- Levorg builds on strong Subaru Sport Tourer heritage
- 1.6-litre DIT Boxer engine, paired with Lineartronic transmission
- EyeSight, Subaru’s driver assistance system added for 2017
- Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with Active Torque Vectoring for unbeatable stability
- Range line-up - Single ‘GT’ trim level with refined interior and high spec.
Levorg is a name steeped in Subaru Heritage. Created from a combination of LEgacy, ReVOlution and TouRinG, names previously used on the brand’s Boxer-engined Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive sport tourers.
Levorg combines estate car practicality with sports car like lines, added to great interior space and quality. It is offered in a single ‘GT’ trim level for the UK market.
The model has one of the most refined cabins ever found in a Subaru, with high quality fabrics, soft-touch plastics and leather-trimmed sports seats, along with Subaru’s Starlink 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment, connectivity and navigation system fitted as standard.
Under the skin
The Boxer engine takes its name from the punch-counterpunch motion of the horizontal pistons within a lightweight, aluminium-alloy engine block.
The Levorg’s specially developed Boxer engine is positioned in line with the drivetrain for maximum transfer of power. Many other engines are transverse or perpendicular, which can require additional drivetrain components to transfer power, which results in reduced vehicle efficiency when compared to a Boxer engine.
The punch-counterpunch movements of the pistons balance each other out, which means the engine is smoother with reduced vibrations and noise. Additionally, the unit contributes to the lower centre of gravity and in turn, exquisite handling and poise plus greatly reduced roll when cornering.
Levorg’s 1,600cc FB16 Direct Injection Turbo (DIT) Boxer engine is all-aluminium and produces its peak 170 PS from 4,800 to 5,600 rpm, and 250 Nm torque across a wide 1,800-4,800 rpm range.
The new 1.6-litre DIT powers the sport tourer from 0-62 mph in 8.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 130 mph, while returning fuel economy of 39.8 mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 164 g/km.
It has a twin scroll turbocharger and a high compression ratio (11.0:1), as well as a lightweight aluminium cylinder block. The result is engine performance which matches that of a larger, naturally aspirated engine, while offering greater fuel efficiency.
Air flow throughout the engine was a key focus throughout development, with improved air intake characteristics and wider intake and exhaust valves. An exhaust gas recirculation unit improves efficiency and the smooth delivery of power by evenly distributing recirculated gas to each cylinder to suppress fluctuations in combustion temperatures. A high efficiency EGR cooler further improves efficiency by providing the engine with cooler air, and more of it, than Subaru’s existing turbo engines.
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Vehicle Dynamics Control and Active Torque Vectoring
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Subaru’s Boxer engine are combined to create a chassis which is designed to be for an All-Wheel Drive car and completely symmetrical front to rear, and side to side. The advantage of this combination over a traditional 4WD set up is the weight of the engine and gearbox are spread across the front axle, resulting in perfect weight distribution across the chassis as well as a straight route for traction to travel to all four wheels.
This differs from other vehicles which are traditionally designed as front wheel drive vehicles and re-engineered for an AWD/4WD option. With a typical transverse mounted engine layout, the output from the gearbox is often rerouted multiple times before arriving at the wheels in addition to AWD engaging after a loss of traction is detected. This differs from Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive where all the wheels are constantly driven, therefore maintaining traction.
Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system works by driving all four wheels simultaneously. AWD produces roughly twice the driving force of a 2WD by utilising the friction of all four tyres to transfer driving force to the road surface. Because this force is spread across more tyres, the force applied to each corner is less than a 2WD. This means an AWD vehicle will achieve better fuel consumption and reduced tyre wear on slippery or unpaved roads versus 2WD vehicles.
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive has been developed to answer the need for an AWD system which removes the need to switch between 2WD and AWD due to transmission wind-up (part-time AWD) but also gives increased stability on-road.
To remove the risk of transmission wind-up, the rotational speed difference between the front and rear axles are compensated for by using a hydraulic multi-plate clutch installed in the transfer mechanism. The hydraulic multi-plate clutch is computer controlled and works automatically according to the vehicle’s driving conditions in the current AWD system.
The three basic concepts employed are: -
1) Driving force enhances traction on slippery surfaces, under acceleration or climbing.
