Honda had the Prelude, Toyota had the Celica, and Subaru had a problem — at the end of the malaise era, sports coupes were getting fun and fast. And Subaru didn’t have a car to compete with them.
The company’s EA-series flat-four gradually got a turbocharger and overhead cams, and in the XT Turbo, it made a full 111 hp. With AWD traction and a 5-speed manual, it got to 60 mph in 10.2 seconds — which was genuinely quick for a Subaru. It had a coefficient of drag as low as 0.29, making it the most aerodynamic car sold in America.
Looking back, the XT previewed many technologies and features common in today’s cars: height-adjustable air suspension, turbocharged four-cylinder engines, all-wheel drive, digital dashboards, a hill-holder feature, speed alarm, a focus on aerodynamics, trunk pass-through, a trip computer, you name it!
That preview was done, however, through the eyes of what was possible using 1980s technology, which automatically means it was a bit weird. And then, it was a Subaru, and Subarus were very weird. Very, very weird. And yet also very cool