Next WRX could get CVT auto Subaru says CVT is here to stay and even its performance hero could get one. Subaru says continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) will be rolled out to all its volume-selling models, including the heavily revised Impreza small car it will launch in Australia in January, the next generation of its best-selling Forester due in 2013 and possibly even the next edition of its WRX performance hero. Speaking at a media preview of the new Impreza model in Tokyo this week, Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior says the CVT - which seamlessly matches engine revs to the accelerator position - was delivering "amazing" fuel savings. Versions of the CVT are already fitted to the mid-size Liberty and Outback platforms. "It's hard to look past the fuel savings, they're really amazing and especially so in the case of Impreza," he says. Subaru's own testing indicates the new Impreza registers fuel savings of around 20 per cent over the current model, with the CVT-equipped new model improving from 8.8 litres per 100km to 6.8L/100km. Models equipped with the six-speed manual similarly improve from 8.9 to 7.1L/100km. Some CVTs have been criticised for lacking character and involvement for keener drivers, resulting in an ever-present aural drone in the cabin rather than the rhythmic rise and fall of engine revs in traditional torque-converter or dual-clutch autos. Senior says the Impreza counters this with steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles with six pre-set ratios that would allow keen drivers to feel more in control. "You'll still get that sporty feeling," he says. Even the next-generation of the brand's hero performance cars, the WRX and STi, could be in line for a CVT, Senior says. The two cars have been split off from the Impreza family and while decisions are yet to be confirmed about their next generation, Senior says one could be offered with a CVT option. "By far the majority of buyers of those two cars choose the six-speed manual, and I don't expect that to change over time," he says. "The current WRX is manual-only whereas the [WRX-based] STi has a five-speed auto option and so I'd expect that one of those two cars could get an auto and quite possibly it'll be the CVT." The next generation WRX is likely to be based on Impreza underpinnings but could look very different from Subaru's bread-and-butter small car as the Japanese maker tries to reshape its performance pair as a more premium, bespoke offering. Senior hinted the next WRX could be smaller than the current model in a bid to develop a lighter, more agile car that is better suited to motorsport applications such as the World Rally Championship, in which the Japanese manufacturer has competed for decades. "We're looking at what we can do in terms of motorsport and with a small car like the WRX to work with, the natural fit for us is rallying," he says. "There's not too many circuit racing applications that suit a car of this size." Senior also ruled out Subaru building an entrant for the booming light car market. "Margins are tight down that end of the market," he observes. "We'd only want to do a car that was built with our brand pillars of all-wheel-drive and top-notch safety, and that car would have to come in at the very premium end of that market. It's not something we're thinking about."