Subaru as a brand are defined by their unique horizontally opposed ???boxer??? engines and in more recent times the symmetrical all-wheel-drive available throughout their product range. Unfortunately, fuel efficiency and emissions issues may force Subaru to change direction in the future.
Subaru of Australia Director, Nick Senior, indicated that there may come a time when Subaru has to consider more conventional engines and drivetrains, however he emphasized that there would be no changes prior to 2010 and that AWD and the boxer engine would continue into the foreseeable future.
Being partially owned by Toyota, Subaru will have access to Toyota???s engine range and experience, making it a lot easier for Subaru to make the move towards more conventional engines.
You wouldn???t think that the piston layout of an engine would have much bearing on fuel efficiency so I can???t help thinking that this possible change of direction has more to do with a future hybrid range. A Subaru Prius? We know that Subaru have beem working with Toyota on a hybrid solution so this seems like the more likely direction.
In the meantime, Subaru will bring a boxer diesel engine design to market (aimed at Europe), so any inline four-cylinder or hybrid combination is unlikely to make an appearance before 2010.