Category Archives: Subaru Japan

First Drive: 2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 – Motor Trend – Mid Hudson Subaru

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Side In Motion

By Peter Lyon
 | Photos Yoshitada Moro
|

 

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Front Three Quarter

Click to view Gallery

We almost don’t want to tell you about the new Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206. Why? Because it’s the fastest, best-handling WRX Subaru’s STI division has ever produced, but you can’t buy it in the U.S. It’s yet another special STI limited edition built exclusively for Japanese domestic consumption. 

Subaru’s tuning department takes its STI “S” series very seriously, something we witnessed at the recent Tokyo Motor Show when it revealed the new S206 with its eye-popping spec sheet. There’s more than a decade of history in the top-shelf S series, starting from the radical-looking S201 to the gutsy S204, and the extreme R205. We’ve driven them all and been suitably impressed with every car. But the S206 takes “S” to a whole new level.

You know you’re in for something special when the person greeting you prior to the drive at the Cycle Sports Center two hours south of Tokyo is none other than STI’s motorsport director, former chief test driver, and all-around Nurburgring-meister Hideharu Tatsumi. After a quick rundown of the impressive spec list, he shuffles us over to an S206 sitting in the pit area.

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Front End
2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Rear Three Quarter
2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Rear Three Quarters In Motion

Smiling confidently, he opens the door to one of only 100 NBR Challenge Package models of the S206, a super rare edition celebrating STI’s monumental class win in this year’s Nurburgring 24-hour race. With its unique 19-inch BBS rims and hard-core carbon-fiber roof and rear wing, the NBR certainly looks the part.

Powering the S206 is a version of Subie’s turbocharged 2.0-liter boxer from the WRX STI. Horsepower has been bumped from 305 hp to 316 hp while torque increases from 290 lb-ft to 318 lb-ft. The engine is hand-built, with pistons, connecting rods, and crankshaft all meticulously balanced before assembly. The secret to the S206’s improved performance comes from the newly fitted low friction, twin-scroll ball-bearing turbo, a remapped ECU, and a low back pressure exhaust system that boosts low- to mid-range torque.

 

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Rear Three Quarters

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Built off of the outgoing WRX STI platform, the S206’s suspension gets specially fitted inverted Bilstein dampers, STI coil springs, and a flexible front strut tower brace, while those 19-inch rims are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sports rubber (245/35ZR19), highlighting huge six-piston Brembo calipers with drilled rotors. 

As we launch ourselves out of the blocks, the S206 feels at once poised and ready for any right boot extension. And any corner. Switching the VDC to S# for maximum throttle response, and with the updated DCCD (driver controlled center differential) left in normal mode, we gun the boxer engine in first and second to record a stopwatch-timed 0-60 mph sprint of around 4.5 seconds.

Compared to the current WRX STI, the S206 displays beefier torque between 3200 and 4400 rpm — where you need most for quicker cornering exits. But as Tatsumi says, “this torque curve also makes it easier to putter round town as well.” Right, but that’s not what we’re here for.

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Cockpit 2
2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Cockpit
2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Interior

Zeroing in on a tight right-hander in fourth at 100 mph, we obliterate 50 mph in 1 second flat by jumping on the 6-pot Brembos, pop the notchy six-speed gearbox down to second and turn in. Whoa..

It almost defies logic. How can you make an Impreza WRX corner with so little roll, maintain so much lateral grip, and yet retain such comfortable ride quality? It can’t just come from the specially fitted Bilstein inverted dampers, coil springs and tower bar.

Back in the pits, Tatsumi lets on that his team has brought across some “little secrets” from the STI race car, which they are preparing for a second Nurburgring 24-hour challenge in 2012.

 

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Side In Motion

Click to view Gallery

“It’s not just the flexible tower brace and Bilsteins that create this ride,” Tatsumi said. “I have brought over a flexible draw stiffener, several other nifty support braces, and special lateral links with pillow ball bushes in addition to a couple of race car inspired chassis revisions. Oh yeah, and one addition that even surprised us was the carbon-fiber roof, which not only improves upper body rigidity while reducing weight, but helps to improve the overall ride quality.” 

A carbon roof that improves ride quality? OK. We can’t argue with that because the ride quality is exceptional — firm but compliant – for a hard-core sports model like this with low profile 19-inch tires.

The combination of suspension upgrades and high-grip Michelin tires also meant Tatsumi’s team was able to dial back the steering gear ratio from 13:1 to 15:1, which makes the S206 turn in at speed as predictably as the actual race car, with logarithmic loads of grip and more steering feel and feedback than any STI before it.

