SUBARU INTRODUCES THIRD-GENERATION OUTBACK® MODELS
CHICAGO, February 5, 2004 – Subaru of America Inc., the only company that features Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line, has introduced the fully redesigned, re-engineered third-generation Outback model line at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show. New 250-horsepower 6-cylinder Outback 3.0 R models and the 250-horsepower intercooled/turbocharged Outback 2.5 XT bring a dramatic performance infusion to the Outback line. These high-performance models also bring an element of driving fun to the crossover segment that Subaru pioneered with the original Outback a decade ago.
'By offering new high-performance, premium-content Outback models, Subaru is positioned to compete with the growing number and diversity of crossover vehicles,' said Fred Adcock, Executive Vice President, Subaru of America, Inc. 'And, quite simply, the Outback 2.5 XT is designed to be the ultimate performance crossover wagon.'
The third-generation Outback models for 2005 will offer greater performance, new safety technology and a higher level of luxury while continuing to provide outstanding value. Arriving at Subaru dealerships in spring 2004, the thoroughly revised 2005 Outback model line includes the Outback 2.5i and Outback 2.5i Limited Wagon models, both powered by a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine that provides enhanced response for 2005. The 6-cylinder models include the Outback 3.0 R L.L.Bean Edition and flagship Outback 3.0 R VDC Limited. The Outback 2.5 XT and 2.5 XT Limited models are exclusively powered by a 250-horsepower intercooled/turbocharged 4-cylinder boxer engine.
With the development of this next generation Outback, Subaru seized the opportunity to strengthen and enhance its 'Best of Both' concept that spawned the original Outback. The melding of passenger car and SÚV attributes has been further advanced to meet the demands of consumers shopping the crossover segment. Safety, handling, fuel economy and performance are improved by means of a longer wheelbase, wider track, lower center of gravity, and vehicle weight reduction by as much as 180 pounds. The vehicle ground clearance and command seating position have also been improved for 2005 Outback models.
The 2005 Outback models are designed and equipped to compete with the growing range of crossover models in the market, including those from luxury brands, while remaining true to the core values that make Subaru a unique brand: A boxer engine, standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a functional and comfortable driver's environment, a high degree of safety and comfort for passengers and renowned durability and reliability. To mark the introduction of the 2005 Subaru Outback, Subaru will reveal product details to consumers on a new website, www.need-desire.com that showcases the brand's premium performance evolution.
Bold New Design Strengthens Brand Identity
Subaru designed the third-generation Outback to express its more dynamic performance and nimbleness. The pronounced wedge body shape conveys a strong and stable presence, accentuated by aerodynamic side ground effects, more pronounced wheel arches and redesigned protective side cladding. Wheelbase of the slightly larger 2005 Outback has been increased from 104.3 inches to 105.1 inches and overall length has been increased by just under two inches.
Premium design details include glass-look D-pillars, an extensive color palette featuring additional monochromatic choices, judicious use of chrome trim, a rear gate spoiler and raised black-letter tires. Outback 3.0 R and 2.5 XT models feature body-color exterior mirrors with integrated LED turn signals. A functional hood scoop on Outback 2.5 XT models supplies air to the engine-mounted intercooler. The Outback 3.0 R L.L.Bean Edition is distinguished by a front underguard, specific alloy wheel design, co-branding identification and exterior colors that are exclusive to this model.
New Level of Occupant Safety
Built on a new version of the company's proven Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame safety structure, the 2005 Outback models will include as standard equipment front seat side impact air bags and side curtain air bags that offer additional head protection for front and rear occupants. New intelligent dual-stage deployment front air bags use sensors to detect the presence and weight of a front passenger and also the driver's distance from the steering wheel. The system determines front air bag deployment strength for optimal occupant protection. All Outback models for 2005 feature active front head restraints, which can help reduce potential whiplash injury in a rear collision.
High Performance In Two Distinct Versions
At the top of the Outback line, Subaru will offer customers two distinct versions of high-performance driving: The 6-cylinder Outback 3.0 R models provide a linear power feeling that is characteristic of a higher-displacement engine; the Outback 2.5 XT models offer a more sporty and exciting type of engine performance.
The 3.0-liter DOHC 6-cylinder engine, which is exclusive to the Outback line, has been thoroughly re-engineered and produces 250 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 219 lb-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm (compared to 212 horsepower and 217 lb-ft. for the previous 6-cylinder engine). New premium technology includes Active Valve Control System (AVCS) variable valve timing and Active Valve Lift System (AVLS).These systems enhance power at all engine speeds while ensuring optimal efficiency and low emissions.
