The XT was a 2-door coupe produced by Subaru from 1985 to 1991 and sold in different markets across the globe under various nameplates. It was marketed as Alcyone in Japan and as Vortex in New Zealand and Australia. Models for European and North American markets were called XT.
1985: The Subaru XT Series
The XT was introduced in the U.S. in February 1985; soon after, a June debut in Japan followed. During its launch, the New York Times called it “the ultimate in jazzy design.” Besides being a wedge-shaped departure from the 1970s-influenced styling, the XT was also recognized as the first Subaru that wasn’t designed for commercial purposes, not even for carrying loads.
For the 1985 model year, the Subaru XT was powered by either the Subaru EA-82 1781-cc H4 generating 97 horsepower or the EA-82T 1781-cc turbocharged H4 that was able to crank out 112 horses. Both engines were offered with a choice of both manual and automatic transmissions. The XT Turbos that were available from 1985 to 1987 could be obtained as either part-time four-wheel drive or front-wheel drive.
Another thing that made the Subaru XT unique was its aircraft-inspired cockpit that was outfitted with a number of features similar to the ones that could be seen in an aircraft. Among such were the pod-mounted lighting, wiper controls, and climate control. The XT was also equipped with a lot of features that were rarely installed on small cars, including turbocharger, adjustable height suspension, digital instrument cluster (optional), and a computer-controlled engine and transmission.
1987: The Subaru XT6
Even with the turbocharged engine, Subaru thought that the 111 hp didn’t deliver some sort of a competitive performance. So in 1987, this automaker introduced the XT6 for the 1988 model year. This model was powered by a 2.7L flat-six ER27 that can crank out 145 horses. It also got additional upgrades like heavier suspension that can accommodate a larger powertrain as well as 5-bolt hubs and wheels to deal with the additional torque.
The XT6 also took pride in being outfitted with a one-of-a-kind Cybrid adaptive electro-hydraulic steering system. The said system has the capability to alter the level of assistance according to the vehicle’s speed. With such system, the XT6 no longer needed a conventional power steering pump that’s driven by the belt, so it helped save a space in the vehicle’s cramped engine bay. The XT6 also received two electric fans to help boost engine performance as well as higher amp alternator.
The XT6 was marketed in Japan as the Alcyone VX; no front-wheel-drive unit was sold in the Japanese market. In New Zealand, the XT6 wasn’t offered. Subaru brought the XT6 to this country only as a demo. The 1991 model year was the final year for both the regular Subaru XT and the XT6. They were replaced by the Subaru Alcyone SVX.