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Center Console
2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Gear Shifter
2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Instrument Gauges

This car simply begs you to push it harder each lap. Your insides just about reach their lateral limits before the tires reach theirs. There’s almost no understeer and the rears won’t let go either. The engine, chassis, steering, and brakes are so communicative and responsive, they almost feel like an extension of your body. The car goes exactly where you want it to, when you want it to.

Tatsumi tells us that he wanted his team to build a car that wasn’t just the best STI so far, but create a car that communicates so well with drivers that it makes them better drivers, or at least feel as though they are better drivers. Can’t argue with that theory either. As I honed in on a tight corner at over 110 mph, crunched on the Brembos, changed down and got back on the gas as my brain tried to dislodge itself from my skull and fly toward the scrub, I have never felt more like seven-time World Rally champ Sebastian Loeb.

Not quite satisfied with the explanation as to why the car corners so well, I found myself asking Tatsumi “just how much of that race car is in the S206?” He just nodded and said cryptically, “It’s still ongoing. We want to win our class again in 2012 in the 24-hour race and slice several more seconds off our lap time. So there’s a little more still to do under there.”

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Rear Wing
2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Badge
2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 Engine

Inside, the lucky 300 S206 buyers get Recaro sport seats wrapped in leather and Alcantara, and plenty of S206 badging to remind them not to worry when an ordinary STI pulls alongside them at a traffic light.

So it begs the question: Why doesn’t STI offer an export model, even a very limited edition run, for the U.S. market? According to Tatsumi, there are two reasons. First, even with two catalyzers fitted to reduce CO2 and NOx gases, the S206’s emissions won’t meet current international standards. But more to the point, the ballistically strong Japanese Yen means that this car, which costs roughly the equivalent of $77,000 in Japan, would cost somewhere around $85,000 if (and when) they ever made a left-hand drive version. And that kind of pricing would put it in Nissan GT-R territory, making it hard to justify.

But then again, even if you did have the cash and wherewithal, and even if you were happy with a right-hand-drive version, you still can’t have one because the full lot of 300 (200 stock and 100 NBR editions) has already sold out. As Tatsumi points out, “if you want to drive this car, you’ll have to come to Japan.” Makes sense. If you want to eat the best, most authentic sushi, you have to come to Japan anyway, right?

 

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206
BASE PRICE $76,000 (est)
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door, sedan
ENGINE ENGINES 2.0L/316-hp /318-lb-ft, turbocharged, DOHC, flat-4
MOTOR MOTORS N/A
TRANSMISSION TRANSMISSIONS 6-speed, manual
CURB WEIGHT 3285 lb
WHEELBASE 103.3 in
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 180.3 x 70.7 x 57.9 in
0-60 MPH 4.5 sec (MT est)
EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON 24.5 mpg (Japan est)
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY N/A
CO2 EMISSIONS N/A
ON SALE IN U.S. Japan domestic market only (unfortunately)

Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1112_2012_subaru_impreza_wrx_sti_s206_first_drive/#ixzz1jHQNCa00

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Subaru won’t use Toyota tech for hybrids – Mid Hudson Subaru

Subaru will be going it alone on its first hybrid-powered vehicles, a new report finds. It was thought that Subaru would lean on corporate partner Toyota for its hybrid technology, but a Subaru executive says that will not be the case.

Toyota purchased an 8.7 percent stake in Subaru back in 2005, which was expected to lay the groundwork for a hybrid partnership between the two. However, an un-named Subaru executive has revealed to just-auto that the company will not be borrowing Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology.

Instead, Subaru engineers will develop their own hybrid system. Unlike Toyota’s HSD, Subaru’s system will be based on a mild system like those used by Hondaand General Motors. Although that means Subaru’s hybrid vehicles won’t be able to operate in electric only mode, they will use a small electric motor to aid in vehicle acceleration which will boost overall fuel economy.

Subaru’s hybrid technology will likely bow in 2013 in the company’s Legacy model. The hybrid Legacy is expected to first launch in Japan, but Subaru has plans to quickly bring the green technology to the United States. It remains unclear, though, if Subaru’s first hybrid application for the U.S. would be the Legacy or another vehicle like the Forester crossover. Whatever the case, look for Subaru’s first hybrid to retain the company’s signature boxer engine and all-wheel drive.

