In an interview with the UK’s Autocar, Subaru chief designer Mamoru Ishii explained some of the key drivers behind the new model’s development - including a reduced importance on Subaru’s iconic Boxer engine as electrification steps up.
Despite the Viviz Performance concept’s boxer engine and all-wheel drive underpinnings, Ishii suggested that WRX fans place a greater emphasis in the brand’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system than they do on its boxer engine.
“Four-wheel drive is critical to the power and performance levels our customers expect, but on the engine we have more freedom.” He explained.
While that doesn’t necessarily spell the end for the WRX’s horizontally-opposed engine, it does leave the door open to the possibility of electric assistance of some description.
Like the current Impreza and XV, the next WRX will be built atop the new Subaru Global Platform chassis architecture, which has been designed to incorporate different powertrain layouts, including plug-in hybrid hardware.
Ishii was also adamant that the next WRX would strike a balance between driver enjoyment and driver assist technologies.
While the Viziv Performance showcased the next-generation of Subaru’s EyeSight safety system, and its growing suite of capabilities, Ishii also admitted that autonomy wasn’t for everyone, saying; “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.”
On the design front Ishii was clear that design elements from the Tokyo Auto Show concept including the chunky wheel arches and WRX-defining bonnet scoop would be carried over to the production version.
“Such a car brings lots of expectation, from within the company and from our customers,” Ishii said of the weight of expectation surrounding the new model. “We want it to look fast even when it is parked.”
Subaru has a track record of stunning concept cars that inevitably lose their more dramatic elements as they transition to production products, so Ishii’s comments provide hope to Subaru fans who have been disappointed in the past.
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