Subaru Alcyone SVX
|Manufacturer||Subaru (Fuji Heavy Industries)|
|Also called||Subaru SVX|
|Production||1991 – December 1996|
|Predecessor||Subaru Alcyone XT|
|Body style||2-door coupé|
|Layout||Front-engine, four-wheel drive Front-engine, front-wheel drive|
|Engine||3.3 L EG33 F6|
|Transmission||4-speed 4EAT automatic|
|Wheelbase||2,610 mm (102.8 in)|
|Length||4,625 mm (182.1 in)|
|Width||1,770 mm (69.7 in)|
|Height||1,310 mm (51.6 in)|
|Curb weight||1,590 kg (3,500 lb)|
The Subaru Alcyone SVX, also known outside of its home market Japan as the Subaru SVX, is a two-door grand tourer coupé that was sold by Subaru, the automobile manufacturing division of Japanese transportation conglomerate Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI). Produced from 1991 to December 1996, it was FHI's first attempt to enter the luxury/performance car market. Its intention was to combine two seemingly contradictory elements—comfort and performance. The name "Alcyone" (pronounced "el-SIGH-uh-nee") refers to the brightest star in the Pleiades star cluster, on which the Subaru logo is based.
The Subaru Alcyone SVX made its debut, as a concept car, at the 1989 Tokyo Auto Show.Italian automobile designer Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign designed the slippery, sleek bodywork,incorporating design themes from many of his design concepts, such as the Ford Maya and the Oldsmobile Inca. Subaru decided to put the concept vehicle into production and retain its most distinguishing design element, the unconventional window-within-a-window. Subaru called this an "aircraft-inspired glass-to-glass canopy," which was borrowed from the previous model Subaru Alcyone with an additional extension of glass covering the A-pillar. The decision to release this car for production would give the public the first opportunity to drive a "concept car" as originally conceived. The suffix "SVX" is an acronym for "Subaru Vehicle X".
In stark contrast to the boxy, angular XT, the SVX had curvy lines designed by Giugiaro and an unusual, aircraft-inspired "glass-to-glass canopy" with two-piece power side windows. The windows are split about two-thirds of the way from the bottom, with the division being parallel to the upper curve of the door frame. These half-windows are generally seen on exotic vehicles with "scissor", "gull-wing", or "butterfly" doors, such as the Lamborghini Countach, De Lorean DMC-12 (another Giugiaro design), and the McLaren F1. The SVX's aerodynamic shape allowed it to maintain the low drag coefficient of Cd=0.29, previously established by the XT coupe it replaced.
From 1991 to 1992, Subaru displayed the Amadeus, a prototype shooting brake variation on the SVX, in both two- and four-door versions, which was considered for production. Ultimately the Amadeus was not produced.
Unlike the previous model, which had been available with either a turbocharged flat-four (as XT) or a naturally aspirated flat-six (as XT6), the SVX debuted with and remained available with only one engine, the EG33 model 3.3-liter boxer horizontally opposed flat-six. This engine was the largest engine produced by Subaru for its passenger cars until the introduction of the 3.6-liter EZ36 engine in the 2008 Subaru Tribeca. The previous generation Subaru Alcyone had installed a turbocharger on the four cylinder engine, but the larger EG33 was more powerful and a turbo was not installed.
Internally, the engine is essentially a six-cylinder variant of the EJ22 found in the first-generation Japanese market Legacy and Impreza. The new 3.3-liter variant was equipped with dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder, and had an increased compression ratio of 10.1:1, bringing horsepower up to 172 kilowatts (231 hp) at 5,400 rpm with 309 newton metres (228 lb·ft) of torque at 4,400 rpm. Fuel delivery was accomplished with sequential multi-port fuel injection with dual spray injectors. Engine ignition used platinum spark plugs and a computerized management system with "limp home feature", which included over-rev protection, monitors fuel injection and ignition.
The exhaust system consisted of head pipes from each bank of cylinders with their own pre-catalytic converters, which entered a dual-inlet / single outlet main catalytic converter. A single 2.5-inch (64 mm) exhaust pipe exited the main converter and went into a resonator, and onto the main, transverse, single inlet muffler with twin exhaust tips in the bumper.
All versions of the SVX sold were equipped with automatic transmissions, as a manual transmission capable of handling the horsepower and torque of the EG33 engine was not produced by Subaru at the time. Depending on the country, Subaru had two versions of their all-wheel drive system for the automatic transmission, called ACT-4 or VTD. The first system, called ACT-4 (active torque split) by Subaru, was the same setup commonly found on other Subaru models of the period, and used a variable clutch pack center differential using a 90/10 power split ratio front to rear, which could transfer up to a 50/50 power split ratio for maximum traction if the front wheels started to slip. This AWD system was offered throughout the entire production run, and was used in vehicles manufactured for sale in the US, Canada, Germany, France and Switzerland. A sportier continuous traction delivery system, called VTD (variable torque distribution) by Subaru, was used in vehicles for sale in Japan, the UK, the Benelux region, Sweden, Australia, Spain, Austria and Brazil. The VTD AWD system is a permanent AWD due to its 36/64 split.
The Japanese-spec "SVX L" received four-wheel steering in 1991 and 1992, model code "CXD" (1,905 built). The VTD equipped versions received the "CXW" chassis code. In an attempt to lower the price for the US market, a front-wheel drive ("CXV") was offered in 1994 and 1995 but sales weren't abundant.
- 0-60 mph: 7.3 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 15.4 seconds at 92.5 mph (148.9 km/h)
- Top speed: 154 mph (248 km/h) (1992–93), 143 mph (230 km/h) (1994+ due to the addition of an electronic speed governor)
- 60-0 mph: 98 ft (30 m)
In 1991, a Subaru SVX, driven by Ken Knight and Bob Dart, won the Alcan Winter Rally, a race starting in Seattle to the Arctic Circle and back.
In the early 1990s there was a Subaru SVX PPG Pace Car.It featured a silver to purple fade paint job, silver wheels in the front, purple wheels in the rear, "SVX" windshield banner, roll cage and an amber roof light. It was evaluated by Wally Dallenbach Sr, Indy Car Chief Steward and PPG Pace Car evaluator. It was used as a promotional tool for Subaru, as well as a pace car. While most pace cars were retired after one season, the SVX proved to be such a worthy example and a favorite, it was used for several seasons. It now is in storage in the famous "Subaru Performance Attic" in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, near Subaru of America's headquarters. This is an unofficial museum where many of the unique Subaru concept cars and Subarus of historical significance are stored.