The intercooled/turbocharged 2.5-liter DOHC 4-cylinder boxer engine that powers the Outback 2.5 XT models produces 250 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 250 lb-ft. of torque at 3,600 rpm. This engine shares architecture and key performance technology with the rally-bred Impreza®WRX® STi®, including Active Valve Control System (AVCS) variable valve timing technology that helps optimize low and mid-range torque and high-end output. The turbocharged engine also offers outstanding performance at high altitudes, where changes in atmospheric pressure adversely affect the power output of naturally aspirated engines.
The normally aspirated 2.5-liter SOHC 4-cylinder boxer engine in Outback 2.5i and 2.5i Limited models provides enhanced response for 2005 and produces 168 horsepower and 166 lb-ft. of torque. Even with all these increases in engine power and performance, Subaru anticipates improved fuel economy across the line, subject to final certification. This improvement in fuel economy will be achieved, in part, through the use of vehicle weight reduction technology, advanced engine technology and enhanced drivetrain performance.
A new 5-speed electronic direct control automatic transmission is standard on the Outback 3.0 R models. The Outback 2.5 XT models offer a choice between a new, standard reinforced 5-speed manual transmission and the new 5-speed automatic. With the 5-speed automatic, the SPORTSHIFT feature allows manual shifting control from the console-mounted shifter and, exclusive to Outback 2.5 XT models, steering wheel shift buttons, as well.
Chassis Designed for Performance, Ruggedness and Comfort
The 2005 Outback models further strengthen the rugged, go-anywhere capability that Subaru customers want while also improving the crisp handling response and smooth, quiet ride comfort expected in a premium model. A new, stiffer unitized body structure makes greater use of aluminum and high-strength steel, as well as advanced construction techniques including hydroforming and tailored-blank welding.
The 4-wheel independent suspension features revised geometry to enhance handling and stability. The wider vehicle track, a lower center of gravity and the use of 17-inch wheels and tires on most models further enhance stability on the new Outback. The ground clearance has been increased to 8.4 inches on Outback 2.5i and Outback 3.0 R models, while Outback 2.5 XT models provide 8.7 inches of ground clearance for increased off-road capabilities. The increase in ground clearance, coupled with improved angle of approach, angle of departure and ramp breakover angle give the 2005 Outback models increased off-highway capabilities.
The engine in the new Outback models is mounted lower than in the previous generation, which helps to lower the center of gravity. The rack-and-pinion steering system has been redesigned for quicker response, greater precision and improved feel. A 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) is standard equipment on all 2005 Outback models. The Outback 2.5 XT and all 3.0 R models feature standard 17 x 7-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 225/55 R17 raised black letter tires. Outback 2.5i and 2.5i Limited models use 16 x 6-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 225/60 R16 raised black letter tires.
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive A Key To Brand Identity
All-Wheel Drive is a cornerstone of Subaru brand identity, not just an add-on feature. Consistent with this philosophy, all Subaru All-Wheel Drive systems are organized under the 'Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive' branding umbrella. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is a total system that integrates a lightweight horizontally opposed (boxer) engine and full-time All-Wheel Drive. The system provides excellent balance thanks to the longitudinally mounted boxer engine and the way power flows from it through the transmission and to the rear differential along a straight, near-horizontal path.
Subaru offers three different Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive systems in the 2005 Outback line, each one tailored to the model and type of transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com)
With the 5-speed manual transmission, the system uses a viscous-coupling locking center differential to distribute the power 50/50 front to rear. Slippage at either set of wheels will send more power to the other set of wheels.
All Outback 3.0 R models – and Outback 2.5 XT models when equipped with the 5-speed automatic transmission – use advanced Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) All-Wheel Drive. A planetary center differential works with an electronically controlled continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch to manage power distribution. VTD normally sends more power to the rear wheels to enhance handling agility, and the system continuously adjusts the power distribution in response to driving and road conditions.
Exclusive to the flagship Outback 3.0 R VDC Limited is Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), an advanced stability system that controls VTD operation and integrates an electronic four-wheel traction control system. Outback 2.5i and Outback 2.5i Limited models will offer an optional 4-speed automatic transmission, with an AWD system that uses an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch to actively control power distribution in response to driving conditions.
