SUBARU has hinted its all-new WRX performance model will be the fastest in almost two decades of the pocket-rocket.
Speaking at the reveal of WRX Concept at the 2013 New York motor show, Subaru's sales and marketing boss Tomohiko Ikeda agreed the car would get performance gains and likely be the quickest WRX ever.
"We hope so," said Ikeda when asked if this all-new WRX model would be the fastest. "We want to enhance the performance."
The WRX Concept has four doors but sleek, coupe-like styling and an aggressive nose, with the trademark air intake feeding fresh air to the turbo's intercooler.
Ikeda was guarded on almost all details of the upcoming model, which is expected to go on sale in Australia about this time next year.
"This is only a concept car," was the response to numerous questions about engines, design and when the production model would go on sale.
Ikeda did admit Subaru had considered a hybrid powertrain. The brand revealed its first hybrid car, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, in New York. "Anything's possible," he said about a hybrid for the WRX. "We are studying every possibility."
However Drive sources suggested the chances of a petrol-electric WRX were extremely unlikely, something backed up by Subaru America boss Tom Doll.
"Not in a performance car," said Doll, who left the door open for future electrification, saying "you could argue that with the electric engine and the additional power it gives you and the additional torque it provides, particularly at the low end ... it might have a possibility".
It's expected the new WRX will get a new-generation 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine in Subaru's trademark horizontally opposed, or boxer, configuration.
The new engine is also likely to get direct injection for improved efficiency, leading to better performance and reduced fuel use.
Doll said the WRX would be offered with a manual gearbox and likely get a CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatic.
Drive insiders also said the new car is likely to have a lightweight focus as a means of improving performance and handling.
And Doll said Subaru would implement lessons learnt from the Subaru BRZ sports car - which was developed in conjunction with the Toyota 86 - into the new WRX.
The WRX Concept had a carbon-fibre roof, which could be offered as an option or as a special order when the car makes it into dealerships.
It's also understood Subaru might use more aluminium panels, which are lighter than traditional steel.
This is the first time since the original 1994 Impreza WRX that the model will deviate markedly from the Impreza it is loosely based on.
While Doll said the new WRX might share some panels with the Impreza, the WRX will now be its own brand.