2) On high traction surfaces the intervention of the AWD system is minimised.
3) Torque distribution to the rear provides crisper steering responses resulting in higher cornering performance.
Subaru’s Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system has been upgraded to allow more precise distribution of torque between front and rear axles by more closely measuring steering wheel angle, yaw rate and lateral acceleration, improving initial steering response upon corner entry. The updated system reduces wheel spin on low-grip roads to help improve immediate acceleration.
The Levorg’s default torque split distribution is 60:40, front to rear, but if the All-Wheel Drive system detects slipping at the front, it instantly apportions more torque to the rear wheels for improved traction.
Every new Levorg is fitted with an advanced Active Torque Vectoring (ATV) system, which is also fitted to WRX STI. ATV effectively brakes the inside wheels under cornering and helps apportion greater torque to the outside wheels, preventing understeer and oversteer and allowing a more predictable course through corners.
Lineartronic is the first Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) adopted for AWD use. Lineartronic has been designed specifically for use with Boxer engines and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive to optimise fuel consumption via a stepless gear ratio and optimal power band.
Lineartronic combines a torque converter with lockup damper and a CVT system which offers a wider ratio coverage than a traditional automatic transmission, which improves drivability and fuel economy. The torque converter also includes a creep facility for ease of use in traffic.
Single pinion planetary gears and a hydraulic multi-disc clutch are combined for forward/reverse changeover and this is located after the secondary pulley. The lockup damper specially designed for Lineartronic has significantly improved the damping of torque fluctuations, meaning the typical CVT “surge” has been dramatically reduced as well as providing the driver with a realistic acceleration response.
A 6-step manual mode is also included, which can be selected via the gear lever or paddle shift on the steering wheel. The driver has the option to use this facility on a temporary basis for flexibility by using the paddles when the gear selector is in the Drive position and the system returns to drive mode should no further paddle input be received. For additional traction on low-grip surfaces, the driver can choose to set off in 2nd gear by putting the gear selector into manual and flicking the upshift paddle.
Stop & Start System
Levorg was the first turbocharged model to be fitted with Subaru’s Stop & Start System, which automatically stops the engine while temporarily stopped in traffic.
S&S stops the engine after 0.5 seconds with the driver’s foot on the brakes. The Levorg reignites the engine within just 0.35 seconds of the driver releasing the brake.
Subaru’s S&S system differs from conventional start-stop technology by including a tandem solenoid fitted to the starter motor, which enables a fast-acting change of mind control. If traffic starts to move again just as the car stops, the S&S allows the engine to fire up in 0.2 seconds, before engine rotation has stopped fully.
Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive)
SI-Drive is a custom driving mode system which allows drivers to select between two modes to alter engine and throttle response and the characteristics of the six-speed Lineartronic transmission.
The system’s default Intelligent (I) Mode carefully monitors driving conditions to deliver optimum fuel efficiency and smooth power delivery, as well as the greatest possible control on low grip surfaces or in the snow.
When activated, Sport (S) Mode, delivers more direct throttle response and more precise rev control. In S Mode, the Lineartronic transmission will hold on to its pre-programmed ‘gear’ ratios for longer for more decisive acceleration, and suppresses unnecessary gear shifts while under cornering. It also enables quicker down-shifts for acceleration immediately after braking.
Chassis, Suspension & Brakes
The Levorg has been engineered to combine a comfortable ‘grand tourer’ ride with the typically agile, predictable handling that buyers would associate with Subaru’s range of sports cars, such as the WRX STI and BRZ.
The suspension has been tuned to offer a fine balance of stability, comfort and handling, working in tandem with the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system to further increase the car’s ability to manage varying road surfaces and grip levels.
At the front, the fully independent suspension is focused on stability, a well-damped ride and linear, direct steering responses, while the multi-link rear end is also fully independent and focused on lateral stability.
The electric power steering has a quick 14.4:1 steering ratio with only 2.8 turns lock-to-lock, for an accurate and linear steering response.
The brakes are fine-tuned for progressive brake pedal feel and performance, with standard 316mm front discs and 300mm rear discs, all ventilated for fade-free stopping performance. A new booster improves braking response, particularly in the event of an emergency stop, while there is also an electronic parking brake and Hill Start Assist.
