That update will occur in Japan, we might add, but these days with increasing pressure on automakers to reduce fuel consumption and emissions output, plus an increasing need to standardize powertrains and features around the globe, there’s probably a chance we’ll see similar changes to our Legacy and Outback down the road.
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At least in Japan. In Toyota‘s home market, the automaker announced that it will retail the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) for some 3.2 million Yen (equivalent to some $41,000 US) and has begun taking customer orders.
The sticker price is a bit more than Toyota originally envisaged, but in Japan, still undercuts the all-electric Nissan LEAF which sells for some 3.6 million yen.
Furthermore with Japanese government rebates, the price of the PHV drops to about 2.76 million yen (roughly $35,000). That’s less than projected European pricing for the car when it goes on sale (estimates place MSRP in Europe to be around the equivalent of some $37,000 US), though above projected Stateside pricing ($32,000).
The question is, at those levels, will the PHV achieve a similar level of success enjoyed by the regular Prius in the US? Difficult to say at this point, but given the Prius’ somewhat celebrated status among the “green set”, greater flexibility and lower price point than all-electric vehicles, there’s a distinct possibility. Any bets on the PHV winning Green Car of the Year next time out?
In keeping with the theme of previous S versions, the S206 features a number of upgrades, including special STI springs and inverted Bilstein front struts and rear shocks, a flexible tower bar and draw stiffener designed to further tie the front end down, exclusive 19-inch wheels and Michelin Pilot sport tires, plus a tuned EJ20 engine delivering 316 hp and 318 lb-ft of torque with improved low and mid-range throttle response, largely thanks to a specific twin-scroll turbocharger, slightly revised induction system, lower restriction STI exhaust and specially calibrated ECU.
Other features on the S206 include specific front and rear spoilers, unique lower grille openings, while inside, there’s a leather wrapped steering wheel, Recaro seats finished in Alcantara with special trim and S206 logos, special seatbelts and a serial number plaque on the center console and under the hood.
Besides the “regular” S206, Subaru will also offer a NBR Challenge package (shown), commemorating the Scoob’s class victory at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. This will add a carbon fiber roof panel and rear deck spoiler, plus black finished 19-inch wheels and a NBR Challenge logo on the rear decklid. Subaru will build just 300 units of the S206 and all orders must be submitted by May 7, 2012. As for the NBR Challenge cars, which represent 100 units out of the entire production run, they’ve already all been spoken for, so no luck there unfortunately.
GALLERY: Subaru Impreza STI S206
As automakers look for ways to save fuel and reduce emissions, idle shut-off systems are becoming increasingly prevalent. Now, Mitsubishi has jumped on the bandwagon, releasing the first details on its new 4J10 1.8-liter gasoline motor which features Auto Stop and Go technology.
The engine, which also incorporates an updated version of Mitsubishi’s MiVEC variable valve timing (that combines both valve lift and duration based on engine speed as well as continuously variable valve timing – previous motors had one or the other); will be available from this month in the Japanese Domestic Market RVR crossover, plus the Galant Fortis sedan and Sportback (known as the Lancer in North America and most other markets).
In JDM configuration, the new engine will be rated at 139 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 126.9 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 revs and provides a roughly 12 percent gas mileage improvement on the Lancer and RVR. Although currently, the Auto Stop and Go system is only available on cars with manual gearboxes, Mitsubishi has been developing a version that can be used on those equipped with Continuously Variable Transmissions.
Given ever tightening fuel economy and smog requirements in other parts of the world, particularly Europe and North America, expect derivatives of this engine to appear in export markets in the near future, notably the Lancer sedan and Sportback, plus the RVR and ASX/Outlander Sport.