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Subaru has built the world's first flat four-cylinder diesel for production cars. Europeans have been driving it in the Legacy and Outback since January, and in about a month, after the Paris Auto Show, they'll have it in the new third-gen Forester, too. Americans...well, we'll have to wait, but we could get the boxer-diesel Forester sometime in 2010. If, that is, Subaru gets the message (wink wink) that American buyers are seriously interested.

Yesterday I drove the new Forester 2.0D through the idyllic rural roads of Austria and neighboring Slovenia, and it's an appealing piece indeed. The boxer diesel is essentially an all-new engine, sharing its bore centers with Subaru's 3.0L gas six (to help reduce machining costs) but otherwise made mostly of unique parts. The twin-cam, four-cylinder mill displaces 2.0L, feeds off a common-rail fuel-delivery system, and breathes via 16 valves and a variable-nozzle turbo. Output is 145 hp at 3600 rpm but the engine makes a manly 258 lb-ft of torque at just 1800 rpm (compared with 226 lb-ft for the Forester's 2.0L turbo gas engine).

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