Subaru Concept: B11S Four-Door Sports Coupe
When the B11S Subaru Concept was unveiled at the Geneva motor show back in 2003, it gave a glimpse into the way the company's designers were thinking about the future. Although the car never made it to the production line, as a concept it seemed the car had the potential to set the performance world alight.
Why did it make such a strong impression? Read our B11S four-door sports coupe review to find out.
Exterior Styling and Bodywork
There's no doubt about it: the B11S was an impressive car to look at. At first glance it resembled a Mazda RX-8, with its short rear doors, lack of B-pillars, and upward sloping front-to-rear profile. However, several features set it apart and made it a highly distinctive car in styling terms.
Sharp edges to the fender blended in with exaggerated wheel arches, while the central grille line flowed back to the windshield in the form of a raised lip over the hood. Similarly, the mid-body line on the side wrapped round onto the rear to form the base of the trunk.
But perhaps its most original feature was a frosted glass roof, inspired by Japanese umbrella design and intended to create the airy feel of a convertible without the aerodynamic downsides of that body shape.
Finished in a pearl white body colour, the B11S ultimately looked like little else, although the masses of detail and designer flourishes led some to label the shape overly fussy.
Under the Hood
For the time, the B11S Subaru Concept was just as revolutionary under the hood. Although the four-door coupe concept was touted by Subaru as a way of transporting four adults in comfort, blurring the lines between sports and practicality, the mechanical engineering left no doubt that this was a high-performance car.
The engine was a horizontally opposed 3.0L six-cylinder model with twin turbochargers, pushing out a mammoth 400 horsepower and 405lb-ft of torque.
To handle all that output, the B11S was fitted with Subaru's version of all-wheel drive combined with a five-speed automatic transmission. This proprietary technology featured variable torque distribution to maintain excellent handling at all times. The standard setup biased the torque 35% to the front and 65% to the rear, combining the handling advantages of all-wheel drive with the performance power of rear.
However, when driving conditions required, the torque could be distributed in any proportion to reduce yaw and increase stability.
Subaru B11S Interior
While the exterior was a mostly uniform pearl white, the interior showed no such subtlety. Combining silver-effect finishes on the dash, console, and doors with bright blue accenting, the overall effect was... unique. It's unlikely a design of this extravagance would ever have made it into a production vehicle, but it made for an entertaining approach that redefined what a car interior could look like.
Much more conventionally, the rear seats could be folded down for easy access to the rear storage space, again blurring the dividing line between everyday car and racetrack demon.
It's not officially known why the B11S failed to make the transition to production car, but as a concept, it's an intriguing look into one version of Subaru's potential future at the time.