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by Tim Beissmann

Subaru aims to improve the fuel efficiency of its fleet by 30 per cent over the next four years by introducing a number of new engines and transmissions and increasing its use of lightweight body and chassis materials.

The powertrain upgrades will account for two-thirds of the targeted efficiency gains, which are set to be reached by 2015, according to US publication Car & Driver.

Subaru is working on direct injection and turbocharging technology for its all-new FB Boxer engine family, and plans to incorporate the technology into the 2.0-litre variant and a new 1.6-litre version of the engine.

Don’t jump to any conclusions about a Subaru BRZ Turbo though. There’s still no word from Subaru about additional powertrains for the upcoming sports coupe model over the planned 2.0-litre FA unit that has been co-developed with Toyota.

The FB engine will also form the basis of Subaru’s first mass-production hybrid system, which will hit the market in Japan from 2013. Details on which model will score the hybrid system and its exact specifications are a tightly kept secret at Subaru. The Subaru Hybrid Tourer concept from the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, which featured a turbocharged, fuel-injected 2.0-litre Boxer engine and electric motors at the front and rear, potentially gives us an insight into Subaru’s plans for its upcoming production hybrid system.

Subaru will introduce its Lineartronic continuously variable transmissions (CVT) into more models in the range to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The BRZ will be the exception to the rule, as it will use six-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions to transfer drive to its rear wheels. The new Subaru WRX and STI will almost certainly follow suit.

As well as adding more CVTs to the range, Subaru is working hard to reduce operating losses and friction within its transmissions and its all-wheel drive systems.

The final efficiency gains will be achieved through the use of lightweight high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels in vehicle platforms, and a greater emphasis on aerodynamics in the design and development processes.




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