Subaru may have tipped its hand, offering a glimpse of what it has coming in the not-too-distant future with the unveiling of the new Viziv 2 concept vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show.
The design of the plug-in hybrid vehicle is a likely forerunner of what we’ll be seeing with the next Subaru CrossTrek, according to company insiders. The distinctive 4-motor hybrid-electric drive system, meanwhile, could indicate how the Japanese maker will adapt its signature all-wheel-drive systemto the demands for cleaner, more fuel-efficient technology.
The Viziv 2 “signifies a future path” for Subaru, suggested Tomahiko Ikeda, a senior executive with Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries, during the concept vehicle’s Geneva debut. “To progress, we must evolve. The Viziv 2 is an example.”
To confuse things a bit, the Subaru Viziv 2 Concept is actually the third show car to use that name, following the earlier Viziv Concept that appeared in Geneva last year, and the Viziv Evolution Concept, the latter unveiled only last November at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Oh, and if you’re wondering why Viziv, the name is short for “Vision for Innovation.”
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The Viziv 2 is powered by a plug-in drivetrain that combines a 1.6-liter gasoline engine with four separate electric motors, one powering each wheel. The approach allows Subaru to switch from a traditional all-wheel-drive system, with all the hardware needed to link front and rear axles, to a simpler system where the axles operate independently. Some in the industry refer to the concept as a “through-the-road” all-wheel-drive system.
Meanwhile, by applying a separate motor to each wheel, Viziv 2 can offer the next generation of torque vectoring, not only increasing power to the wheels with the best traction, but putting more torque to the vehicle’s outer wheels to help steer around a corner.
(New Hazumi Concept “foreshadows” the next-generation Mazda2. Click Herefor a first look.)
From a design standpoint, the Viziv 2 migrates from a coupe to four-door layout. There had been some speculation the series of show cars, meanwhile, might have hinted at the planned replacement for the maker’s top-line Tribeca model. In fact, that SUV won’t be back for at least several more years. More likely, the show car’s design cues will reappear in the form of the smaller, next-generation CrossTrek, TheDetroitBureau,com learned.
Along with the latest Viziv 2 Concept, Subaru used its Geneva appearance to highlight both the 2015 WRX STI and a new race car spinoff that it plans to campaign later this year at the 24-hour endurance race at Germany’s vaunted Nurburgring.