TOKYO – Making its world debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, Subaru’s Viziv Performance Concept is clearly the bridge to the next WRX. The first four-door sedan for the new Viziv line, the Performance Concept is executed in Subaru’s Dynamic X Solid design language. The familial hexagon grill is flanked by hawkeye headlamps, muscular flared wheel arches, and 20-inch wheels wrapped in high-performance 245/40R20 tires. A carbon-fibre hood scoop draws in cold air for the turbo-boxer engine and imparts a menacing expression to the Viziv’s front end. There’s extensive use of carbon fibre throughout the body: in the hood scoop and fenders, the roof, the racing-style rear diffuser with quad tailpipes, and GT-style centred rear fog light.
The garden-variety Impreza underwent a ground-up overhaul last year underpinned by the brand-new Global Platform, but the more potent WRX and its fire-breathing STI twin were frustratingly conspicuous in their absence.
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Viziv, short for “Vision for Innovation” is substantially larger than the current WRX but its modular platform, which will eventually find its way under everything in the Subaru lineup, is easily adapted to larger and smaller vehicles. Using high-tensile steel and structural adhesives, the architecture is 70 percent stiffer than the previous platform and 40 percent more efficient at crash absorption – not to mention providing greatly enhanced driving dynamics.
Approximately 70 mm longer than the current car, the Viziv’s extra length will address its previously cramped rear seating.
While Subaru didn’t exactly come right out and call it the new WRX, the Viziv was introduced by CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga with a backdrop video of WRC-spec Imprezas sending up plumes of dust as they tore across the world rally stages. According to Yoshinaga, the Japanese automaker’s skunkworks division, Subaru Technica International, plans to produce even more high-performance machines in the future. Also on the stand was the rest of the STI lineup: the current 2018 WRX STI, an aggressive Japanese-only variant called the S208, the BRZ STI, and Levorg STI.
The Tokyo press event was low on performance details, but we expect a more powerful version of the 329 hp Boxer engine in the STI S208, and the symmetrical all-wheel-drive system that’s standard across the Subaru lineup.
The Viziv will include the next-generation Eyesight, Subaru’s suite of advanced driver assistance technologies, making it the safest WRX to date. Subaru’s recently completed Hokkaido facility is currently testing the new automated driving technologies, which include upgraded GPS navigation, radar, and camera systems, and a new Touring Assist program that eliminates Lane Tracing Control’s speed limit, which currently operates only up to 60 km/h. Adaptive cruise control now includes automated steering when following other vehicles in its lane. The updated Eyesight package, which will debut with the Viziv, should make its way into the rest of the Subaru lineup by 2020.
The new WRX and WRX STI should arrive sometime in 2019.