2012 Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept news, pictures, and information – Mid Hudson Subaru

2012 Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept Image

1. Concept
Exquisitely balancing the enjoyment of driving wîth environmental friendliness, the car, under its product concept of ‘Revolutionary Sports Tourer’, embodies Subaru’s theme of ‘Confidence in Motion’. This C-§egmènt class car was developed as a new-generation sports wagon providing both superior driving performance and utility. It features an innovative exterior design not found in conventional wagon models and expert wagon utility Subaru has cultivated over the years.

The well established sports power unit, the Horizontally-Opposed Subaru Boxer engine, is now wîth direct fuel injection. This highlight mixed wîth Subaru’s downsizing concept and original Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) expertise has enabled Subaru to make considerate progress on its unique Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) technology. An even sportier drivability and advanced environmental friendliness are both attainable in this new conceptcar.

2. Design and Packaging
Exterior Design
• Subaru’s brand statement ‘Confidence in Motion’ is portrayed in the outward design as well. The dynamic yet sleek look promises an enthusiastic drive, while the cabin offers all the usability of a C-§egmènt wagon.
• A flowing line on the side surfaces augments the stylish design calling to mind a coupe style car.

Interior Design
• In pursuit of Subaru’s human-centered philosophy, all passengers are assured a safe and pleasant ride in a comfortable and quality interior.
• An entire roof made of glass adds to the spacious feel. Various textures such as wood and metal are incorporated into the inside layout to produce ample ambiance.
• A large monitor is built into the §teering wheel allowing access to maps, television and internet services.
Information will be available at hand to support contemporary lifestyles even in the car.

3. Mechanisms
(1) Next-Generation Power Únit System
– Downsized direct fuel injection turbo engine –
• The downsized direct fuel injection turbo engine is one of the principal technologies that will guide Subaru’s engine strategy in the future. Not only is acceleration quick and smooth wîth the new-generation Horizontally-Opposed engine, it is environmentally friendly. The direct fuel injection system which injects necessary amounts of fuel into the cylinders at appropriate moments, and a turbo system which efficiently supplies large amounts of air into the cylinders, along wîth the downsizing of current turbo engine displacements (2,500cc and 2,000cc) to 1,600cc drastically improve combustion efficiency at practical driving-speed range compared to the existing turbo engine.

Vital Stats
Engine : 1.6 L., 4-cylinder

– High torque compatible Lineartronic (CVT) –
• Lineartronic is Subaru’s continuously variable transmission device designed for the new era. It is the world’s first longitudinally-mounted chain drive CVT to be utilized in mass-produced AWD passenger cars. For the concept car, the Lineartronic was refined to satisfy the high-power output turbo engine.

– Hybrid system –
• Subaru’s original hybrid system has been developed to harmonize wîth the Symmetrical AWD
technology, another one of its specialties, and to further enhance its appeal. A single motor system was employed for its simple structure and light weight.
• This system has an Electric Vehicle (EV) mode which allows AWD motion using only the motor at start-ups and low-speed drives. When decelerating, the regenerating mechanism uses the motor as a power generator.

(2) EyeSight
Subaru’s advanced driving assist system EyeSight (Version 2), well received since its release in May 2010, has made further progress. The recognition range of the stereo camera has expanded considerably, both in width and depth.

Length x Width x Height: 4,580 x 1,840 x 1,430mm
Engine type: 1.6 liter Horizontally-Opposed direct fuel injection turbo engine
Transmission type: High torque compatible Lineartronic
Drive train: Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive wîth hybrid system
Battery type: Lithium-ion battery

Subaru has high expectations for rest of year – Mid Hudson Subaru

With six months of sales results in the book, and the effects of a parts shortage in Japan behind them, the second half of 2011 will bring increased production and additional hiring to Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. in Lafayette.

“During the first six months of the calendar year we built about 115,000 (Subaru and Toyota) units,” said Tom Easterday, executive vice president at Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. in Lafayette. “That’s less than what we originally forecast, because of the parts shortage. We really needed to be running overtime.”

A March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan disrupted parts production and exporting from that country. It also impacted sales results for some vehicles, including Subaru models and the Toyota Camry which are built at SIA.

With the parts problem solved, SIA is planning to ramp up production soon by returning to daily and Saturday overtime hours for some associates at the Lafayette plant where the workforce numbers approximately 3,550.

“We’ll have about 150 new people added by mid-July to the end of August,” although a breakdown of additional Subaru and Toyota associates hasn’t been made, Easterday said. “We’ll also have a Subaru line speed increase in the first week of September and a model launch of the 2012 Camry in the first part of September.”

