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First look: Subaru's wild future

Bold new face: B11S could be a sign of things to come from Subaru.

Looks, power and four doors are key features for Subaru's concept coupe

11 Mar 2003

YOU need proof that Subaru wants to find some style. Here it is.

Called the B11S - or Boxer 11 Sport - it is a four-door concept coupe designed to give us an insight into the thinking that's going on at Subaru's design headquarters in Japan.

The immediate impact the B11S will have on Subaru design is up for debate, with the official line being quite cautious and - at the other extreme - some European media outlets saying this is the look of the next Impreza.

Tagged by the company as a Grand Utility Turismo, the styling is meant to "suggest a bird in flight, reflecting Subaru's aircraft heritage," said Kyoji Takenaka, president of Subaru's parent Fuji Heavy Industries, when he launched the car at the Geneva motor show.

The exterior design features two pairs of side doors that open gate-style and latch in the middle without a conventional B-pillar, an arrangement that apes the Mazda RX-8 production cars, and allows easier access to the back seats.

Under the skin it is pretty wild as well, powered by a new 294kW/500Nm twin-turbo six-cylinder boxer engine still under development. Performance levels like that effectively kick the Japanese 206kW "gentlemens' agreement" power limit into touch.

The power is funnelled to all four wheels via a five-speed automatic gearbox and Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel drive system, which in this case incorporates variable torque distribution (VTD).

Although he is not been given credit in the official press material, the car is said to be the work of new chief stylist Andreas Zapatinas, who joined the company from Alfa Romeo in May 2002.

Mr Zappatinas denied any connection despite the car's obvious Alfa look around the front. Instead, credit for B11S is being given to Kiyoshi Sugimoto, who is in charge of Subaru's product planning and design departments.

Mr Takenaka also claimed his share of the glory while Barcelona-based independent design studio Fuore Design International was also given some of the credit.

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