Imagine our surprise when, while playing the new WRC 3 game on a PlayStation console, we stumbled onto an "Extreme" rendering of the controversially-styled future Subaru Impreza.

The Subaru Impreza's rise to fame can be directly linked to the emergence of the PlayStation generation. Two years ago, the quirky Japanese car manufacturer gave unsuspecting fans a sneak peek at the secret look of the facelifted Impreza in a top-selling console game. Has it done the same for the next Scooby?

The WRC 2 Extreme rally game featured not only the "standard" rally cars, but also gave each of the teams the opportunity to come up with a fantasy "Extreme" evolution of their rally cars. Only, in Subaru's case fantasy turned into reality when the restyled Impreza featured in the game became road-going reality as a replacement for the "bug-eye".

Now WRC 3 (previewed in the February edition of CAR) has gone on sale. The game again boasts the same feature, with a new "Extreme" Impreza being revealed after the player has managed to win the world championship on "Difficult" level with the standard version. And this is what it looks like.

These pictures could quite possibly reveal the final look of the next Impreza, which will be launched in Japan late this year. The car features the new "horseshoe" grille which, as reported recently, is to become standard on every Subaru launched in the future.

At the rear the Scooby's lights are inspired by those used on the B11S concept car shown at the Geneva Show last year. Like the much-maligned "bug-eye" design, the new look is set to be extremely controversial, and the reason for plenty of angst among Subaru-folk who are eager to see what style chief Andreas Zapatinas has in store for their favourite car.

One thing is certain though, interior style and quality are set for major improvement, although Subaru will not allow the sporty versions to become too "refined", the firm says. The "ready for rally" appeal of the WRX and STi badges has become a immensely valuable asset for Subaru. But so is the name Impreza, therefore rumours that the company will rebadge the car B5 are highly unlikely to be true.

Technical details on the new Scooby are still sketchy at this stage, save for the possibility that all Impreza STi models will get a new turbocharged 2,5-litre flat-four engines producing in excess of 240 kW. Performance should, therefore, be even more ferocious than the current version can achieve. But more could be in store, if the rumours of a 300 kW turbocharged three-litre monster are to be believed. This engine is also likely to début in an upcoming large Subaru SUV and a secret new coupé.

Original article from Car