Subaru has been relying on the horizontally-opposed boxer engine since the ’70s, the ‘Brat’ pick-up featuring the flat-four which ultimately powered the Impreza. When it decided to produce its flagship sports car the firm stayed true to the concept and went for a 3.3-litre flat-six.
The Alcyone SVX – simply SVX in the UK – was sometimes referred to as the ‘Japanese Porsche’ but since it was front-engined and water-cooled the comparison immediately fell rather flat.
The SVX was a high-tech piece of kit and on paper looked really very promising: four-wheel drive coupled with a low centre of gravity from that lightweight alloy flat-six and 226 bhp suggested a car which needed no excuses to square up to the established competition. With dramatic bodywork by Giugiaro taken straight from motor show concept to production it was rather more swoopy than Subaru’s previous rather boxy XT coupe.
Unfortunately, buyers of this kind of car – especially at £30,499 – didn’t seem to embrace the Subaru badge, while the 555-jacketed Subaru faithful stuck with their gold-wheeled Imprezas. Despite all SVXs being automatic it was a quick car: 0-60 mph took 7.3 seconds and the SVX topped out at 154 mph.
The result was that sales of the SVX were pretty slow and today there are reckoned to be less than 70 on the roads here, with production ending in 1996 and Subaru apparently losing millions on the project. A great shame since if you’ve ever driven one, you’ll find it’s a refined and rapid four-seat coupe in the best grand touring tradition. Oh and those windows? They were supposed to be a design echo of an aircraft cockpit…