Subaru planning to differentiate the Impreza from WRX and STI performance models

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 26, 2011

Subaru has launched the fourth generation Subaru Impreza, marking the separation of the Impreza model from the WRX and STI variants. The new 2012 Subaru Impreza naturally aspirated models will start selling as soon as the issues in supply production from Japan are resolved. The third generation WRX and STI variants will continue to be available in the near future.

It’s believed that Subaru is doing this to differentiate between the two models so that the WRX and STI variants can be known as unique sport models instead of as merely halo models for the Impreza. Subaru may also be doing this due to the new 2.0-litre boxer engine, which Subaru doesn’t plan on turbocharging.

The EJ25 turbocharged engine that’s currently in the WRX, STI, Forester XT/S-Edition and Liberty will be around before a replacement is found. The EJ design architecture has been around for over 20 years but it has been able to keep up with rivals and has been extensively modernized through the years.

In an interview with CarAdvice in New York, Akihide Takeuchi (Subaru’s Impreza Product General Manager) said that the company has begun work on the replacement turbocharged engine but he declined to provide more details. But he asserted that it won’t be based on the EJ25 and won’t merely be a turbocharged version of the new boxer engine.

The new boxer engine was developed to be economic and to have high performance in naturally-aspirated application. This means that its design architecture is less appropriate for a turbocharger. Takeuchi revealed that the company will announce a decision on the future platform of the WRX and STI shortly. There have been speculations surrounding the Impreza and its sport derivatives.

This means that there may be a two-door WRX/STI model soon. WRX/STI fans may not be pleased about this development but then it could mean that future models will be built from the ground up to be sports cars as opposed to only being an Impreza with performance elements. There are also reports that a hybrid Impreza is being considered, with Takeuchi acknowledging that a “hybrid is very important” while Subaru assesses the viability of this technology.

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