By on October 25, 2017

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

After some light teasing, Subaru unveiled the Viziv Performance Concept in its entirety at the Tokyo Motor Show — showing what is very likely to the next incarnation of the WRX. While that’s not a guarantee, the Viziv’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive, boxer engine, squared taillights, hood scoop, and overall shape appears to be an obvious evolution of the brand’s beloved performance model.

Enthusiasts are likely to be pleased, too. While it was never gorgeous, the WRX has enjoyed ho-hum styling since 2008. Things took a turn for the better after a mid-cycle facelift in late 2009, but even the current generation lacks some of the character of those earlier examples. On the upside, Subaru continued to refine what was essentially a budget automobile with highly desirable driving dynamics.

But if the next WRX can maintain the Viziv’s more extravagant styling cues while also holding onto improved interior quality and performance, well, then this is all very exciting. 

Let’s not put the cart before the horse, though. Subaru hasn’t officially announced anything yet. In fact, we wouldn’t have much to go on had CarScoops and a handful of other outlets hadn’t broke the news slightly ahead of the vehicle’s official reveal in Japan. Those details have made it all the more obvious that the automaker is laying the groundwork for its next-generation performance sedan.

The Viziv Concept measures 182.2 inches in length, 76.7 inches in width, and 56.3 inches in height. Taking into account the fact that concept cars are typically designed with more girth and a shorter roofline than their real-world counterparts, that isn’t far from the current WRX’s dimensions. Subaru also said the Viziv comes with a very WRXish “high-performance” flat-four.

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

It does have new tricks up its sleeve, however. The manufacturer has bestowed the concept with perforated air outlets behind the wheel arches. Subaru said the design smooths out turbulent air, helping high-speed performance and fuel economy. There are also tiny wings at the top of each wheel arch. As difficult as it is to believe, these minuscule fins are supposed to further assist with aerodynamics and even improve handling. According to Automotive News, Subaru’s global design chief Mamoru Ishii said the company fully intends to use them on future production vehicles.

Like every concept vehicle, the Viziv is heavy on autonomous technology. It’s outfitted with an advanced version of the brand’s EyeSight safety system and takes things a step further by replacing mirrors with camera mounts and adding radar. Subaru has previously stated it wants to target Level 2 autonomy by 2020, so the proposed tech could be more fact than fiction — which is refreshing to see on a concept car.

Still, we’re more excited about the styling choices Subaru is making here. It previously announced that it wanted to stop making ugly cars and, while having a sensibly styled fleet was always part of its unique charm, nobody is going to mind seeing it strive for more beautiful bodywork. “From this car forward, we don’t want our cars to look good just parked in a show room but to look good running down the road,” Ishii said after the concept’s official debut.

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

[Images: Subaru]

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21 Comments on “Subaru Showcases Muscular Viziv Concept and Likely the Next-gen WRX...”


  • avatar
    Fordson

    So they set out to improve upon the matte-black Pontiac cladding with…gloss black! And they out-GMC’d GMC’s square wheel arches with…hexagonal wheel arches! With little vents and eyebrows! Zowie!

    Those zany Japanese…

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    Heavy-looking, especially in the rear flanks – the amount of metal between the C-pillar and wheel arch is immense. Did they take those taillights from the Civic parts bin when no one was looking?

    I remember seeing the concept for the current Impreza/WRX, and what the production car looked like… such a letdown. (I hope they stay close to this presentation.)

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Great concepts, okay production cars.
      That’s what makes Subaru a Subaru.©

      Oh, and Love. And dogs, for some reason.

      • 0 avatar
        True_Blue

        Ha, pretty much on the large, wet, doggy, nose, John. (oxford comma all up in here)

        I had a ’94 Legacy with the the closed-deck EJ22 and a five speed. It was one of the homeliest vehicles on the road but what a well-engineered piece of kit. The tinworm eventually caught up with her but what a hoot to drive in winter conditions.

        • 0 avatar
          conundrum

          Unless you had a ’94 Legacy Turbo, your EJ22 was open deck.

          I had a later 2.2, so-called Gen 2 SOHC engine which in 2.5l form was the basis of most failed head gaskets and stuck rings. None of the 2.2’s ever seemed to have this problem, but the Gen 2 loved to fail the spark plug cover gasket to valve cover and fill the well with oil.

          Mind you, by 100,000 miles, my engine was so rattly, I wondered if things were copacetic, but it never burned oil. It just was loose and run in, I guess. And the Impreza it was attached to, although a wet noodle in crash tests, drove far better than the 2017 I had for a week recently. What a dog that thing is! Long travel suspension? My foot. It skitters. Sense of straight ahead on the highway? Non-existent, requiring tiring constant steering correction. It feels like a flyweight a butterfly’s breeze can blow sideways and yet weighs 3200 lbs. The reviews are positive, which makes me wonder how polite reviewers have to be to exist in the trade.

          As for this concept: This is just Subaru having a joke, having pulled the same stunt at least twice before. The WRX when it hobbles into view in 2020 will look like an angry Impreza

  • avatar
    FalcoDog

    Nice but not gonna happen.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    I’ve seen this play before regarding the WRX. Being Subaru, I’d think the title should be “And Unlikely the Next…”

  • avatar
    DJM

    I don’t understand the obsession with those huge front nacelles. Are these at least functional?

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Maybe given the fact that a WRX might see track time they could be functional brake ducts. But I highly doubt it. Most new cars have active shutters to block the main grill openings to improve aero. So almost all of these scoops, intakes and other inlets are style only elements. Look at the new Civic Type R, the inlets that surround the fog lights are mostly blocked off. Same goes for those massive Lexus grills. This seems odd to me as more and more cars are boosted and thus require air intercoolers in addition to standard engine (water) cooling. So I would expect more functional air ducting instead we seem to get huge grills that do nothing.

    • 0 avatar
      dougjp

      Its the same generation of designers that have most cars with iPads crazy glued to the dash, as “modern design”. We are doomed :(

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Pointless exercise this.

  • avatar
    Steve65

    Pretty much every pointlessly aggressive and faux-aero ugly current styling cliche crammed onto one car. Complete with the apparently mandatory fake formula car wing motif three part front valence.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Pointless styling exercise showcasing most of the trends of the past 3 years. The Subaru designers are just following the pack, not breaking any new ground.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    this is probably in conjunction with Sony’s Gran Turismo Sport

    http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/videos/a22792/subaru-viziv-gt-vision-gran-turismo-fully-revealed/

    that’s what they did 3yrs ago with Gran Turismo 6

    I’d argue the GT6 version is more dynamic.

  • avatar
    CombiCoupe99

    Subaru steadfastly refuses to produce an attractive vehicle – they simply refuse to do it.

  • avatar
    Rumblefish

    No hatch, no sale.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Styling home run for Subaru!

    Only because the current version sets the bar SO low.

    Still hoping for a hatch……..

  • avatar
    duncanator

    I have learned over the decades to simply ignore concept vehicles. They must serve some purpose, perhaps for the Chinese to copy (Land Rover), but I don’t know why they even bother with them. Show me a production vehicle and then I’ll pay attention.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    The reappearance of flat, sharp creases is promising, but the no-rear-headroom, no-rear-vision roofline is still there. The roofline will probably recede to the rear bumper before the formal upright limo rear window returns. The jellybean profile that started with the Taurus has been around so long, a three-box design would look new and exciting. That won’t happen until the CAFE rules are dialed back, or eliminated entirely.


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