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Subaru's hybrid 'Gullwing'

BY JEZ SPINKS
Last updated 15:13 01/10/2009
Subaru hybrid
FLYING HYBRID: Subaru has unveiled a touring concept car with huge lift-up doors and new petrol-electric technology.

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Subaru has taken inspiration from Mercedes-Benz's new SLS AMG for its new gullwing-doored hybrid concept.

The huge roof-hinged doors dominate the 4630mm-long tourer concept that will preview the company's potential future drivetrain technology at this month's Tokyo motor show.

The as-yet-unnamed concept features trademark all-wheel drive and horizontally opposed 'boxer' engine but adds direct injection for improved fuel efficiency and performance and is teamed with two electric motors.

Subaru's hybrid system is unusual compared with other petrol-electric cars such as the Toyota Prius.

A 20kW motor at the rear can power the concept alone, though only at "extremely low speeds" according to Subaru. It also assists the 2.0-litre petrol engine during acceleration.

The 10kW front motor acts as a power generator but also comes into play to assist the petrol engine in climbing hills.

The turbocharged petrol engine primarily powers the wheels in normal driving, whether around town or on freeways, and will cut out when the vehicle comes to a halt through the stop/start system.

The hybrid also features regenerative braking that uses kinetic energy to recharge the on-board lithium-ion battery that provides the electric power.

It's linked to a gear-less continuously variable transmission based on the Lineartronic CVT that debuted last month on the latest-generation Liberty and Outback models.

The concept's wide doors provide access to both the front and rear seats.

Subaru says the seats are covered in a special breathable leather covering that includes a ventilation function. There's also a flat rear floor the company says maximises passenger space.

Subaru will reveal more details on its hybrid concept on 21st October at the Tokyo motor show.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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