40 years of the wheeler – In the beginning there was the Leone Newsroom – KÜS

40 years of the wheeler – In the beginning there was the Leone Newsroom – KÜS


A car that pleased Tohoku Electric employees, who are used to bad business cars, but also appealed to families. So Subaru released an entire range of Leone models that turned the 1960s small car specialist into a global trend-setter for all-wheel-drive vehicles. Whether it’s a legacy sedan, an Outback crossover or the Forester as the pioneer SUV, Subaru was the first 4×4 to sell millions. It goes without saying that this should also work with Stromern today.

Sports entertainment should never be missed, as Subaru showed from the mid-1990s with the Impreza WRX STI, which had a World Rally Championship registration for many years, and is currently shown with the Stromer STI E-RA Concept aimed at the future. . With electric motors delivering 200 kW/272 hp to each wheel, this bullet offers the conditions to display the fireworks of the best times at the Nürburgring, pumping adrenaline and at the same time a dirt-free way to celebrate Subaru’s 50th all-wheel drive. anniversary. However, Subaru’s top-of-the-line all-wheel drive sportsters have only been allowed to make an impression when the box office bells ring later. In the 1990s, for example, champions of Subaru’s venerable disease protests sped up sales of a street-wise version of the impreza that was built to last. The Legacy series, almost forgotten in this country, also owes its shooting career, which started in 1989 as the best-selling 4×4 vehicle in the world to this day, to impressive tests and appearances at campaign rallies.

Neither Dutch 4×4 pioneer and sports car manufacturer Spyker in 1903, nor English brand Jensen’s 1966 all-wheel drive vision Gran Turismo FF, succeeded in combining heart-pounding sensations with a business model that works. All the early 4WD starters failed. The VW subsidiary Audi, which achieved a high technical form in 1980 under the leadership of Ferdinand Piech, had a completely different character. With the sporty coupé quattro, the Ingolstadt company demonstrated the positive impact that rally skills can have on the sales success of an all-wheel drive product. However, the popularity of the Subaru 4×4 series, which has sold more than 20 million units to date, could not even surpass the Audi quattro program in the end.

However, the road to becoming a millionaire was not easy for Subaru either. After the initial success of the Leone in Japan and the United States, Subaru got off to a rough start in Europe. It all started in the mid-1970s in the Benelux countries, which at that time acted as a test market for all Asian manufacturers. But the combination of Far Eastern design, boxer engines and manual all-wheel drive was touched by Swiss mountain dwellers and hunters in a second test in 1979. In Germany, too, from 1980 onwards foresters and The farmers were especially interested in Leone, which is now sold in the second generation. Perhaps it was also because the interesting lovers of 4×4 avant-gardists such as Subaru coupes and the life of the Brat pick-up (even the President of the United States Ronald Reagan used it on his ranch) was not offered in Europe. However, when the sound of the off-road vehicle about early 4×4 travelers from Suzuki, Nissan or Toyota reached its peak in the mid-1980s and Audi included avant-garde and quattro models, Subaru finally also benefited from the all-car movement of the wheel.

With the agile Justy minivan, the Libero van with a curious roof – six seats at a height of 3.42 meters – and the folding headlight of the futuristic coupé XT, the Japanese put exclamation points. In particular, the XT with a jetfighter-style cockpit, new permanent four-wheel drive and powerful boxing shone like a star in the sports car sky, matching Subaru’s Pleiades logo.

From then on, many Subaru models had a special character. First there were the powerful variants of the L series, followed in 1991 by the aggressive Gran Turismo Coupé SVX inspired by Giorgetto Giugiaro with a 169 kW/230 hp 3.3-liter six-cylinder boxer. It continued with the STIs of the Impreza WRX producing up to 221 kW/300 hp and the hot-blooded heritage wagons with twin turbo six-cylinder boxers producing up to 206 kW/280 hp: At 270.532 km/h, registered in the record car, The preserved Legacy was listed as the fastest production station wagon in the world in 1998. The Subaru B9 Tribeca crossover launched in 2005, named after the New York-oriented district, was based on the American belief that “displacement cannot be replaced, except by more displacement” . However, it remained a less successful solitaire, like its six-cylinder boxer, which grew to 3.6 liters.

Instead, since 1995, Subaru has been experiencing with the Outback just how far crossover station wagons with off-road capabilities can go. In fact, the Outback initially inspired Scandinavian high-end players Volvo and Saab to create crossover models, while Saab applied Subaru’s expertise to badge-engineered models such as the 9-2 X. The Subaru Forester has been more successful since 1997. The station wagon all-wheel drive and off-road vehicle, work tool and family friend: With these many qualities, the Forester made the SUV segment continue, which was still young at the time, and at Subaru it is a brand icon par excellence.

While all-wheel drive technology at Subaru was becoming more and more sophisticated – the X-Mode electronic system of brake intervention and engine management has been available since 2014 – full hybrids have long been reserved for non-European markets. Only the so-called e-Boxer presented in 2019 in Impreza, XV and Forester models introduced electrification of the drive train, but the Outback flagship did not benefit from this. Instead, the all-wheel drive battery-electric Solterra, which Subaru developed together with Toyota, will also be launched in Europe in 2022. A flagship project for Subaru, so that the all-wheel drive brand can continue to shine in the future.

Photo: Subaru