What is it?
It’s what would be called sheer bloody-mindedness if it happened in Britain. Subaru only sells 600,000 cars a year; half in Japan, most of the rest in countries where you’d barely measure the interest in a small diesel engine with a micrometer.
Yet Subaru has just developed, on its own and purely because its European retailers asked it to, the first boxer diesel ever fitted to a car. Subaru might only end up making 30,000 units a year, in most countries the engine won’t be sold at all and its design is so restrictive that no other manufacturer will buy it.
Obstinacy? Not a bit of it, says Subaru, whose argument is this: our petrol engines are boxers because they’re light, compact, smooth and mate easily to a 4WD transmission if aligned just-so. So our diesels must be the same. Consider it, then, dedication to engineering rightness.
‘It’s Here’, is Subaru’s strapline. “Who cares?” will be the answer across 85 per cent of the planet. But here it is: the new Legacy 2.0 diesel.
What’s it like?
Worth the development money. Every bit as compact as Subaru’s petrol units, the new engine’s a horizontally opposed 2.0-litre, with equal bore and stroke and a very short crankshaft to limit vibration and noise.