In 1985, Subaru XT (also known as XT6, Vortex and Alcyone in other markets) was launched by Subaru and remained in production until 1991. In Japanese market, it was sold as Alcyone; in Australia and New Zealand as Vortex, while marketed as XT (featuring 4-cylinder EA-82 engine) or XT6 (featuring 6-cylinder ER-27) in North American and European markets. Based on year made, these were offered as front-wheel or four-wheel drive.
In the US market, the XT was introduced in February 1985, while Japanese market saw Subaru Alcyone later in June 1985.
The name Alcyone is based on the brightest star found in the Pleiades star cluster, the one on which Subaru’s logo based.
In 1992, the Subaru SVX took the place of XT lineup.
XT Series (1985–1991)
Prior to the launch of Subaru XT, several different models had already been offered with an aggressive and unique styling cues contrasted to the available vehicles during that time. In US market, the Subaru XT was launched in February 1985, while it debuted in Japanese market later in June. Its wedge-shaped styling made it popular in the media as the New York Times referred it as “the ultimate in jazzy design”. The XT brought a new change in Subaru lineup as it deviated from the conventional older models in term of their practical applications and other styling features. The XT sold in Japanese market was equipped with a 2.7-L flat 6 or horizontally-opposed 6-cylinder engine which was far larger than the Japanese government regulations regarding engine displacement. Considered the 2000 cc displacement of engine, XT was ranked as a luxury car. Its larger engine also caused owner to pay annual road tax that was imposed by Japanese government.
Subaru XT6 (1988–1991)
Despite having a turbocharged engine, the XT failed to achieve the expected competitive power from the available 111 hp (83 kW) powertrain. To achieve high performance, Subaru finally launched the XT6 for 1988 model year equipped with a 2.7-L flat-6 or horizontally-opposed 6-cylinder ER-27 engine, delivering 145 hp (108 kW). The XT6 was launched with some added upgrades, such as a relatively heavier suspension to manage the larger engine, and also five-bolt hubs and wheels to handle additional torque.
The XT6 was marketed in Japan under the Alcyone VX name. The front-wheel drive Alcyone VX was never offered in Japanese market not even in New Zealand. The only example of the XT6 offered in New Zealand is the Vortex ZZ6 that can be seen on roads even until this point of time. The fuel options available in New Zealand were either 91 octane unleaded fuel or 96 octane leaded fuel, and XT6 was brought to New Zealand by Subaru New Zealand just for exhibition purposes and found that the vehicle won’t be able to survive under available fuel options with its 2700 cc 6-cylinder engine that needed 96 octane unleaded fuel.
The production of both the vehicles, i.e. XT and XT6 was halted after the launch of 1991 model year and succeeded by even larger Subaru Alcyone SVX. With SVX, Subaru went on with its tradition of offering startling gadgetry in its sporty coupe, although with an extra powerful and heavier package.