The Subaru Impreza Sport Hybrid has been introduced in Japan, representing the next step towards a full-blown hybrid sports car for the brand, potentially wearing a WRX badge.
Based on the regular Impreza and only Subaru’s second hybrid model after the XV Crosstrek Hybrid released in Japan in2013, the Impreza Sport Hybrid features a 2.0-litre boxer engine coupled with a small electric motor to help propel the car, increasing power while reducing fuel consumption.
Subaru Japan cites fuel consumption of around 5.0L/100km when hooked up exclusively to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) — down from the 6.8L/100km the non-hybrids are claimed to use.
Motoring.com.au understands that Subaru Australia has not completely ruled out introducing a hybrid version of the Impreza locally, but the official line on the Impreza Sport Hybrid pictured here is “no”.
“The hybrid announced in Japan last week is not for the Australian market,” Subaru Australia’s managing director Nick Senior told motoring.com.au.
However, he did admit there is a plan to introduce hybrid vehicles here, stating: “In relation to the first Subaru hybrid in Australia, it has not been decided.”
Compared to the non-hybrid Impreza, which generates 110kW of power and 196Nm of torque, the hybridised powertrain adds 8kW and 24Nm, for a grand total of 118kW and 220Nm.
Regular Imprezas take around 11 seconds to accelerate to 100km/h, so the hybrid versions are likely to be slightly quicker.
The Subaru Impreza Sport Hybrid also gets a more athletic look than standard models, riding on motorsport-inspired 17-inch alloy wheels and featuring an eye-catching body kit, with contrasting pinstripes around the lower edges of the bumpers and side skirts.
Top-shelf variants also boast metallic accents and faux suede seat trim in the cabin.
Although nothing has been confirmed, there’s the possibility that Subaru will go one step further with its next Impreza and introduce a higher-output turbo version of its petrol-electric hybrid powertrain as emissions regulations tighten dramatically towards 2020 – perhaps based on the Levorg or WRX.
Words by Feann Torr, www.motoring.com.au