The Subaru XT was a sport compact car that was produced by Subaru from 1985 to 1991. It was the first Subaru car to be offered with a turbocharged engine, and it was one of the first sport compact cars to be offered with all-wheel drive. The XT was replaced in 1991 by the Subaru SVX.
Subaru XT Overview
The Subaru XT, also known as the Subaru Alcyone in Japan, was a coupe that stood out starkly from the rest of Subaru’s lineup during its era. Produced from 1985 to 1991, the XT was distinguished by its futuristic and angular design, which was quite avant-garde for its time. The Subaru XT was introduced in 1985 and was positioned as a sporty coupe, showcasing Subaru’s intent to break into the sporty, performance-oriented market segment. The XT can be seen as the spiritual successor to the earlier Subaru Leone Coupe, although the XT was far more futuristic in its design and appeal.
The XT had a very low drag coefficient, at 0.29 Cd, making it one of the more aerodynamically efficient cars of its time. Its wedge shape, flush wheel covers, and pop-up headlights all contributed to this aerodynamic profile. The interior continued the futuristic theme with a pod-like dashboard and aircraft-inspired controls. The steering wheel was particularly unique, being almost joystick-like in its design. For its higher trim models, the XT featured a digital instrument cluster, which added to its futuristic appeal.
Depending on the model and market, the XT was offered with a range of engines including a 1.8-liter flat-four (both naturally aspirated and turbocharged) and a 2.7-liter flat-six. Being a Subaru, the XT was available with both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, the latter being one of Subaru’s defining features. Buyers had the option of a manual or an automatic transmission.
Introduced later in the XT’s life cycle, the XT6 featured a 2.7-liter flat-six engine, making it the more performance-oriented version of the XT. Throughout its production run, the XT underwent various updates, especially in terms of its engine options and available features.
Subaru XT Sales Figures
While it carved out a niche in the market, the XT didn’t achieve huge sales figures. However, it did play a role in building Subaru’s image as an innovator. After the discontinuation of the XT, Subaru introduced the SVX (or Alcyone SVX in Japan) as its sporty, luxury coupe offering. While the SVX had a more rounded and organic design, it carried forward the XT’s spirit of innovation and distinctiveness.