By on March 7, 2016

Subaru Global Platform

Subaru’s next generation of models will ride atop a platform that is stiffer, less prone to body roll and can incorporate a variety of propulsion sources, Motor Authority reports.

The new modular platform will underpin all future Subaru vehicles except the BRZ, starting with the Indiana-built 2017 Impreza.

Besides its adaptability to a range of models, the company says the key selling point of the Subaru Global Platform is a greatly increased stiffness that lends itself to safety and handling.

“The new platform dramatically increases rigidity throughout the body and chassis (a 70- to 100-percent increase over present models) and incorporates substantial improvements to the suspension system and achieve a lower center of gravity, bringing about highly responsive steering that allows drivers to control the vehicle precisely as they want,” Subaru stated.

By strengthening the joints throughout the frame and mounting the rear stabilizer bar to the body, Subaru claims future models will have less vibration and exhibit less body lean in cornering. The new platform also means new models will have a slightly lower center of gravity (five millimetres), because if there’s one brand of cars people fear tossing around, it’s Subaru.

While their model line is gas-only for the time being — and Subaru says boxer engines will remain — the automaker’s new platform is built to support future hybrid, plug-in and fully-electric drivetrains.

Subaru remains on a winning streak, posting a sales increase of 13 percent in 2015 and boasting increased sales every year since the 2008 recession. Once a niche brand, Subaru has trekked solidly into the mainstream

Having a single platform underpinning almost all of its new vehicles can’t help but boost efficiency in the production process. Different models will be able to share the same assembly line at Subaru’s Lafayette, Indiana plant, which recently saw a $140 million investment aimed at increasing output.

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44 Comments on “Subaru Grows a Better Backbone...”


  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I really wish manufacturers would give precise nm/degree numbers regarding torsional rigidity, rather than the relative “the new model is 25%/50%/75% stiffer than the outgoing model, blah blah blah.”

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I agree. But that’s marketing for you. I don’t think most people would know what to do with actual torsional rigidity specs.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      would that be measured in how much torque it takes for it to start twisting like wringing out a damp rag? in lbs/ft? something like that would be pretty easy to explain, id think.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        http://blogs.youwheel.com/2014/04/25/car-body-torsional-rigidity-a-comprehensive-list/

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          Neat list. To convert all those numbers to lbf-ft/degree, multiply them by three-fourths, near enough.

          Some real flexi-flyers there, considering that a 1965 Austin 1800 would be 16,900 on their scale, or 12,500 lbf-ft/deg.

          A Neon Gen 1 is only 4500 lbf-ft/deg!

          Anything less than 15,000 on their scale is not great these days.

          Since the current Impreza is 24,000 nt-m/deg on a sunny day, a 70 percent increase as claimed in the article would take it to 41,000, higher than anything on this list.

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      Another number not mentioned lately is the resonant frequency of the chassis. I have a vague memory of the 2nd gen Taurus being sold on this merit – with a higher frequency being better.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Not being an engineer, this confuses me: Some manufacturers have published a scant few numbers regarding Nm/degree for torsional rigidity on a few of their models, whereas others are reported in terms of Hz resonance.

  • avatar
    redliner

    Plug-in hybrid boxer WRX wagon?

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    But will the STi ever surpass 305 horsepower?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Add moar turbos.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Or maybe actually give the motor a thorough re-do.

        305 horsepower just isn’t impressive any more. Especially when (outside of America, anyway) Mitsubishi sold a 400hp Evo.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          They seem to be hesitant to do that, for some reason. Perhaps there’s some rally regulation holding them back? Is that even still the reason for the existence of the WRX?

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I’m pretty sure Subaru’s rally team ceased to exist in 2008 courtesy of the global recession, so unless they came back they don’t have to worry about rally regulations…

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh, news to me. I can’t follow rally because I find it extremely boring, even to watch on TV. So then they have no excuse for not modernizing ye olde WRX.

            Course look how long they’ve drug out the H6 engine, it’s not competitive or modern either.

          • 0 avatar
            hudson

            Subaru left the top level of the sport because the latest generation of the Impreza got Homologated without enough rear suspension travel and was completely uncompetitive. They’re still pretty much the go to chassis for a few rungs down all the way to the grass roots.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            Hasn’t most of WRC gone down a size? They’re all running Fiestas and Countrymen, and I keep expecting to see a Juke rear its face somewhere.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The hottest version of the FA20 has replaced the EJ257 in Japan, but it hasn’t happened here yet. I don’t know why. The power ratings are the same but the FA20 car is a bit faster in real life.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I dunno. The STi seems like a markedly-balanced car to me. The BRZ could use a boost, but I don’t feel like the STi needs one.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So this backbone must also be stretchable to accommodate that future three row vehicle they keep teasing?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Are you suggesting that starting next year Subaru is going to get hard?

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    I don’t know why they bother with all this, when 95% of the ones not badged WRX are going to be driven like both car and driver were born in the 50s….

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      How many platforms are they using now? I imagine it is almost entirely an efficiency/cost savings play. If you are building a new (and expensive) modular architecture it should be stiffer/lighter/safer/better than whatever it is replacing. Getting to release some marketing material about driving dynamics is just a tiny bonus.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’m gonna say three total.

        Impreza/XV/Forester
        Outback/Legacy
        BRZ

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        Umm, one platform, actually.

        Impreza – The Impreza
        Legacy – Lengthened Impreza
        Crosstrek – Heightened Impreza
        Forester – Heightened enlarged Impreza
        Outback – Lengthened heightened enlarged Impreza
        WRX/STI – Tunered Impreza

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          And BRZ. So two.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            The BRZ is a Toyota, it doesn’t count. :)

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Hmm, I GUESS I’ll let that one slide. So they’ve been one platform for some time, accomplishing what VW has been building towards for a while!

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            Matter of fact, yes. They managed to do it first. Now everyone’s trying to do it. And Subaru is trying to make like it’s a brand new thing, when this is what they’ve been doing all along anyway. Gotta love marketing. :D

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            BRZ/86/FR-S are on a Subaru platform. It is essentially an Impreza with everything in front of the firewall reworked to not have terrible axle placement relative to the engine placement.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Back to two then.

            “You’re tearing me apaaaart!”
            -The Room

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          except the Legacy came first on the existing platform, so the Impreza is a shortened Legacy.

    • 0 avatar
      Rudolph

      → npaladin2000 re car and driver born in the 50s

      ☺ ¿ What about vehicles (Nakajima) and drivers born in the 30s ? :)

      My fav is the Premium Forester (son owns his 2d Outback)

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    Seems like putting lipstick on a pig until they get around to refining those agricultural engines they use. I don’t know how people stand those things. Really ruins what would be an otherwise OK vehicle.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    im curious why subaru doesnt buy the relatively close mitsu plant in illinois. supposedly they could use the capacity

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I would think they would spend some money on a modern engine. These engines remind me of a old washing machine.

  • avatar
    wagonsonly

    “While their model line is gas-only for the time being — and Subaru says boxer engines will remain — the automaker’s new platform is built to support future hybrid, plug-in and fully-electric drivetrains.”

    Subaru’s model line does include a hybrid – you can get an XV Crosstrek with an IMA-like hybrid system.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Sounds like Subie will continue to eat a little more of the Big Boys’ lunch!

  • avatar
    Rudolph

    ▼ Speaking of Subaru and boxer engines ▼

    http://www.boxerdiesel.com/

    Unfortunately unavailable in North America •


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