While the grip and assurance offered by Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive are core to the safety of all Subaru models, Levorg is the very first Subaru in Europe to be fitted with the Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection (SRVD) suite of safety technologies and has also been awarded Euro NCAP’s 5 Star rating.
Levorg achieved the following Euro NCAP Category scores:
- 92% in the Adult Occupant category
- 83% in the Child Occupant category
- 75% in Pedestrian category
- 68% in Safety Assist category
To achieve this rating, several changes have been made to the cabin including:
- Pre-tensioners have been added to the two side rear seatbelts.
- Improved child seat safety for the centre rear seat by altering the length of the centre rear seatbelt to increase stability when fitting a child seat.
- Reduced forward motion of passengers in the case of a collision. The volume of expanded polypropylene has been increased at the front of the rear seat cushions, preventing forward motion of passengers in the case of a collision and resulting in increased safety. A shock absorbing urethane has been used to reduce cushion thickness, maintaining comfort but improving safety.
- The shape of the curtain airbags was changed to conform with stricter 5 Star Euro NCAP safety standards and the passenger head protection area has been expanded. Collision sensing performance has been optimised with the addition of side impact sensitivity and front passenger detection automatically turns off the passenger airbag when there is a child seat fitted to the front passenger seat.
- Rear seat headrests have been enlarged and mounted higher.
- A pipe beam has been added to the front door structure to improve passenger safety during a collision.
Levorg is fitted with a reversing camera, which provides a wide view of the area behind the car. The camera features a delay function, allowing seven seconds before the image disappears from the display in the centre of the dashboard. This stops the system from engaging and disengaging constantly during more complex parking manoeuvres, such as three-point turns or parallel parking.
EyeSight is Subaru’s driver assistance system that acts as a ‘second pair of eyes’ for drivers. While systems from other manufacturers use various sensor technologies such as camera and radar or microwaves, EyeSight functions optically employing stereo-camera technology.
One camera is mounted each side of the rear view mirror to monitor the road and traffic ahead for potential hazards up to 110 metres up the road. Up to a speed of 28mph accidents can be avoided and the severity significantly reduced at higher speeds.
EyeSight features six technologies to maximise safety:
- Pre-Collision Braking alerts the driver of a potential collision using a visual and audible warning. If the driver does not take evasive action, the brakes will be applied automatically to either prevent the accident (up to 28mph) or reduce the severity of an impact. If the driver brakes but does not apply enough pressure, the system will increase braking force.
- Pre-Collision Throttle Management works by notifying the driver (visually and audibly) if they select drive instead of reverse and the car is parked facing an obstacle. The system will also cut engine output to help avoid a frontal collision.
- Adaptive Cruise Control adjusts vehicle speed to maintain a set distance from the car in front.
- Lane Departure & Sway Warning alerts the driver with a visual and audible warning if the vehicle sways or departs its lane without indicating.
- Lane Keep Assist offers gentle steering control if the vehicle is about to deviate from its lane at approximately 40mph or above.
- Lead Vehicle Start Alert prompts the driver with a visual and audible warning that traffic ahead has started moving.
ADAC, the German Automobile Club recently tested emergency brake assistance systems and EyeSight was the only system in their test (which included four premium brands), to achieve full points in the three categories tested - pedestrian, cyclist and night driving.
In 2015, Subaru released data from a survey of traffic accidents involving Subaru vehicles in Japan from 2010 to 2014. The data revealed a 61% reduction in crashes for vehicles equipped with EyeSight, compared to those without.
Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection System (SRVD)
Levorg is the first Subaru in Europe to be fitted with the Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection (SRVD) suite of safety technologies.
The system helps the driver to change lanes on the motorway safely or detect hard to see hazards when completing low speed manoeuvres. SRVD is a radar-based system, with radars fitted beneath the Levorg’s tail lamps and covered by the rear bumper, detecting vehicles to either side of the car.
SRVD is a package of three technologies, designed to alert the driver to potential hazards behind the vehicle:
- Blind Spot Detection (BSD) detects vehicles in the driver’s blind spots to the rear of the car, and alerts drivers to their presence with a subtle LED light on the mirrors.
- Lane Change Assist (LCA) warns the driver if another vehicle approaches the rear of the car in a neighbouring lane when travelling at speed. If the driver attempts to change lanes at that moment, the system issues a visual warning.
