Subaru's big debut at the Geneva Motor Show is a futuristic crossover concept designed to show the future of the brand's styling and engineering. Called the Viziv for "Vision for Innovation," the Subaru concept car dramatically advances the company's design language and debuts an advanced diesel-hybrid powertrain.
The two-door, four-place Viziv looks nothing like any existing Subaru. Its roofline terminates in a spoiler and leads to a steeply raked rear window. Bracket-shaped headlights on either side of the prominent front grille are reprised as skinny taillights on the liftgate. A scalloped edge and a prominent character crease define the doors. There is but a single main window for both rows of seats, with a small quarter-window behind the door.
The cabin, too, has a decidedly futuristic look that begins with a wide display screen spanning the entire width of the dashboard. Blue lighting, blue accents for the steering wheel and seats, and a twin-binnacle instrument cluster give the Subaru Viziv a typical show-car appearance. Because there is no propshaft to the rear axles (more on that in a second), the floor is totally flat and thus, Subaru claims, four adults can ride comfortably.
The Viziv concept uses a new powertrain called Subaru Boxer Diesel Hybrid, which consists of a 2.0-liter turbodiesel flat-four engine, a lithium-ion battery pack, and three electric motors. One electric motor is connected to the engine and continuously variable transmission, while the other two drive the rear wheels to provide Subaru's signature all-wheel drive. The electric motors assist the diesel engine at low speed to improve power and reduce fuel consumption, but the diesel engine is the primary motivator at highway speeds. If it went into production, this would be Subaru's first hybrid powertrain.
Using two motors for the rear axle means Subaru can also provide torque vectoring, shifting more electrical power to the outside wheel during cornering. This can improve handling at speed, and Subaru says it could also allow for tighter turning radii in city driving.
"This is our future-generation crossover concept," Fuji Heavy Industries president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said in a speech at the Geneva show. "It embodies our vision of Subaru's future." In other words, expect to see toned-down versions of this styling and technology implemented in future production cars.