Later this month Subaru will reveal its Hybrid Tourer Concept, a design and technological showcase that demonstrates an innovative approach towards environmental friendliness, luxury, driving performance and safety.
The concept, which receives its global debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, features key elements of the company's renowned technological 'DNA', notably a horizontally-opposed engine - in this instance the world's first 'boxer' hybrid powerplant - and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD). It marries these with an opulent and spacious cabin accessed through elongated gullwing-style doors, and an eye-catching, finely sculpted body.
The absence of B-pillars gives a heightened sense of light and space in the cabin, providing occupants with an unobstructed view of the outside world. The swept-back panoramic windscreen and a height-adjustable dashboard afford the driver a similarly unhindered vantage point.
At the front, a bold grille featuring Subaru's now-trademark 'wing' motif sits in between a pair of modern headlights. However, it is in the side profile that Subaru's evolving design language is best appreciated. The rakish, up-swept belt-line leads from the nose backwards to the chunky C-pillars, creating an air of purposefulness and understated aggression. Large 14-spoke alloy wheels fill the subtly flared arches.
Vitally important on any grand touring car is a refined and relaxing interior space and the Subaru Hybrid delivers exactly that. With ample room for four, occupants are cosseted in a stress-free, open environment. Even in the back, despite utilising an AWD system, the engineers still managed to create a flat floor, so rearmost occupants will enjoy an extremely comfortable journey.
The innovative hybrid system uses Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and a 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed, direct-injection, turbocharged petrol 'Boxer' engine, allied to two electric motors - Subaru remains the only company to mate this engine layout to a hybrid drivetrain. The electric motors are powered by lithium-ion batteries - a 10kW item at the front and a 20kW unit at the rear.
In normal driving conditions the direct-injection petrol engine is used, but at lower speeds and start-up, the rear electric motor drives the car. The forward electric unit, which is mainly used as a power generator, kicks in to assist performance and efficiency while tackling inclines. Subaru's in-house designed Lineartronic automatic transmission is featured, further boosting fuel efficiency and driving performance.
Paul Tunnicliffe, Managing Director of Subaru UK, said:"The Hybrid Tourer Concept perfectly demonstrates our commitment to environmentally-friendly innovation. This vehicle shows that our engineers are capable of developing something which is both technically advanced and stylistically enthralling, hinting at our future design direction."Published 13 October 2009