DETROIT – Subaru of America Inc., aglow after a 0.3% increase in sales last year, takes the wraps off a concept version of its Legacy midsize sedan.

In an interview with Ward’s, spokesman Michael McHale says Subaru wants to remind buyers it is as much a sedan brand as it is the all-wheel-drive Outback outdoor-oriented wagon and performance models, such as the Impreza WRX compact.

This year marks Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc.’s 20th anniversary of building the Legacy in the U.S., having begun production at its Lafayette, IN, plant in 1989.

To help celebrate the occasion, Subaru introduces its bling-intensive Legacy concept, dressed in a stainless-steel-esque, high luster “Ultimate Silver” finish, with a chrome strip across the trunk lid. Chrome also adorns the side mirrors.

Subaru Chief Designer Osamu Namba says he is considering the use of chrome for detailing across the Subaru lineup but is not specific as to whether it will be found on the next-generation Legacy production model.

As with all Subarus, the Legacy concept has symmetrical all-wheel-drive capability and the brand’s horizontally-opposed Boxer engine. The Legacy concept is powered by a 3.6L 6-cyl. version.

The concept car is larger than the current production Legacy, but Namba says size doesn’t impact performance, he adds that the increase in size is in keeping with midsize-sedan customers’ desire for a more spacious cabin.

Inside, the 4-passenger Legacy concept has pearl-white leather seating, with black-metallic-leather door trim.

A large touch-display is mounted on the center stack. Multiple monitors, including one on the center stack, provide entertainment options.

Namba says he wanted to create more “presence” and “stability” with the Legacy concept, which he accomplished by giving the car a strong front design, an expressive body with strong character lines and dual vertical-row light-emitting diode headlamps.

Ward’s data shows a next-generation Legacy is due in the ’10 model year but McHale does not reveal when the car will debut.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com