All-New Interior Reflects Premium Positioning
Subaru redesigned the roomy Outback interior and used high-quality materials to enhance the driver's environment and passenger comfort. Flush surface treatments, a soft foam upper dashboard, soft foam door trim and aluminum side sill covers provide a premium appearance and ambience. The Outback interior features a two-tone color arrangement, with cloth upholstery for the Outback 2.5i and Outback 2.5 XT models, and leather-trimmed upholstery for the Outback 2.5i Limited, 2.5 XT Limited and 3.0R models. All 2005 Outback models provide an improved command seating position, one of the most sought after attributes in the crossover segment.
The sporty new four-dial instrument panel is augmented in all Outback models by a combination digital clock and trip computer located in the center of the dashboard. Some of its functions and displays include outside air temperature, fuel consumption, remaining driving distance, estimated driving time and a passenger airbag on/off indicator light. The Outback 2.5 XT models exclusively feature an electroluminescent LED (light-emitting diode) gauge display.
Standard equipment is more extensive than in any previous Outback and includes an 8-way power driver's seat for all Outback 2.5i models, Outback 2.5 XT Limited and Outback 3.0 R models, with Outback 2.5 XT Limited and 3.0 R models also including a standard 4-way power passenger seat. The front seats on all Outback models for 2005 provide standard four-stage heating (compared to two-stage heating in the previous model). A new-type dual-panel glass power moonroof is standard for Outback 2.5i Limited, 2.5 XT Limited and Outback 3.0 R models.
About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered near Philadelphia, the company markets and distributes All-Wheel Drive Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 dealers across the Únited States. Subaru is the only car company that features Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line. Subaru has been the best-selling import wagon in America for the past 20 years, based on R.L. Polk & Company new vehicle retail registration statistics calendar year-end 2002.Source - Subaru
Subaru, the automobile manufacturing division of Japanese transportation conglomerate Fuji Heavy Industries Co., Ltd, is best known for their use of boxer engines in their vehicles along with standard AWD. Over the years, Subaru has built up its reputation for high quality, reliable vehicles that don't sacrifice performance for daily practicality.
Introduced in the United States in 1996, the first Subaru Legacy Outback was marketed as ‘The World's First Sport Utility Wagon'. The Legacy station wagon featured all wheel drive, body-cladding, off-road tires and slightly higher ground clearance. A crossover sport-utility vehicle, the Subaru Outback was based on the Legacy/Liberty station wagon. The Outback was created in response to the truck-based SUV craze that had begun to reach fevered pitch with customers. Subaru station wagons, even those equipped with all wheel drive, where being forsaken in lieu of the popular new SUV's.
The popularity of the Outback was helped in part by ads featuring Australian ‘Crocodile Dundee' star Paul Hogan using the Outback in scenes were it competed again leading SUV's, most notably the Ford Explorer.
Largely visual changes were made to the existing Legacy extended roof Touring Wagon platform to suggest a more adventurous, rugged persona. In Japan the Outback was named the Legacy Grand Wagon before being renamed the Lancaster in 1997, and then again in 2005 as the Outback. An all-wheel-drive Outback was introduced to the US market in 1995 by Subaru as a 1996 model. In Australia, the model has been known simply as ‘the Outback'. Alongside the Subaru Legacy and Subaru Tribeca models, the US Outback is manufactured at the Subaru of Indiana Automotive plant in Lafayette, Indiana. In 1998, the Outback Sport, which was based on the Subaru Impreza 5-door hatchback was introduced.
Olivier Boulay was hired by Subaru on a short-term basis to design the exterior of the Subaru Outback. In 1996, it became a separately-marketed line in the United States. It was at this time that the vehicle received Outback-specific changes that included unique bumpers, taller tires with more pronounced treat, slightly higher ground clearance, and tweed-like seats and door panel inserts. Only available with the DOHC 2.5 liter engine, the JDM Grand Wagon and Lancaster received a 10 hp improvement in 1998. On a select few Outback sedans and wagons, non-functional hood scoops were found, non-functional because Subaru did not install the turbo into any Outback vehicles.
To simplify the powertrain implementation of all wheel drive, and because of the natural smoothness of the engine design, Subaru chose to use the boxer engine in the Outback. Due to the fact that the engine sits inline, or longitudinal, with the transmission, instead of being transverse, the body roll of the Outback is minimized. Instead of being offset, the weight of the engine and transmission are balanced, which causes the weight of the engine and transmission to be unbalanced in the engine bay in other vehicles. Because the engine sits low in the engine bay and close to the ground, the Boxer engine affords a low center of gravity, in comparison to other vehicles. This also makes the vehicles more stable in moderate to high speed maneuvers.
