Subaru may have just unveiled a new rear-wheel drive sports car but the automaker’s reputation was built on the surefootedness of its symmetrical all-wheel drive technology, which is now in its 40th year of production.

To celebrate the milestone Subaru will present a special showcase of its all-wheel drive vehicles, past and present, at next month’s 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

One of the highlights will be the first vehicle to feature the symmetrical all-wheel drive system, the 1972 Subaru Leone station wagon. Since this particular model’s launch, Subaru has sold more than 11,780,000 vehicles with all-wheel drive, which accounts for roughly 55.7 percent of its total sales.

The symmetrical all-wheel drive system provides optimum traction by distributing engine power to all four wheels in a balanced manner. It combines with Subaru’s horizontally opposed ‘Boxer’ engine to produce a perfectly symmetrical drivetrain and low center of gravity, which results in great balance and stability.

Continuous research and development over four decades has refined the technology, making the system ideal for a wide variety of conditions. Today, Subaru combines it with various enhancements including electronically-controlled variable torque distribution systems, an active torque split, a viscous center differential, and a new driver-controllable center differential.

Subaru symmetrical all-wheel drive technology

Subaru symmetrical all-wheel drive technology