The Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept – or ATC – points to the technology expected to be seen in the Japanese car maker’s first hybrid model, as well as a potential new styling direction for the brand.
The ATC is Subaru’s second concept to preview an upcoming petrol-electric model, another “sports tourer” wagon that follows the Hybrid Tourer Concept also show in Tokyo, two years ago.
Subaru confirmed earlier this year that it planned to have a hybrid vehicle on sale within the next few years.
At 4580mm, the Advanced Tourer Concept is 210mm shorter than a Subaru Outback, with its size suggesting the show car could transform into a new variant of the Impreza range.
The concept is powered by a smaller-capacity version of Subaru’s trademark horizontally opposed ‘Boxer’ engine. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder features direct injection and is teamed with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) the company says is rated for high power and torque outputs.
Unlike any other Subaru, however, the drivetrain incorporates a single electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, which, in Electric Vehicle mode, can start the all-wheel-drive ATC and power it alone at low speeds.
The motor becomes a power generator during a regenerative phrase created by deceleration.
Subaru says the ATC “drastically improves combustion efficiency at practical driving speeds” and “showcases technology that will guide the brand’s future engine strategy”.
Access to the ATC evolves the large single gullwing door of the 2009 Hybrid Tourer Concept, with two counter-opening doors on one side.
The rear door is rear-hinged (with a single hinge) while the dual-hinged front opens upwards and forwards.
The steering wheel incorporates a large monitor that provides the driver with sat-nav maps, TV and internet access – though presumably only when the car is stationary.
An ultra-low ride height and sloping roof, which features panoramic glass, contribute to dramatic exterior styling that promises improved styling from Subaru though is also clearly short of being production reality.