Subaru today launched the all-new, fourth-generation 2012 Impreza model at the 2011 New York International Auto Show. Debuting bolder, more dynamic design and new engines, Subaru’s compact contender will also offer increased interior space, refinement and handling agility.
New interior features, infotainment technology and higher grade interior materials promise a more rewarding driving and ownership experience for customers of the 2012 Impreza.
For the UK market, a new 1.6 litre Boxer engine will be teamed with a five-speed manual transmission or the second generation Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission). Every new Impreza is equipped as standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Subaru’s invaluable performance and safety enhancing system.
Built on a longer wheelbase but with shorter overhangs, the new Impreza provides a roomier interior in the same external footprint as the outgoing model. The new passenger cabin not only yields more room, but crucially a greater feeling of spaciousness and better visibility than before.
Bold Design Statement Also Enhances Functionality
The all new Subaru Impreza conveys a bolder, more confident design that emphasises its sporty roots and standard All-Wheel Drive system. In profile, the 2012 Impreza draws focus to its wheels with powerful arches, a theme that debuted on the 2010 Subaru Legacy.
From the front, the Subaru badge centres the new hexagonal grille, a keystone of all new Subaru designs. The new Impreza sports characteristic Subaru hawk-eye headlights and a range of new 15-inch wheel cover and 16- and 17-inch alloy wheel designs.
Numerous design elements combine to give the Impreza a sportier exterior stance while also offering the driver and passengers a more commanding view of the road. The windscreen is more raked than in the previous model, with the bottom of the A-pillar moved 7.9 inches forward. This allows for a front door opening that is nearly five inches longer for easier entry/exit, abetted by lower doorsills. Rear doors are also larger on both 4 and 5-door body styles.
Driver visibility has been greatly improved through the use of thinner A-pillars and partitioned front door side glass. Where the door trim meets the window has also been lowered, helping visibility further. The instrument panel is lower and flatter than the outgoing model to give a wider field of view and a feeling of greater spaciousness. New exterior wing mirrors have greater surface area to enhance visibility while relocating them from the A-pillars to the doors contributes to improved sight lines.
Improved Room and Refinement
The new Impreza’s wheelbase grows to 104.1 inches (compared to 103.2 in the outgoing model), while length and width measurements remain the same.
The combination of a longer wheelbase with re-designed interior trim and front seats has led to gains in passenger and cargo room. Rear seat passengers gain nearly two inches of legroom, thanks to both the longer wheelbase and a new, scalloped-style front seat backrest redesign. The 5-door hatchback will benefit from increased luggage space and now provides a completely flat load floor with the standard 60/40 split rear seatbacks folded.
It is now easier to load and unload heavy objects, thanks to the removal of a stepped section under the opening. The cargo area cover can now be stored under the cargo floor, as in the Forester.
Subaru has paid a great deal of attention to improving refinement. Richer looking interior appointments and details abound, including soft-touch materials for the dashboard, door trim and centre console armrest.
Carrying space and utility has been improved throughout; larger door pockets can hold plastic drink bottles and large maps and numerous compartments located in and around the centre console hold all manner of personal items, such as phones, USB drives and MP3 players.
Greater comfort is assured with Impreza’s new front seats with their higher seatbacks, increased lumbar support and cushions that more effectively distribute pressure. As in the 2010 Legacy, the seats are optimized for a rear-end collision. A tilt/telescoping steering wheel is standard on all 2012 Impreza models.
High levels of standard equipment
Levels of standard equipment have been increased across the range. All models are set to feature electric windows and mirrors, a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, outside temperature gauge, a multi-function display, engine immobilizer, and tilt/telescopic steering wheel. .
Higher spec models will add more kit including 16 or 17 inch alloy wheels, steering wheel audio and Bluetooth® controls, heated front seats and mirrors, climate control, upgraded instruments and auto lights. Impreza’s new optional navigation system includes a 6.1-inch touch screen LCD display with voice control.
All new gearbox and Boxer engine
UK versions of the Impreza will be powered by an all new 4-cylinder 1.6 litre Boxer petrol engine and will be available with either a new five-speed manual transmission or Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT. With either transmission choice, the 2012 Impreza delivers significantly improved fuel economy over the car it replaces.
Subaru has further refined its CVT so that for the new Impreza a lighter and more compact unit delivers smooth, linear acceleration, closer to a conventional automatic transmission while still delivering the efficiency benefits of a CVT. Higher specification Impreza models will feature CVT with a 6-speed manual, operated by steering wheel paddle shifters.
New Impreza will benefit from improved ride and handling courtesy of strengthened suspension components in front and rear and new hydraulic engine mounts to damp out vibration. The new model keeps its double-wishbone rear suspension which now features new components to improve ride quality and stability. A stiffer body structure, when combined with the new suspension, have also reduced levels of noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH).
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive: key to Subaru’s Brand identity
Subaru will offer two different Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive systems in the new Impreza. In models equipped with the five-speed manual, the Continuous AWD system uses a viscous-coupling to distribute power 50/50 front to rear, while any slippage will send more power to the opposite set.
Impreza models equipped with the Lineartronic CVT feature the Active Torque Split AWD version that uses a continuously variable transfer clutch to actively control power distribution in response to driving conditions.
Complementing the safety benefits of the AWD system, the new Impreza will also come as standard with Subaru’s Vehicle Dynamics Control (SVDC) – a system which combines stability and traction control functions – while all models are equipped with ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and the Brake Assist safety system.
Subaru’s high performance WRX STI, which was launched last Autumn and is now sold and marketed as a stand-alone model, is not affected in any way by the introduction of a new Impreza 5-door.
The WRX STI will continue unchanged in the UK for the foreseeable future.