While other manufacturers attempt to balance the offset weight by making their powertrains weight evenly distributed, this only results in making the powertrain heavier than the Subaru layout. The Subaru's power train is manufactured from lightweight aluminum. Providing perfect vibration mitigation due to the fact that the movement of each piston is exactly countered by the corresponding piston in the opposing cylinder bank, the boxer design eliminated the need for a harmonic balancer attached to the front of the engine at the crankshaft. With this type of powertrain layout, torque steer is also reduced. Having the front driveshafts being of equal weight and length and extending from the transmission to the front wheels at almost perpendicular from the transmission achieves this feat.
All past and current USA Subaru's can be easily recognized by their trim levels and the color of the outside door panels. While base trim levels can always be identified by their black plastic door handles, uplevel models have painted door handles directly matching the exterior color.
Sold in New England in 1999, the Outback Sport Utility Sedan was featured with a limited production test run. The SUS was introduced nationwide for the following year due to its success. The Outback became its own model in 2000, and along with receiving a 4-door sedan into its lineup, the Outback also received an available horizontal six-cylinder engine. Titled the 'Lancaster' in Japan for the second generation, the six-cylinder was also renamed the 'Lancaster 6'.
The second generation six-cylinder was featured with Subaru's VDC (Vehicle Dynamics Control) system, which integrated stability control with traction control. The VDC system was joined to an all new AWD system which split the power 45/55 front-to-rear in normal conditions. The system cuts power to the spinning wheel when a spin is detected, and reroutes power to those that aren't.
Depending on transmission choice, other models retained the typical AWD layouts that have been seen in previous generation Outback models. Relying on limited slip differentials to redirect power front to rear, rear to front and from one rear wheel to the other, manual models came with the mechanical ‘Continuous AWD' system, which was normally 50/50 front/rear. Automatic models featured an electronically-controlled AWD system that was 90/10 front/rear, that redirected differing amount of power to the rear wheels continuously depending on hard the accelerator pedal was pressed.
Differing front the previous 4-cylinder model in that it became an SOHC design, the Outback came standard with a 165 horsepower 4-cylinder boxer engine. Maximum torque was available at a lower rpm.
The only vehicles ever factory-equipped with McIntosh stereo equipment, the highest trim level of the Outback received a 200 W McIntosh stereo system as standard equipment from 2001 to 2003. Available options also included an in-dash 6-disc CD changer and dual moonroofs.
Rather than resembling U.S. models, Australian Outback models were designed closer to the Japanese models. The evidence lies primarily in the placement of the headlights, rear taillights, front and rear bumpers, the side indicators on front quarter panels, and higher placing of the ‘Outback badging' on the front door bodywork, rather than being placed on the plastic cladding.
Australian models were released in an early style with all-in-one headlights, gold colored cladding, a light gray cloth internally, light brown wood textured dashboard, and a plain instrument cluster. Available as an aftermarket option was a nudge bar, which was a smaller style of bulbar or roobar. From 2002 through 2004 the style was updated to feature silver cladding, a new updated range of paint color options, a dark gray/black cloth internally, multi-unit headlights, dark gray plastics, and a very dark brown faint wood texture, along with metal trims on the dials of the instrument cluster.
Available models included the base ‘Outback', the ‘Outback H6' which now included the 6 cylinder engine with VDC, and the ‘Outback Limited' which featured a new sunroof along with cloth/leather seats. The Outback H6 was now available in a single metallic pearl off-white color, rather than the usual color either gold or silver cladding, and also featured slightly different 16' wheels. Available only in automatic, the size of the 6- cylinder engine was most likely the reason, due to not enough space to fit the manual box and associated dual range mechanicals.
Introducing the fourth-generation Legacy at the 60th Frankfurt Auto Show in 2003, the Outback name was now being used worldwide with the launch of the second-generation Outback wagon. Introduced at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show were models equipped with a 3.0 L H6.
Based on the most recent Impreza, the Impreza-based Outback Sport is marketed on Subaru's U.S. website as a trim of the Impreza. For the 2008 model year, the Outback received an enlarged, chrome-ringed grille. In this same year, the Legacy wagon and Outback sedan were discontinued in the U.S., leaving only the Legacy sedan and Outback wagon.By Jessica Donaldson