Will We See a Subaru WRX STI Hybrid in 2017?
The Tokyo Motor Show at the end of last year revealed a new Subaru hybrid concept car. Before the show was even over, Subaru dropped the bombshell that no-one in the usually astute motor industry was expecting. They revealed that the concept was, in fact, an early look at the next generation Impreza. At the moment, the details are still unknown, but one fact that we do know is that the new Impreza will be a hybrid vehicle. Adopting a hybrid powertrain for the Subaru WRX and Subaru WRX STI would be an interesting move that could affect all related car designs and Subaru merchandise. So, how likely would it be that this could happen as early as 2017?
The Subaru Global Platform (SGP)
Many car manufacturers have begun to move their vehicles to a more modular platform. Using a common platform for many different vehicles removes a lot of guesswork out of the design process. Also, by standardising a lot of the manufacturing process the company saves time and money. Subaru has a modular platform named the Subaru Global Platform (SGP) which will be used for the next generation of many of their vehicles. One of the most interesting aspects of the SGP is that it has dedicated space for positioning batteries and a protected area to house a hybrid powertrain. The SGP will be used for the Impreza and as such it is highly unlikely that it would not be used for the next generation Subaru WRX and WRX STI. If the SGP is set to be used for these vehicles, it would make sense to make the most of the platform and exploit the design fully.
Tighter Emission Restrictions
In Europe and the USA, in particular, there is a growing trend towards tighter emission restrictions on cars. These restrictions have led many manufacturers to begin treating the hybrid aspect of their business more seriously. A number of recent high performance hybrid vehicles such as the McLaren P1, the BMW i8 and the Acura NSX, have highlighted that hybrid cars can be extremely powerful. It is thus highly likely that Subaru will take up the challenge and produce a hybrid WRX STI. This vehicle would have a smaller engine than the 2.5L turbocharged boxer engine that we have come to love, with the addition of an electric motor to power the rear axle.
What Statistics Could be Expected from a Subaru WRX Hybrid?
Of course, this is all conjecture, but there could be a significant increase in both power and fuel efficiency. One would expect the engine to be the Subaru FA20 2.0 litre engine which when combined with the electric powertrain could increase power output by 19kW to 240kW. The fuel economy would probably exceed the targeted projection of 6.5L/100km which is excellent for a performance vehicle.
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