Subaru has rebuffed rumours out of the US that it is secretly working on a special mid-engined sports coupe prototype.
As we recently noted, a report from US publication Car & Driver, citing a Subaru source, claimed it was testing a new Boxer mid-engined turbocharged prototype model, with two electric motors powering the front wheels and the engine powering the rears.
Apparently, the source said the out-there all-wheel-drive platform sits beneath a modified Subaru BRZ body in testing, but the alleged production model will be either a two-door coupe or sporty crossover, with the former “more likely”.
However, Subaru of America president and COO Tom Doll scotched this report when quizzed on its veracity this week by media including CarAdvice, at the world reveal of the brand new Impreza hatch and sedan in New York.
“I have not heard that, I don’t know what that is. I don’t know. I don’t know where they’re getting their information from. I would like to know their source, I really would,” he said.
As we reported, the Car & Driver story claimed that this new Subaru prototype performance hybrid system was somewhat based on the next-generation all-wheel-drive system that is being rolled out as part of its all-new Subaru Global Platform, which is electrification-ready.
The idea of a Subaru performance hybrid doesn’t seem so far-fetched, though. Remember the 2014 Viziv concept? That car had front wheels driven by a 1.6-litre turbo petrol four-cylinder petrol boxer engine and an electric motor, while the rear wheels got one electric motor each.
For this new mid-engined prototype, Subaru’s engineers are suggested to have essentially flipped that design, moving the petrol engine backwards and the two wheel-turning electric motors to the front. An interesting idea.
One performance avenue Subaru has re-affirmed its interest in is a second-generation BRZ. We spoke with the CEO of Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries, Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, who said the plan was well in motion.
“We are discussing with Toyota to produce a new model change for BRZ,” he said. “We have not decided any details yet but we will make agreement. We want to continue BRZ.”
Let’s hope Toyota comes to the party and helps its smaller Japanese contemporary out.
In other Subaru performance news, the company confirmed the new WRX and STI for around 2017/18, based on the brand-new Impreza revealed this week, though Yoshinaga seemed baffled at our question of whether any hybridisation might be possible.
Pictured at the top of the story is the Subaru Viziv GT Vision Gran Turismo concept.