A report out of the United Kingdom suggests that Subaru is considering killing off its manual gearbox as it increases its focus on safety.
“I’m not sure if it’s compatible at all with a manual gearbox. There are certainly no rumours we’ve heard that manual will continue, or EyeSight will be [offered] with manual,” Graham told the British publication, suggesting that the Lineartronic CVT would continue to be the brand’s go-to transmission.
“My gut tells me it will be EyeSight with Lineartronic, ongoing and long-term. They want to steal the mantle of the safest car in the world. I think if they do that, then they say ‘here’s a manual without EyeSight’, they’ll just ruin that [message].
“We’ve spoken for many years about [the safety granted by] boxer engines and symmetrical all-wheel drive. We’re now talking about safety that’s not just underpinned by the chassis, but by Eyesight, boxer and symmetrical all-wheel drive.
“All these things are reinforcing the safety message. The safety message is the thing Subaru will want to take forward.”
What does that mean for the next-generation WRX STI?
“For me, an STI has to be a manual in the guise it is today. However, if you look at M-series BMWs [the majority of which feature automatic transmissions], I don’t think this is the end and I’d be very excited if they had a hybrid-petrol STI. That would be phenomenal in terms of its acceleration,” said Graham.
The automaker’s EyeSight driver assistance technology makes use of stereo cameras that scan the road ahead, prompting the system to act to mitigate or reduce the damage of collisions, with key features including adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, and vehicle lane departure and sway warning.