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) issues a visual and audible alert to warn the driver of vehicles passing behind the car when reversing out of a parking space.
Exterior, Interior & Multimedia
Levorg has been designed to strike a balance between Subaru’s performance range and the more practical appearance of a tourer, inside and out.
The face takes inspiration from the WRX STI with a Subaru signature bonnet scoop with hexagonal grille, swept-back, elongated shape and a visibly low centre of gravity. The ‘hawk-eye’ LED headlamps and lowered front fog lamps emphasise Levorg’s stance and leave an impression of stability.
The Levorg has a sleek, flowing profile, from its bold front wheel to its distinctive shoulder line. The window line rises gradually towards the rear, kicking up at the rear quarter light as the roof line tapers slightly. The front quarter lights improve visibility from the driving seat, while the glass area is greater overall to improve passive safety.
At the rear, wide LED tail lamps give the car a unique ‘squared-off’ light signature, while a chrome strip running horizontally across the tailgate emphasises width. The low, wide bumper, dual exhausts and integrated diffuser add visual weight to the base of the car for a more stable appearance.
The Levorg has 18-inch alloy wheels, with a high-gloss dark grey finish, and is available in a choice of four metallic paint finishes – Crystal Black Silica (new), Crystal White Pearl, Lapis Blue Pearl, and Steel Blue Grey Metallic.
Interior & Practicality
The interior echoes the sportier elements of the exterior, while giving occupants uncompromising space and practicality. It is finished with high quality, soft-touch materials and metallic highlights, yet retains the robust build for which the Subaru brand is known.
The dashboard is built up around a tall fascia and centre console, with metallic highlights that run horizontally and add a greater sense of width to the interior. The central fascia is finished in upmarket piano black, with a series of metallic accents, for a more sophisticated look and feel.
The dashboard has good ergonomics, with the most commonly used controls close to the wheel for the driver’s convenience. Integrated with the top of the dash is Levorg’s Multi-Information Display. The display’s 4.3-inch LCD colour screen allows the driver to monitor the car’s functions, with separate screens for fuel economy, active safety and the status of the car’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, as well as outside temperature and a vehicle health check, including tyre pressure, oil level and engine temperature.
The Levorg also gets a number of unique features including a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel, eye-catching blue stitching on every seam throughout the cabin, and heated leather sports seats.
Storage throughout the cabin make Levorg an inherently practical car, with cubby holes in front armrests and door pockets, a large centre tray, dual cupholders with a shutter, and a large console box under the central front armrest.
The front seat backs are curved for increased rear legroom, while the front seat slide rails are further apart for greater foot space. The middle backrest also folds down as an armrest, with two built-in cupholders. The rear bench offers a reclining backrest to further improve comfort for rear occupants, with a reclining lever handily located on both left and right rear seat bolsters.
The boot offers 522 litres of space including a 40-litre underfloor storage compartment, which also houses a tyre repair kit. The boot is equipped with luggage hooks to secure heavier items, while the parcel shelf can be stowed under the boot floor if carrying a big load.
Loading is easy thanks to a virtually flat boot lip and a wide opening, while the wheel housings are designed for minimal intrusion in the boot area, and a net has been added to the side pockets to secure smaller items.
The boot is equipped with rear seat release to remotely flip down the 60:40-split rear seat to expand the load space. With the second row of seats folded, luggage volume expands to 1,446 litres, providing ample space for anything from sports equipment and bicycles to luggage or pets.
At the centre of the cabin is Subaru’s latest Starlink infotainment system, controlled via a high-resolution 7-inch touchscreen. The display allows front seat occupants to control the car’s satellite navigation and audio systems using the intuitive touchscreen with functionality similar to a smartphone, such as swiping and pinching-in and out to control the zoom on map displays.
Various functions can also be controlled remotely, using voice control and allowing the driver to keep their eyes and attention on the road. Voice control is activated by pressing a button on the steering wheel and issuing verbal commands to make a phone call or set a destination in the navigation system.
Coupled to a six-speaker audio setup, the system houses a CD player, dual front, centre and rear USB jacks (six in total), auxiliary input jacks and Bluetooth® connectivity.