Public re­ac­tion to shape new WRX

Autocar - - TOKYO MOTOR SHOW -

PUBLIC RE­AC­TION WILL de­ter­mine whether the Viziv Per­for­mance con­cept reaches pro­duc­tion as the next Subaru WRX, ac­cord­ing to the firm’s de­sign chief Mamoru Ishii.

The next-gen­er­a­tion WRX is due to go into pro­duc­tion around 2020, but Ishii claimed that the fi­nal de­sign has yet to be signed off and that re­ac­tion to the con­cept would first have to be con­sid­ered.

“Such a car brings lots of ex­pec­ta­tion, from within the com­pany and from our cus­tomers,” said Ishii. “What we know is that our cus­tomers’ life­styles are chang­ing and we have to re­spond to that. The ques­tion is whether we have done that in a cor­rect way with this con­cept.

“For in­stance, we know that au­ton­o­mous and con­nec­tive tech­nol­ogy are com­ing, and for many cus­tomers that is great, but we don’t think that is what all of our cus­tomers want. For some, driv­ing plea­sure is still very im­por­tant and that is what we are ex­plor­ing.”

Ishii con­firmed ini­tial re­ac­tion had been pos­i­tive, and said he was ea­ger to see de­sign themes such as the taut body shape off­set by flour­ishes like the wheel arches and bon­net scoop, which he con­sid­ered part of Subaru’s DNA. “We have built up this tra­di­tion with the Le­gacy, Im­preza and WRX,” he said. “We want it to look fast even when it is parked.”

Although the con­cept fea­tures Subaru’s boxer engine and sym­met­ri­cal all-wheel drive, Ishii hinted that only the lat­ter was crit­i­cal to cus­tomers.

The car sits on the new Subaru Global Plat­form, which will un­der­pin the ma­jor­ity of its fu­ture ve­hi­cles and can, said Ishii, in­cor­po­rate other pow­er­trains and in­clude a plugin hy­brid set-up: “Four-wheel drive is crit­i­cal to the power and per­for­mance lev­els our cus­tomers ex­pect, but on the engine we have more free­dom.”

Viziv con­cept could pre­view next WRX, due around 2020

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