Subaru is revamping its entire lineup, based on a new vehicle architecture that is being implemented in the new generation Impreza due to hit the streets in 2016.
The Subaru Global Platform is a cornerstone in the six initiatives Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) has identified in the “Prominence 2020” vision of 2014, as a means toward enhancing the Subaru brand. The other four cornerstones are the horizontally opposed (Boxer) engine, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and the EyeSight collision mitigation system (which is able to quickly detect changes in traffic patterns and brake the vehicle to a full stop, depending on conditions, to avoid or lessen a crash impact).
“The Subaru Global Platform lifts Subaru’s automotive technology to new heights, and marks the next step in the evolution of ‘Enjoyment and Peace of Mind’ — the value that Subaru offers to its customers,” said FHI President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga. “This new platform represents the culmination of the know-how we have developed over many years, and we are confident that it will allow us to produce vehicles that live up to our proud traditions and meet the high expectations customers have of Subaru.”
The new platform is meant to elevate Subaru vehicles’ levels of performance (particularly in straight-line stability, noise and vibration control, and comfort) and safety, while creating a single design concept that’s open to different powertrains (particularly the inclusion of electrification).
The new platform is 70% to 100% stiffer, with substantial upgrades to suspension and a lowering of the centre of gravity (by 5 mm), both of which enhance steering response. That increased level of control will aid in the development of future autonomous vehicles. It will also help reduce vibrations coming up into the cabin for better comfort, and help reduce noise for improved ambience.
The new frame structure makes energy absorption more efficient in a crash — an improvement of 40% from present models, says Subaru.
One important component change is the mounting of the rear stabilizer to the body, which helps reduce body roll by a reported 50%.
The unified concept design means that all vehicle types (sedan and wagon, for example) will be developed at the same time, which will aid in bringing vehicles to market more quickly and will more alternatives (especially when it comes to powertrains, where vehicles may be offered in gasoline, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and dedicated electric versions, without the need to change body structure to accommodate the different components specific to each powertrain).
As a benefit, says the company, vehicle development will make it possible to reduce development personnel and facility usage, as well as reducing component redundancies, all of which will result in cost savings that can be used to offset market fluctuations to make models more competitive. It will also allow flexible production at Subaru plants worldwide, meaning more models coming off the same assembly lines.