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Subaru Boxer Sports Car Architecture

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Subaru and Toyota have been hard at work developing a new sports car together, but they have chosen very different ways to show off their creations.

Toyota is displaying its FT-86 II concept, which looks like the genuine article. However, what's on the Subaru stand could hardly be more different: little more than the skeleton of the car.

The idea is to show off Subaru's expertise, with the emphasis being the way the car has been designed around its lightweight, horizontally opposed Boxer' engine.

Because of the way the engine is built, it allows the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive car to have a low centre of gravity that is designed to give a great drive and excellent handling.

It also allows both the car and the driving position to be lower and therefore more sporty than would have been the case with a conventional engine.

The chassis, too, has been developed to retain the comfortable ride and confidence-inspiring stability of Subaru's four-wheel-drive cars, while adding the kind of crisp handling drivers will expect of a rear-drive sports car.

That is helped by the fact that the engine can be positioned further back in the chassis, meaning the centre of gravity is nearer the centre of car. This, Subaru says, combines with the short front and rear overhangs to give the car a very natural' feel when cornering, while still making the car enjoyable to drive.

Sadly, we'll have to wait another year before we can test the accuracy of the company's claims. The first example of the car is only expected to be produced in spring 2012.