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by George Skentzos

Crucial details have been revealed surrounding Toyota and Subaru’s collaborative efforts in building a cheap, fuel efficient, lightweight, rear-wheel drive, coupe sports car.

Whilst these credentials may all sound mutually exclusive, the combined minds of Toyota and Subaru engineers are inching toward a design which could fulfill all these criteria.

A test mule spotted at Toyota’s test track runs a shortened version (by up to 200mm) of the AWD Subaru Legacy sourced chassis minus the front drive shafts (effectively making it RWD) and a Subaru derived SOHC two-liter flat-four.

Still in early development, the Legacy chassis was used solely for experimental purposes with the final version expected to run the Impreza 15S’s platform since its AWD drive-line can be easily modified to exclusively run as a RWD and is better suited to the smaller engine size.

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Subaru’s 108 HP 1.5-liter boxer (EL15) which is slated to power the car was chosen apparently due to the rear differential’s fragility and Toyota’s aim of making the coupe as fuel efficient as possible whilst also keeping the price down.

The engine may just barely produce 100hp, however tipping the scales at just 1,100kg the featherweight coupe is expected to perform in the same way as the iconic AE86.

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The ongoing focus on keeping the price below 2,000,000 yen (AU$20,000) whilst maintaining performance has been a major problem for Toyota, however if they succeed we could see the coupe make its debut as early as next year, with sales beginning later in 2008.

Source: 7Tune and BestCar




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