impreza Design Concept conveys a sporty and lively “four-door coupe” style. The Impreza Concept combines environmental compatibility and comfortable ride of the Impreza with the trusted performance that Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive provides. The designers blended two ideas – “dynamic flow and confident stance” – to showcase Subaru’s engineering core values of dynamic performance, safety, driving enjoyment and quality. The Impreza Design Concept features a roomy four-passenger interior.
From the front, the Impreza Design Concept is clearly recognizable as a Subaru, with a hexagonal grille with spread wings in the center and hawk eye-style headlights. At the same time, the front view previews a new direction for the brand’s design, with the hood, grille and headlights designed to project three-dimensional character.
Fin-shaped fog lamps, which follow the wing motif, emphasize a fresh expression of Subaru identity. The car’s low-and-wide stance is meant to convey reliability, security, and safety. The design of the prominent wheel arches echo that message while also emphasizing the vehicle’s All-Wheel Drive technology. The new-generation Legacy debuted this design feature.
In profile, the Impreza Design Concept shows a sleek, continuous line from the A-pillar, along the roof and through the C-pillar. The design yields both a roomy cabin and excellent aerodynamic performance. Subaru designers applied simple and clean lines and surfaces rather than complicated forms. This produces a contrast with the powerful fender design and results in a lean side view, accented by satin silver window frames. The wedge-shaped side rear-view cameras sit along the sharp line of the A-pillar.
At the rear, the hexagonal theme repeats with a garnish that radiates outward from the center. The rear lights also follow a sharp-edged theme, and are stretched into the body sides to join the character line along the car’s flanks. The taillamp design features a unique layering and gradation to create the impression of depth.
The front and rear bumper corners, shaped in the wind tunnel, contribute to the car’s overall aerodynamic efficiency. Diffusers on the underside of the rear bumper and the rear deck emphasize sportiness and also do their part for aerodynamics, contributing to vehicle fuel efficiency. The Sky Silver exterior color underscores the Impreza Design Concept’s stylish and dynamic silhouette, and suggests a silver tone to be used on the next generation of Subaru vehicles. The high-luster silver aluminum wheels, with their five-twin-spoke design, convey vehicle lightness and agility. Carbon fins garnish the spokes, aiding brake cooling.
“Dynamic, Enticing, Secure” Interior
For the Impreza Design Concept’s interior, the designers followed a theme of “Dynamic, Enticing, Secure.” The smooth integration of the instrument panel with the door trim and armrests suggests sporty yet comfortable driving. The roomy platinum-leather four-seat layout envelops occupants. Dark blue piping and double stitching accent the leather. A “layered” approach to color, with the upper part light platinum and the lower part a shade darker, gives the interior a feeling of spaciousness and sophistication.
A large display in the center dash combines functions for navigation, vehicle information and audio. The touch panel technology provides ease of use, seamlessly melding information and entertainment features.
The platinum leather-wrapped steering wheel features D-shaped spokes set off by piano-black center sections. The wheel innovatively incorporates its own touch panels, giving the driver easy access to various vehicle functions.
New Safety and Performance
Subaru’s own advanced driving-assist EyeSight system is installed along the front edge of the roof. The images the camera takes can be viewed on a monitor in the center of the gauge cluster, positioned for easy visibility. EyeSight is also networked with the latest in collision-prevention technology, underscoring the safety that customers expect from Subaru.
The combination of the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated Boxer engine with a Lineartronic™ Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) represents Subaru’s next-generation powertrain. A 2.5-liter version of this engine powers the 2011 Forester.