The Subaru SVX was not the usual type of sports car. The marquee claimed that it was a luxury, high-performance sports coupe that could negotiate well with any road surface. This Subaru coupe hit the U.S. market in July 1991 as replacement for the Alcyone and reached Japanese market in September the same year as the Alcyone SVX. The name SVX was acronym for Subaru Vehicle X.
1991: Introduction of the SVX in the US for 1992 model year
The SVX debuted as a concept car in 1989 at the Tokyo Auto Show. Its sleek bodywork was designed by Italian car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. When the concept finally went into production, Subaru decided to retain its distinguishing design element, which it shared with Alcyone--the "window-within-a-window element called by Subaru as an "aircraft-inspired glass-to-glass canopy". In the SVX, however, the glass was extended to cover the A-pillar.
Powering the first Subaru SVX was either the EG33model 3.3-liter boxer horizontally opposed flat six, which was the largest engine made by Subaru to power its passenger cars before the coming of the 3.6-liter EZ36 engine. An all-wheel-drive system was offered throughout the vehicle's production run. Inside, the SVX came with electric windows, electric mirrors, air conditioning, and other convenience features.
Because of its high introductory price, the SVX didn't perform well in the market, selling only 5,280 units (too far behind the forecasted 10,000 cars every year) by the end of 1992 calendar year.
1994: Launching of the two-wheel drive variants (L and LS)
In an attempt to at least reduce the car's selling price in the U.S. market, Subaru added the two-wheel-drive variants to the SVX lineup. These so-called "value leaders" were designated L and LS. Both models were powered a 3.3-liter Flat-6 engine, the same powertrain fitted on the LSi model. Antilock brakes were standard on the LS, while the upmarket LS and LSi models came with standard passenger airbag.
It was also in 1994 when the transmission of the Subaru SVX received several upgrades to resolve the early models' reliability issues. That same year, the VTD-equipped SVXs received the "CXW" chassis code and a front-wheel-drive variant called "CXV" was offered.
1997: Subaru SVX's final year on the market
For its final year in the market, the SVX got a new body-color grille along with P215/55VR16 tires, which contributed to the vehicle's distinctive styling. Other exterior updates were standard fog lights, rear spoiler, rear window wiper, and power exterior mirrors. It also got a standard 4-wheel anti-lock brake system, limited slip differential, cruise control, lighted entry system, remote trunk release, automatic climate control, and power windows.
Even if it's among the few sports coupes left on the market, the Subaru SVX didn't fared well, selling only 640 units by the end of the calendar year.