The new Subaru Impreza hatch premiered in LA last November has made in Japanese debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon – replete with STI performance parts for a sporty edge.
While hardly a return to the days of the full-on WRX and STI hatchbacks, this version does at least add some performance flavour.
Offical details are sparse, with Subaru’s statements limited to a confirmation that the STI parts pictured are “under development and customised to sportier specifications”.
There are some new black alloy wheels, side skitrs, a branded roof spoiler, a glossy front bumper lip, and a very Honda Civic-style centre-mounted dual-pipe exhaust.
It’s unclear what suspension and performance upgrades there are, if any.
The Japanese-market model pictured uses a Boxer hybrid, however there’s another slightly punchier performance option in the US: a 136kW and 241Nm 2.5-litre flat-four with full-time AWD, torque-vectoring, and a CVT with eight preset gear ratios and paddle shifters.
Apparently the new version Subaru Global Platform underpinning the new Impreza is 10 per cent more torsionally rigid, and includes a full inner frame. With 3.4 times more structural adhesive than before, the Impreza is claimed to be lighter than before too.
Subaru Australia still has not confirmed when the new Impreza will come here, simply stating: “Impreza has been part of the Subaru family for 30 years, and we look forward to sharing more details for the Australian market in due course”.
As to the future of STI parts in Australia, the company is keen to capitalise as much as it can. As announced last March there won’t be a new Subaru WRX STI, but the Subaru Tecnica International brand isn’t dead.
The company’s local arm detailed various styling packages for the WRX sedan and Sportswagon (Levorg) last October, and the company has hinted at an electric STI future.
“As the automotive marketplace continues to move towards electrification, Subaru is focused on how our future sports and performance cars should evolve to meet the needs of the changing marketplace,” it said in 2022.
“We acknowledge the long love affair Australians have had with the WRX STI, and the STI brand,” Subaru Australia managing director Blair Read later told local media.
“The STI engineers and that team, that did all these great things, haven’t packed up and gone home. They’re still there.
“Part of that change in direction with the STI brand is how it can play a role not just in one model variant, but across all the product. There is exciting options and development in a number of different areas that will feed its way into all the different models.”