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Subaru stands by Impreza engine

2.0 sides: Subaru acknowledges criticism of the latest version of its new atmo engine, but points to the sales scoreboard to show what buyers think.

Subaru’s new platform can take more power, but Impreza buyers are happy: Christie

Subaru logo23 Jun 2017

By TIM ROBSON

SUBARU Australia has rejected criticism that its re-engineered Euro 6-compliant 2.0-litre petrol engine in the Impreza launched late last year is underpowered, with managing director Colin Christie pointing to strong sales of the new-generation model.

Speaking to GoAuto this week as Subaru Australia launched its second-generation XV small SUV, which uses the same 115kW/196Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated ‘boxer’ engine and continuously variable transmission, Mr Christie described the engine/CVT combination as “perfectly matched” and said customers had raised no concerns.

However, he did acknowledge that the newly devised Subaru Global Platform – first used with the latest Impreza, and now in its second application with the new XV – was capable of handling much higher engine performance, which would be seen with the forthcoming turbocharged WRX and STI muscle cars.

“We’ve had no concerns from customers,” Mr Christie said. “The sales rates have exceeded our expectations, so we don’t see any issues with it, to be honest.

“We think it’s actually a perfectly matched engine and transmission for what it’ s designed to do, and it does the job really well.” The local Subaru chief explained that meeting emissions and fuel economy targets were paramount when it came to tuning the engine for both the Impreza and XV.

“A bit more oomph would always make everybody happy but, for us, it’s always a balancing act around the Euro 6 regulations – it’s around fuel economy, and it’ s around making sure that the car can do what it’s designed for,” he said.

“And that’s why, at this point in time, we’re actually really happy with it, to be honest.” Notwithstanding the fact that 5161 Impreza sales to the end of May this year mark an increase of 127 per cent compared to the same period last year – and would be higher were the company not subjected to supply constraints – Mr Christie suggested that the vastly stiffer Subaru Global Platform may have worked against the new model.

“We’ve kind of created a rod for our own back, because the global platform is so good – it’s an exceptionally good platform,” he said.

“That, I think, is why some of the journos are saying they’d like more power, because the platform can easily take more.

“Down the track, when the WRX and STI go onto that platform, I think that’s when the platform will really, really show how good it is.

“I can understand that there is a little bit of question mark around the engine power, but I think it’s perfect for what’s required and what it’s designed to do.

“The global platform is such a good technology that it could take a lot more power.” Part of that power could come in the form of electric assistance for the next-generation WRX, as Subaru continues to search for ways to keep emissions in check for high-performance engines.

Company officials admitted that they were “considering new technologies” for the WRX at the global reveal of the XV in Japan in April this year.

However, Mr Christie suggested the WRX would not be on Australian roads until at least 2020.

“We haven’t got the exact timing of when they’d switch to the new platform, but you have to think it’s probably another two-and-a-half years away,” he said.

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