When Subaru ramps up production in Japan again, the auto manufacturer will begin building the fourth generation of the Impreza sedan and wagon. The car will be sold worldwide alongside of the higher performance WRX and WRX STI variants, which soldier on as third generation models. Future versions of the Impreza will be based on the fourth generation car, while all new WRX and STI versions will be based on the current, third generation cars. Why the split? Call it marketing or call it emission compliance. On the marketing side, Subaru is trying to emphasize the difference between their sport models and their environmentally friendly, fuel efficient models. On the emission regulation side, Subaru will need to ramp up sales of base model Imprezas to justify building a higher performance, less fuel efficient model. It’s all about achieving the upcoming CAFE and Euro fuel economy and emission targets.
All future base Imprezas will use Subaru’s all-new, 2.0-liter boxer engine, but I wouldn’t rule out a hybrid version just yet. All future WRX and STI versions will use the existing 2.5-liter boxer engine for the performance that buyers have come to expect. As hybrid technology advances, don’t be shocked to see a hybrid STI in the future, especially if Mitsubishi moves forward with a hybrid version of the Evo.