Subaru's new modular platform will be cheaper, smoother and safer
Fuji Heavy Industries has unveiled the new architecture that will underpin Subaru's next generation of cars. The Subaru Global Platform (SGP) is designed to offer greater refinement, safety and a sharper handling experience, as well as helping to cut down on development costs across its range.
The Global Platform is essentially Subaru's take on Volvo's SPA or Volkwagen's MQB setups, which allow a wide range of cars to be built around the same basic architecture without having to spend too much money on new production equipment. Instead, more money can be directed towards adding more models to the range or extra technology to existing cars – essential for a relatively small manufacturer like Subaru.
At the core of the Fuji Heavy Industries' new platform is a new focus on refinement and handling. The SGP is between 70 and 100 percent stiffer than the underpinnings it replaces, which makes for more responsive steering. This will be backed up by new suspension system and a center of gravity that's been lowered by 5mm.
Subaru claims the new suspension setup, which has its rear stabilizers attached directly to the body, is so capable that roll has been cut by up to 50 percent compared to current models. Considering the pedigree the brand has in rallying, that's a claim that has us excited for the next generation of the WRX and WRX STI.
Of course, sharp handling will only win a small percentage of buyers over - the new platform needs to be refined and safe as well. The first of those concerns is dealt with by stronger joins between the individual parts of the floorplan, which cut down on vibration and harsh frequencies transmitted through the steering wheel, floor and seats.
On the safety front, Subaru claims its new architecture is 40 percent better at absorbing energy in an accident than its current models, with the potential to improve that as stronger and lighter materials become available over the next decade.
As you'd expect, the SGP has also been designed to take a full range of modern powertrain setups, including hybrid, all-electric and petrol setups.