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Geneva show: Subaru set to unlock sportscar secrets

Toyota's FT-86 G Sports: The other half of the 'Subarota' duo.

‘Subarota’ rear-drive sportscar to spill its guts on Subaru’s stand at Geneva motor show

19 Jan 2011

SUBARU is set to reveal the underpinnings of its new rear-drive sports coupe at the Geneva motor show on March 1.

Developed by Subaru for a new model to be shared with Toyota and slated for launch as a 2013 model, the technology-oriented concept will show the boxer engine – a new direct-injection four-cylinder – mounted in the low-slung rear-drive layout on the all-new platform with front and rear suspension and wheels.

Contrary to European speculation, the concept is unlikely to show the final production body design of the Subaru version of the sportscar.

However, it might well give a hint of the overall shape, with a bodyshell rumoured to sit over the underpinnings, perhaps in a transparent acrylic form.

The four-seat sportscar, which will not wear WRX badges, was revealed in Toyota concept form as the FT-86 at the 2009 Tokyo motor show.

The joint-venture ‘Toyobaru’ or Subarota’ – take your pick – originally seemed to be in doubt for Australia because of the local branch’s all-wheel-drive-only policy, but Subaru Australia has warmed to the idea because the rear-driver is close to the Subaru All 4 The Driver philosophy.

2 center imageFrom top: Subaru Hybrid Tourer concept, Subaru Impreza LA concept and the Toyota FT-86G

In its short announcement out of Japan, Subaru confirmed the concept would feature elements of the joint-venture rear-wheel drive sportscar.

“Based on an all-new platform, the vehicle will offer Subaru's distinctive trademark and core technology: the horizontally-opposed Subaru boxer engine,” the press release said.

“The concept embodies Subaru's established know-how in manufacturing boxer-powered passenger cars it shows how Subaru proposes to integrate this expertise into a rear-wheel drive car to offer a new and highly enjoyable, Subaru-like driving experience.

“The technology concept will demonstrate how the all-new car platform makes full use of Subaru's engineering and boxer technology.” The Subaru and Toyota versions of the sports coupe are both expected to be built by Subaru in Japan, with both versions powered by the boxer engine developed using technology from both brands, including direct-injection hardware from Toyota.

The Toyota FT-86 concept was shown with a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated version of the engine, although rumours persist that the engine could grow to 2.5 litres and gain turbo-charging, as shown on Toyota’s enhanced FT-86 S Sports concept at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon.

This engine is likely to be derived from Subaru’s new Mark III boxer engine unveiled in September. That engine is set to make its Australian debut in the 2011 Forester next month.

The engine will be produced in 2.0 and 2.5-litre sizes, with AVCS variable valve timing and a much shorter cylinder bore (84 versus 92mm) and a much longer stroke of 90mm – versus 75mm for the outgoing engine.

The latest Subaru technology concept will appear on the Subaru show stand at Geneva alongside the 2012 Impreza concept – first shown at the Los Angeles motor show in November – as well as the new Trezia mini MPV that was launched in Japan late last year.

Like the upcoming rear-driver sports coupe, the Trezia is a product of Subaru’s model-sharing arrangements with Toyota, being a thinly-disguised Toyota Ractis/Verso S.

In European form, the Trezia – dubbed a ‘new compact smart wagon’ by Subaru – will be offered with a choice of 1.3-litre petrol and 1.4-litre turbo diesel engines, both from the Toyota stable. The diesel is said to produce carbon dioxide emissions of just 113 grams per kilometre.

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