In a world where cars are becoming more progressive with hybrid powertrains and lightweight composite structures, Subaru has its sights set firmly in the past. And yet the all-new WRX Concept hints at the design language of ‘future’ Subarus.

It’s certainly bold and eye-catching, but also immediately dated with its twin-stacked rear boot, heavily exaggerated valences and old-school muscle car looks. Are we in the 2010s, or back in the 1990s?

The boldly flared wheel arches and large quad tailpipes add weight to a design which is supposed to convey lightness and agility. The one nod to such contemporary values is its carbon-fibre roof, which sits innocuously out of view while the rest of the design assaults your senses and shouts performance with a capital ‘P’.

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  • Subaru-WRX-Concept-NY_G5

But how quick is it likely to be? With a possible 296bhp from its 2.5-litre four cylinder Boxer engine, the new WRX would be overshadowed by Mercedes’ 355bhp CLA 45 AMG, especially given its size which is 4,521mm in length, 1,890mm wide and 1,389mm high.

It’s a far cry from Subaru’s BRZ sports car, which was a project born from Toyota’s investment, whereas this time Subaru are clearly on their own.

Given its launch at this week’s New York Auto Show, one can only assume the WRX Concept is designed to woo Americans, with their love for good old-fashioned muscle cars – but even that is changing.

If Subaru are to stand a chance of competing against the Koreans, far less the European car brands, they’d better come up with something more convincing than this new concept. Much as the little-boy in me loves its brashness, I’d like to see Subaru still making performance cars five years from now.