A report released Friday by Subaru of America Inc. shows the company sold 19,794 vehicles last month. That’s 8 percent fewer than were sold June of last year.

“Customer demand hasn’t let up and our dealers did a terrific job selling cars as soon as they arrived at their stores,” said Bill Cyphers, senior vice president for sales at Subaru of America. “We continue to outperform our initial expectations for this period thanks to more production arriving than we first anticipated and better efficiency in getting our cars to dealers and out to customers.”

Among vehicles built at SIA, June results showed:

• Sales of the Legacy increased by 15 percent, to 3,471 units.

• Sales of the Outback rose by 21 percent, to 7,914 units.

• Sales of the Tribeca gained 3 percent, to 180 units.

Among the company’s Japanese-made models, sales of the Forester fell by 28 percent, to 5,466 units; while sales of the Impreza line dropped by 35 percent, to 2,763 units.

Through the first six month of 2011, Subaru sales totaled 132,049 — an increase of 5 percent over the January-June period of last year.

Six-month sales figures for vehicles built at SIA show customer acceptance of the Outback grew by 25 percent, to 51,239 units, while the Legacy posted a 12 percent increase, to 21,284 units; and the Tribeca lost 3 percent, to 1,274.

“We still have record demand for our product in dealerships, however we are still working through a low inventory period after the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan,” said Thomas Doll, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Subaru of America.

“Our dealers managed to be incredibly efficient with the inventory available and the situation is improving all the time. We expect 2011 will still be the second best year ever for Subaru in the U.S.”

New Subaru next week in China – Mid Hudson Subaru

Subaru XV Concept Crossover at Shanghai auto show April 19-28, 2011

The silouette of a new crossover ‘XV Concept’ to be shown at the Shanghai car show April 19-28, 2011.  Is this a preview of the 2012 Impreza 5 door hatchback? Thats very possible since the 2012 Impreza will be at the NY Auto shown the next day. And the US and China are big markets for Subaru. Or is this a hint of an all new car…

The Subaru XV Concept is a design concept car that defines a new generation of crossover vehicle, blending exceptional SUV practicality with a fashionable form. It was specifically designed for customers who are looking for a vehicle offering looks, benefits and a packaging that stretch beyond those from the populated crowd of existing crossover models.

Subaru upsets China with Chairman Mao ad

Subaru are on the verge of sealing a deal with China’s Chery Motors that should see them producing the Forester in Chery’s new factory in Dalian, but a new advertisement for Subaru’s Trezia model in Italy may well delay any official seal for the joint venture.

The Italian advertisement which reportedly translates as saying “a high driving position and superior internal space is worthy of a revolution” with a picture of China’s first chairman Mao in the background but with a feminine face superimposed on top. Subaru is not the first company to anger the Chinese internet with an advert that passed certain cultural boundaries, in 2008 Citroen upset the Chinese people in Spain with a picture of Mao Ze Dong with his face crunched up, of course this was prior to the Olympic torch relay issue in Paris which kicked off several months of hatred for all things French in China, of course the mob mentality eventually died away and Citroen enjoyed strong sales in the following years.

There is still a festering wound in China for Japanese actions in World War Two, so Subaru’s rather ill timed advertisement is only likely to affect any on-going negotiations for its joint venture in Dalian with Chery, until at least Subaru delivers a grovelling apology.

Subaru China were unable, or unwilling to comment on any actions taken by Subaru Italy and claimed to have no knowledge of the advertisement when prompted by Chinese media outlets. Expect an internet outcry over the next few days from patriotic Chinese and a boycott of Subaru’s products that will last at least a few days.

Subaru Introduces New Toyota, I mean Trezia in Japan

Japanese manufacturer Subaru is taking aim at the compact segment of the automotiveindustry with this week’s release of the Trezia. The model, in fact a rebadged and slightly restyled Toyota Verso, is being built by Fuji

The Trezia is powered by a choice of two engines, a 1.3i version and a 1.5i unit. Both are paired with a CTV transmission, while the compact is being offered in a choice of either two wheel drive or four wheel drive configurations.

“We will pursue our compact car business on an original equipment manufacturing basis under the alliance,” Ikuo Mori, president of Fuji Heavy Industries said in a press conference held to honor the launch of the model.

The Trezia is the first model to be manufactured by Fuji Heavy Industries after the tie up with Toyota back in 2008. It will most definitely not be the last, as the two plan to launch a production version of the FT-86.