Mid-engined Subaru sports car rumors reappear

Are they credible this time?

We last heard rumors of a mid-engined Subaru sports car in 2016. They haven't materialized, at this point it looks like Hyundai is closer to launching a mid-engined sports car than Subaru, but a new report coming out of Japan suggests the project isn't dead yet.

Japanese magazine Best Car reports the yet-unnamed model has morphed into a plug-in hybrid sports car. It doesn't list the precise configuration but it notes the drivetrain consists of a turbocharged flat-four engine and an electric motor. The two power sources could spin the rear wheels together, or Subaru could choose to place the electric motor over the front axle to create a through-the-road all-wheel drive system.

It sounds like the project hasn't received the proverbial green light for production yet. It ultimately depends on whether Subaru's American arm can make a positive business case for the car. The United States is the firm's biggest market by a long shot so the car needs to sell well here. Other markets like China, Europe, and even Japan certainly won't contribute anything significant to annual sales volumes.

We also don't know what it will look like. Best Car's cover (published on a Japanese blog) shows a shooting brake-like model that could conceivably go against the mid-engined Hyundai Veloster currently in development. That could be pure speculation, and Subaru's mid-engined model could arrive as a sleeker-looking coupe -- if it arrives at all.

Note: Subaru Viziv concept pictured. Photo by Ronan Glon.

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