AMID ice and snow causing troubles on British roads, Subaru UK last month celebrated the 40th anniversary of its antidote to hazardous winter driving conditions – the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system – which has allowed Subaru owners to go almost anywhere since its introduction in 1972.

The technolog y was first offered as a part-time option on the estate derivative of the Subaru Leone, but was subsequently rolled-out across the Japanese brand’s entire range.

Today, permanent Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is standard across all Subaru models in the UK range, except the rear-wheel drive BRZ sports car.

Throughout the last 40 years, All-Wheel Drive has featured on dozens of Subaru models. As well as the mainstays of the Subaru range, such as the Legacy, Outback and Forester, All-Wheel Drive has also been fitted to everything from World Rally Championship-winning cars to the brand's diminutive kei car models prominent on Japanese roads. The 1983 Subaru Rex (badged the Subaru Mini Jumbo, 600 and 700 in Europe) was the first kei car ever to be offered with drive to all four wheels.

Subaru’s unique All-Wheel Drive system has also featured on the brand's concept cars over the years. One of the more curious examples is the B9 Scrambler concept, shown at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show – a futuristic two-seater electric hybrid roadster with self-levelling air suspension, Subaru’s hallmark 2.0-litre Boxer engine (this time, in the form of a range-extender) and All-Wheel Drive, enabling would-be owners to continue driving through the ice and snow: something that many other sports cars are unable to offer.

“Looking back over the last 40 years, it’s clear that Subaru’s commitment to All-Wheel Drive has produced some of the most capable, best handling and safest all-terrain cars,” comments Haydn Davies, marketing director at Subaru UK. “All- Wheel Drive technology remains at the heart of almost every new Subaru model produced today, and it’s one of a number of reasons why the brand has built up a loyal and passionate following not just in the UK, but across the world.”

For more details on Subaru's permanent Symmetrical All- Wheel Drive system, visit