Hi there. I hope this blog post finds you well. Did you have a restful weekend? I hope so. Anyway, let’s get down to brass tacks: you may be hearing some business about a possible mid-engine hybrid Subaru sports car in development. I’m going to go ahead and save everyone some time by just calling bullshit on this today.
Citing reports in Japanese auto publication Best Car, Motor1 and other outlets say Subaru is claimed to be working on an all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid sports car, with its engine in the middle and something like 330 horsepower. From the latter’s story:
Take the following information with the proverbial pinch of salt, but the alleged sports car will apparently combine a turbocharged gasoline boxer engine positioned midship with an electric motor. Why does that sound familiar? Because the original report also said something about a conventional mid-mounted engine driving the rear wheels being combined with a pair of electric motors mounted on the front axle to enable an all-wheel-drive layout.
As with the supposed performance car purportedly tested in 2016 with a modified BRZ prototype, the new mid-engined Subaru is expected to be a plug-in hybrid. Details about combined output are not available at the moment of writing, but the initial rumor said something about 330 horsepower and the implementation of a torque vectoring function.
A grain of salt indeed. I’ll go ahead and pull up to the scene with a big dump truck full of salt, and then just dump said salt all over this report. Calling it now: this isn’t gonna happen.
What do I base that on? Common sense, really. Subaru barely knows what to do with the BRZ, its joint venture with Toyota, a sports car we think is perfectly fine as-is but has never received the power bumps or turbo engine the masses demanded. Plus, Subaru’s own track record with low-volume niche vehicles is pretty spotty. Remember the Baja? The SVX? The XT? Do you remember any of those? Do you?
Subaru right now is a brand focused on volume, a volume it can barely keep up with as demand skyrockets. It’s extremely hard to imagine this wildly successful but still-small brand having the resources or inclination to dump into such a niche vehicle. We’ll see plug-in hybrid Subarus, for sure, but they’ll likely be Outbacks and Foresters or whatever down the line. Hell, I’d love to see a performance-focused hybrid WRX, and that’s supposed to be in the cards. It makes sense.
But a hybrid mid-engine sports car? Nah. We’re legit more likely to get a new Mazda rotary engine car, or even a remotely interesting Infiniti, before this thing ever happens. Could Subaru team up with Toyota again, as with the BRZ and 86, to make the new MR2 that’s been hinted at? It’s possible, but that’s 100 percent speculation on my part. Given the declining sports car market anyway, none of this seems like a solid bet. Very much the opposite.
Anyway, as you go about your day, please rest easy, knowing that you will never see a mid-engine hybrid Subaru sports car, so don’t worry about it!