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by Brett Davis

The 2012 Subaru Impreza has made its world premiere in right-hand drive form at the 2011 Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne. The new model was first unveiled in left-hand drive layout at the 2011 New York Auto Show in April.

This is the first time Australians have had a chance to see the new sedan and hatch in the flesh. The 2012 Impreza features a new body showcasing an all-new design language, including more aggressive, sharper styling at the front, and a more consistent rear end.

The changes are perhaps even more significant in the cabin, where the Impreza now exudes class and high quality. Soft-touch plastics cover the dashboard, centre console and doors, which should lead to improved comfort, feel and NVH.

Rear-seat legroom has grown by more than 50mm thanks to a slightly larger wheelbase and clever new interior packaging.

Under the bonnet of the new model is Subaru’s all-new 2.0-litre boxer four-cylinder engine. Although the power figures remain unchanged from the current line-up – 110kW and 196Nm – Subaru says fuel consumption and emissions will be significantly reduced.

The new Impreza scores two new transmissions: a six-speed manual unit (replacing the five-speed) and a continuously variable transmission, which supersedes the outdated four-speed automatic.

Subaru Australia managing director, Nick Senior, said the unveiling of the new Impreza had been highly anticipated by Australian consumers.

“New generation Impreza is already drawing significant customer enquiry and is likely to generate even more interest in Australia thanks to its headlining status at the show,” Mr Senior said.

Uncertainly surrounding supply of the new model from Japan has meant that Subaru Australia is yet to confirm an on sale date for the 2012 Impreza. It is likely to hit showrooms either towards the end of 2011 or at the beginning of 2012.

For more information about the 2012 Subaru Impreza, read CarAdvice’s in-depth story from the vehicle’s international unveiling in New York.