Monday, May 05, 2008

Upcoming RWD Subaru coupe causes worry

Subaru is worried that its upcoming “AE86 spiritual successor” rear-wheel drive coupe that it will share with Toyota may erode its image as a niche all-wheel drive specialist, according to Subaru’s overseas marketing chief Masatsugu Nagato.

Its marketing team also has to figure out how to differentiate its own version of the car from the Toyota product, as it is very likely that there will be many major markets where both cars will be sold side by side as there will not be Toyota-only or Subaru-only designated markets.

Then again, we can look at Audi, a car manufacturer that is much older than Subaru. Audi is now rather famous for its quattro all-wheel drive system despite having many front-wheel drive models in its line-up. Is rear-wheel drive for the new small Subaru really a cause for worry? At least it still uses a horizontally-opposed engine! As long as it is a fantastic drive, they should do fine. After all, the rear wheel drive boxer engine specialist image already has another car to "taint” it - the new Subaru Justy.

According to Autocar UK, the Subaru boxer engine in question will be a normally aspirated 2.0 liter inline-4 boxer putting out 175 horsepower for the base model, with a turbocharged 2.5 liter model to come later, possibly with all-wheel drive. Autocar says they have viewed top-secret sketches of the car and have produced the artist impression shown in the thumbnail above based on those sketches. You can click the thumbnail to view the full image. It looks rather like a Scion tC crossed with a Hyundai Coupe.

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