We Subaru fans must have seen this coming following the April debut of the 2012 Impreza. While we applaud the longer, roomier, smoother, and hopefully, more marketable Impreza for young singles and families, the new Impreza strays away from the rally car architecture from which it was born.
And so, the Impreza and WRX will go their separate ways this fall. It is for the best, I think. While I really like the current generation Impreza. It is for the best, as Subaru just can't continue to neglect or alienate its performance fans. Subaru means different things to different people. In New England, it is the only car some people want to drive. But in the hills of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and the desert roads of Nevada and Southern California, the WRX and STi are the only cars some people want to show off, modify, and burn rubber in.
So the Subaru roadmap looks lik this: The third generation Impreza will continue to be sold worldwide in its WRX and STi versions only. The fourth generation Impreza will arrive on the streets of Japan, Australia/NZ, Europe, and North America this November. Both cars will continue to be built in Subaru's plant in Ota (Gunma), Japan.
As for which new platform the all new WRX will ride on, no one knows. Subaru has a history of releasing concept cars to a hungry press and fan base, which end up being models for the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) only. At this weekend's Frankfurt Auto Show, Subaru is revealing its latest car, the XV Crossover. There has been speculation that it could be the platform for the next generation Impreza. But one look at the car, plus a visit to the Subaru Australia site reveals that the XV is what we Americans call the Outback Sport. It's a raised Impreza with slighty more rugged bumbers and fender flares, plus a roof rack, which has proven to be a sales hit thanks to its sub $20K sticker price. So for the record, the XV is a taller fourth generation Impreza.
Meanwhile Subaru is readying its new coupe, based on its joint project with Toyota, the FT-86 (which is it's Toyota chassis code, maintaining a naming convntion that goes back to the 1970s). That coupe might be sold under the Scion brand in North America as the Scion FR-S. Subaru will sell a varient called the Subaru BRZ, which is making its debut at the Frankfurt show this weekend. It is unknown if the BRZ will be sold globally, or if will exlcude North America in order to bolster Scion sales.
The Subaru fanboys and fangirls waiting for the next all new WRX will just have to wait, which they should be used to, given that the first generation WRX was on the market for nearly eight full years (1992-2000). Besides, the current generation has been refined just enough to compete well against the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. It's still a great car, and it has the full support of the Subaru tuner community, led by aftermarket performance component manufacturers such as Cobb Tuning.