The Subaru WRX Concept unveiled at the 2013 New York International Auto Show was the most radical, aggressive looking Rex we’ve ever seen from Subaru. After decades of designs in which functionality prevailed over form, here was finally a WRX that was pretty to look at.
Journalists from as far afield as London, Beijing and Los Angeles raved about its coupe-like profile, wide stance, stylish front-end and high hip line. In fact, we all expected to see significant design hints in the new production WRX.
However, as we witnessed when the car was revealed last year, those seductive WRX lines were replaced with surfaces and edges that could have come from the outgoing model.
Yes, most of us were disappointed to say the least. Don’t get us wrong. We’re thrilled with the new car’s handling and performance. We just wanted a little more inspiration on the penmanship side.
Providing a glimmer of hope that all of the concept's sleek style was not lost, Subaru's WRX Project General Manager, Masuo Takatsu, told us at the launch of the subsequent WRX STI that the main design theme of the WRX Concept could yet be applied to a production car.
Now chief Subaru designer Mamoru Ishii has indicated that the lauded concept's sporty, aggressive stance will indeed reach production and is due to appear on the all-new Impreza due in 2016, and the WRX that will follow.
“Yes, we have taken the next-generation Impreza’s design in a new direction that we are sure will excite the marketplace,” Ishii told us, adding that some of the WRX Concept's key proportions will transfer to the next WRX.
“We are planning to give the lower section below the hip line a wider, more substantial stance and narrow up the roof section,” he said, suggesting a much bolder lower body and a more tapered greenhouse, as seen on the WRX Concept.
Subaru's existing Impreza was launched two years ago and is now well into its current model cycle, but while Subaru plans to spruce up its game with the next Impreza and WRX, it will also focus more of its R&D efforts on a family of new SUVs as previewed by the Viziv 2 concept at this year’s Geneva motor show.
As we've reported, two new SUVs are on the agenda in addition to eventual replacements for the XV, Forester and just-revealed Outback – including a Tribeca successor with plug-in diesel hybrid technology, which could emerge within two years.
Subaru's next new models will be the 2015 Liberty and Outback, both of which are due on ale here early next year.
But the Japanese brand's strong global sales, higher share price and newly appointed CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, who has decades of experience in sales, marketing and strategy, has given the company a whole new attitude towards its product line-up.
Three weeks ago when he presented the company's Prominence 2020 business plan and it record earnings for the last Japanese financial year, Yoshinaga announced that a new modular chassis architecture dubbed Subaru Global Platform will underpin Subaru's entire model starting from 2016.
The next Impreza will emerge as one of first of these all-new offerings late that year.