The Subaru Outback is the brand's most well-known shooting brake or station wagon. The Subaru SVX was a complete flop, but if it had gained more sales traction during its five-year production run from 1992 to 1997, it would have spawned a station wagon variant called the Amadeus. Brimming with success from producing quirky econoboxes during the 80s and early 90s, Subaru introduced the Alcyone SVX Concept in 1989 as a design study of a future grand touring sports car. It debuted the production SVX in 1992 with high hopes of competing with the world's best.
— gouda (@mg91919) December 28, 2020
From the looks of it, the SVX had all the exotic ingredients for success. It has a 3.3-liter six-cylinder Boxer engine with 230 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque, then the largest-ever Boxer engine fitted to a production Subaru. However, its most significant downside is the standard four-speed automatic transmission, a decision spawned by the unavailability of a manual gearbox suitable for the brand's largest engine.
Subaru Amadeus: The SVX station wagon that could have been
The Subaru SVX had the hallmarks of a performance grand tourer on paper. Despite sticking with a sluggish and power-sapping automatic gearbox, the SVX came with a standard all-wheel drivetrain, capable of sending 90% of engine power to the front wheels in everyday driving or a 50:50 front/rear torque split over challenging terrain. Moreover, it could scoot to 60 mph in under seven seconds and achieve a 142 mph top speed.
Imagine all that in a two or four-door station wagon body with the same split front and rear window design of a regular SVX coupe. The result is the Subaru Amadeus, the shooting brake that never got its chance for success after the SVX left the market after a short five-year production run. The Amadeus was supposed to have a longer body and was more practical than the SVX. But since it's an early 90's Subaru, it has its fair share of unique design attributes.
For instance, it has a spacious rear hatch, a two-tone paint job, and a rear spoiler that integrates with the roof rails. It even has 20 more horses under the hood, but the automotive deities had other plans. All hopes of a production Amadeus vanished when Subaru pulled the plug on the SVX, and the Outback could have been a different car if its Amadeus ancestor got a chance for glory. Subaru introduced the Amadeus concept alongside the production SVX at the 1991 Tokyo Motor Show, but it didn't take long for the automaker to realize that the Amadeus would never see the light of day.