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29 December 2011

Subaru's take on the sporty hybrid: The Advance Tourer Concept

Photos courtesy of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.
If you think the name “Advance Tourer Concept” is a bit stale, the confidence-inspiring lines on Subaru's latest five-door hybrid might change your mind. Unveiled at the recent 42nd Tokyo International Motorshow, this is their take on the fun-to- drive sporty hybrid concept. 
The Advance Tourer Concept looks somewhat like a 2012 Impreza on steroids with its aggressive lines, acute angles, and a couple trapezoids thrown here and there. And if the bold wheel arches, sculpted rear spoiler, and huge diffuser leave you downright dumbfounded, wait til' you see the front butterfly and rear suicide doors.
In contrast, the interior stands out with its simplistic styling. The entire roof is made of glass, while touches of wood and metal adorn the smooth dashboard. There's even a steering wheel-mounted monitor that gives access to maps, television, and internet services, but could end up being scrapped before production due to the safety hazard it poses. Also take note that the concept sports four bucket seats hold one passenger less than your average sedan. Included in its long list of features is EyeSight Ver. 2 that warns the driver for potential road obstructions or pedestrians, reducing accidents or collisions.
Powering the Advance Tourer Concept is a turbo-charged 1.6-liter boxer engine with direct fuel injection and a single-motor hybrid system. This drastically reduces fuel consumption and allows Subaru to replace their 2.5 and 2.0-liter blocks with this smaller unit. Plus, they've developed the world's first longitudinally-mounted chain drive continuously variable transmission (CVT) they call Lineartronic, which compensates for the engine's high power output. 
As much as we'd like to speculate that this is shaping up to be the next generation Legacy, the published dimensions of 4,580mm x 1,840mm x 1,430mm (LxWxH) actually puts it closer to the 2012 Impreza. But considering its potential power output, sportier character, and advanced features, could this be an entirely new line of sporty Subaru's?