Subaru RWD Sports Car Benchmarks Porsche Cayman's Performance
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Subaru RWD Sports Car Benchmarks Porsche Cayman's Performance

2011 Geneva Auto Show


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2011 Geneva Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • Subaru unveiled the architecture for its future rear-wheel-drive sports car.
  • The 2+2 coupe is smaller than the Impreza.
  • Subaru is targeting the Porsche Cayman as a performance benchmark for the lightweight coupe.

GENEVA — Four years after the rumors first began, Subaru has finally confirmed its intention to bring a new rear-wheel-drive sports car to the U.S. market in the spring of 2012.

Part of a joint venture with Toyota, the 2+2 sports car will be Subaru's first non-all-wheel-drive vehicle sold in America since the early 1990s. Subaru unveiled the sub-Impreza sized chassis today at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show and followed that up with a private press briefing with project engineer Toshio Masuda to reveal a bit more about the car's technology.

Measuring 165.35 inches long, 69.7 inches wide and 50 inches tall, the Subaru sports car also rides on a 101.2-inch wheelbase. These are roughly the same dimensions as Toyota's FT-86 IIsports car which was also unveiled in Geneva today.

The rear-wheel-drive architecture has allowed Subaru to position the 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine 4.7 inches lower and 9.4 inches farther back in the chassis compared to Subaru's standard all-wheel-drive setup. Masuda says that the new car's engine position is extremely low to the ground, and the center of gravity is "below a man's knee."

Masuda is so optimistic about the sports car's potential, he instructed the engineering team to use the Porsche Cayman as a performance benchmark.

With front struts and a double-wishbone setup in the rear, the suspension is not unfamiliar to Subaru, but the dimensions are much different due to the overall size of the car. Masuda is not ready to offer a final weight on the sports car, but says it's approximately 20 percent lighter than the Subaru Impreza STI.

Transmission options have not yet been finalized, but both a new manual and automatic are expected.

Will the sports car ever offer all-wheel drive? It is possible. So is a turbo verison, says Masuda. "We have no concrete plan about a turbo, but we are open in the future."

Edmunds.com says: Between its compact dimensions, rear-wheel drive and low center of gravity, this Subaru coupe could top the STI as the most sought after car for enthusiasts. — Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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