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2010-11-18 07:13

THINGS TO COME: If the two-litre non-turbo concept looks this good, imagine how crazy the next-generation WRX STI should be.

The greatest surprise of unveiling day at the Los Angeles auto show was undoubtedly the Subaru Impreza Design Concept.

Although most punters and industry analysts expected Subaru to unveil its new coupe joint venture with Toyota, pride of place on the company’s display was taken up instead by the new four-door concept.

Four-door Impreza, not five...

Built to indicate the future design language of the brand’s Impreza models, the Design Concept’s configuration should placate any fears Subaru fans had about a possible return to the hateful hatchback bodystyle for Impreza. Although still very much a concept (it doesn’t even have door releases), the Design Concept’s proportions and line work are distinctly European, with contemporary surfacing and a strong shoulderline accentuated by flared wheelarches.

Generous aero cut-outs in the bumpers at each end of the Design Concept may not make it to production car homologation yet, all things considered, it looks rather like a distant cousin of the new Volvo S60…

Mechanically the Design Concept drives all four-wheels (as you would expect) via a CVT, powered by a two-litre, naturally-aspirated flat-four engine.

Whereas most other manufacturers are foregoing both manual and traditional planetary geared automatics in favour of the efficiency of dual-clutch transmissions, Subaru seems determined to make the CVT its shifting solution of choice. Considering parent company Fuji Heavy Industries is a supplier of CVT transmissions to (among others, Nissan), this makes a lot of sense. 

If the next generation Impreza takes its cue from the Design Concept, Subaru may be able to reinvigorate lagging sales of its C-segment sedan - where the design aesthetics have always lagged way behind the engineering integrity.

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