Subaru Teases XV Concept, Is This the 2012 Impreza Outback Sport?

By now, you’ve already seen a side view of the new 2012 Subaru Impreza sedan — but if you look closely at the photo above, you may have a sneak peek at the new Impreza in hatchback form.

The photo was released on Subaru’s global media site as a teaser for the new XV concept, which will debut at the Shanghai Motor Show at roughly the same time the new Impreza line breaks cover in New York. It’s difficult to discern much from this shadowy shot, but the front clip does bear a close resemblance to that of the U.S.-spec car.

Also implicating the Impreza lineage is the XV name itself. Presently, the Outback Sport — essentially an Impreza Wagon with body cladding, large wheels, and a slightly lifted stance — is sold in select markets as the Impreza XV.

A teaser site proclaims the XV concept is “a new generation crossover vehicle, blending exceptional SUV practicality with a fashionable form.” Similar marketing prose was used last year when the Euro-spec Impreza XV debuted at the 2010 Geneva Motor  Show.

If it’s anything like its North American sibling, the XV will likely be equipped with the company’s new 2.0-liter gasoline horizontally-opposed four-cylinder, although a diesel engine offering — perhaps the company’s 2.0-liter turbo-diesel boxer-four — is likely to be offered to European customers. All-wheel-drive is assuredly part of the powertrain package, and a CVT will replace the current four-speed automatic in an attempt to improve fuel economy.

Will we see an XV on our shores? Subaru’s mum on the subject, but we’ve heard whispers that a five-door — and perhaps even a specialized model like the XV — are again slated for North America. Find out for certain on April 20th, when the 2012 Impreza publicly debuts at the 2012 New York auto show.