Why Subaru’s XT Coupe Was So Good


Although we know Subaru as quite a sporty brand in 2022, that hasn’t always been the case. Subaru wasn’t exactly a brand you’d associate with fast, exotic cars sports cars In the 1980s. This was a time when rivals produced cars such as the Toyota MR2 and Nissan GT-R. But soon, that would change. Subaru wanted to jump into the world of supercars and sports cars. And because of that, they came up with something quite special, but very underrated and almost completely forgotten by a lot of people.

This car is of course the Subaru XT coupe. It’s an unusual wedge-shaped car, but there was a lot of method to Subaru’s craziness. First, this wedge shape is very aerodynamic. Second, the car had one of the most radical interiors around, and it’s still a pretty cool place to be. It’s weird that the XT coupe seems somehow forgotten, since it was an influential car in Subaru’s history. It propelled them into the world of performance cars. But here’s why it’s so good, and also why it should get a lot more attention.

Details behind the XT coupe

Subaru ACX-II Concept Car Front Quarter View
via classic car wiki

The Subaru XT Coupe debuted in 1985 as a production car. In early 1985, Subaru unveiled a concept car at the Tokyo Auto Show. It was the Subaru ACX-II, a radical wedge-shaped car that certainly caught people’s attention. Notably for its greenhouse-style canopy. Nice for a concept, this car became the Subaru XT coupe itself, which rarely happens for a concept car. The interior was upgraded from concept to production as it gained that epic fighter jet design we know and love today.

Subaru XT Coupe Front View Blue
via DNA collectibles

Under the hood of the XT is a 1.8-liter flat-four engine, which produces around 97 hp. That might be the only thing that let the XT coupe down. That’s not really enough power for something envisioned as a lightweight sports car. The advent of the 145bhp 2.7-litre ER27 flat-six engine actually helped the car a bit, but the reality was that there was never enough power for the car. Nevertheless, that was what was offered with the XT Coupe and those who owned the car were able to make the most of it. Additionally, the advent of a turbocharged version and the optional four-wheel-drive package helped increase the appeal of the XT Coupe.

RELATED: The Subaru SVX is a Seriously Underrated Japanese Car

Incredible wedge shape style

Front quarter view of the white 6-cylinder Subaru XT Coupe
through Pinterest

The styling of the XT Coupe is certainly its talking point. The greenhouse-like canopy was a bit of a contentious point on the car, but the car’s angular corner and clean lines are very eye-catching. This incredible looking car also had an incredibly low coefficient of drag. The Subaru XT Coupe has a drag coefficient of just 0.29. That’s exceptionally low, and it’s something most modern cars can only dream of having. It is very rare that a car is so well integrated in terms of aerodynamic performance.

Blue and White Subaru XT Coupe 4WD Turbo Front Quarter View
via car and classic

There were wheel air deflectors and a front air dam helped make the XT Coupe the most aerodynamic car in the world at the time of its launch. One of the other novelties of the car was the unique windscreen wiper which was neatly stored under the hood. This prevented any disruption of the airflow through the car. And the doors had weird but also cool retractable door handles, something that would no doubt have inspired the ones we see on Tesla and increasingly modern cars to this day. Again, this all contributed to the car’s aerodynamic performance.

A fighter jet-style interior

through the line of conduct

It’s the interior that really made the XT coupe so special, though. Subaru went to town inside, and the fighter jet styling in the cabin is amazing. First, there are the very cool bucket seats. Then there’s the telescoping steering wheel and joystick. The steering wheel and controls for the wiper, heater and various other things can be moved closer to the driver for easier access. The offset steering wheel and the way the lighting is mounted inside are also very nice features, as is the fact that the adjustable air suspension option can be operated, on the go, at a button near the steering wheel.

RELATED: 1984-1989 Toyota MR2 W10: Costs, Facts & Figures

A car that deserves more recognition

Subaru XT Coupe light blue Side view
via Secret Classics

Perhaps it’s the fact that the XT coupe had, unfortunately, a rather weak engine, which meant that many people forgot the car even existed. Which is a shame. Because even though it wasn’t the best engine, the car had many fantastic qualities. The fighter jet interior is one of the best things to ever be on any car, and the low coefficient of drag is an incredible feature as well. Not only that, but the car eventually spawned the Subaru SVX, the brand’s first true supercar and another brilliant machine. We have the XT coupe to thank a lot, and it deserves both to be remembered and given a lot more attention.

Sources: Secret Classics, DNA Collectibles, Car and Classic, Driving Line, Pinterest, Classic Cars Wiki

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