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Thursday, 18 December, 2014 - 14:22 (UK)  

..:: The Subaru Impreza Story

1. The Subaru Impreza Story, as told by me
2. The History of the Subaru Impreza
3. Special Editions
4. Image Galleries
5. My 2001 Subaru Impreza WRX - Red Mica

..:: The History of the Subaru Impreza

Subaru is a subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries. Which was originally Nakajima Aircraft back in 1917. It's wasn't until 1954 before Fuji Heavy Industries took on the challenge of building a road car. The name of this car was the P-1 (Nothing like the modern Subaru Impreza P1) which stood for Prototype-1. This name was later changed to the Subaru 1500. And here the Subaru was born. The name Subaru Closely translates to reference the star cluster Pleiades, which is the same famous star cluster that we see make up the subaru logo today. over the decades Subaru continued to build motor cars and in 1972 made it's first 4WD car with the Subaru Leone 4WD Station Wagon. From that point onwards Subaru made something for a name for it's self in the 4WD motor car department, almost like a trade mark. Think Subaru, think All Wheel Drive. However it wasn't until 1992 that the Subaru Impreza was born. So let's pick up the story from there.


The Launch of the Subaru Impreza (Japan) The Subaru Impreza was developed after rule changes in the World Rally Championship (WRC) demanded a replacement to the Subaru Legacy which was previously used by Subaru in the WRC. The changes meant that a new smaller, lighter and faster car was required in order to compete in the WRC. So even from day one, the Subaru Impreza was developed for rallying.


The Subaru Impreza reached the UK. Initially the Subaru Impreza was available in both Front Wheel Drive (FWD) and All Wheel Drive (AWD) versions. However the FWD was soon dropped in preference of the trademark Subaru AWD system.


The Turbo Charged Impreza 2000 AWD reached the UK (Known as the Subaru Impreza WRX in Japan). Also in 2004, Subaru Technica International (STI) was born and we started seeing STI versions of the Subaru Impreza Turbo. The Subaru Impreza WRX STI meant much more than an extra badge on the body. The STI stood for a full upgrading of the Subaru Impreza Taking was was learned on the World Rally stages and incorporating developments into the road car. Many areas were upgraded for the Subaru Impreza STI versions. Engine, Suspension and overall performance and handling greatly improved over the standard car. Top speed was limited to 155mph and 0-62 came in at just 4.7seconds for the Impreza STI. These figures made the Subaru Impreza very sought after by the local boy racers. Albeit a bit more expensive than the your every day Peugeot 205 and Vauxhall Nova.


Subaru won the World Rally Championship in a 555 WRC Subaru Impreza driven by fellow Scotsman Colin McRae. A brilliant achievement for both driver and manufacturer. Driver Colin McRae for being the first ever British driver to win the WRC, and Subaru proved that the Impreza was a World Leading rally car. To mark the success of Subaru winning the WRC championship that year, a special edition Subaru Impreza was released in the form of the McRae Series Subaru Impreza.


Subaru took the manufacturer title for a second year in a row, and promptly released another special edition Impreza knows as the Subaru Impreza Catalunya.


Subaru won a hat-trick of manufacturer championships and celebrated once again by releasing a new special edition Impreza. The Subaru Impreza Terzo (Italian for 3rd). Only 333 Subaru Impreza Terzos were made, as a mark of the three championships won with the Subaru Impreza. 1997 also saw a few changes to the Impreza road car. Interior styling was updated including an exclusive MOMO racing steering wheel. Meanwhile STI versions were given an newly designed rear spoiler. In Japan a special 2-door coupe Subaru Impreza was released which was used as the 1998 WRC car.


The Subaru Impreza 22B. A label that often conjures up thoughts of what the ultimate Subaru Impreza might be. The 22B (Note: for the computer geeks out there, 22B in hex converts to 555 in decimal.) provided a 2.2l boxer engine, more hardcore styling all round including 2-doors instead of 4 and an adjustable rear wing made up just some of the key features of the 22B. Only 400 22B's were made in order to celebrate 40 years of Subaru and only 16 of those were destined for the UK. I've seen three in total!! UK versions also had tweaked gearing which was specifically optimised to UK roads. How cool is that!


To celebrate the new driver lineup of Richard Burns in the Subaru World Rally Team, Subaru decided it was once again time for a special edition. This time the RB5 named after Richard Burns. Sadly in November 2003 Richard Burns was diagnosed with a form of brain tumour and later died on the 25th November 2005 from his illness. This makes the RB5 all the more special now. Only 444 RB5's were made, with the option of the WR Sport pack.

1999 Also saw the release of another special edition. The Subaru Impreza P1, which like the Subaru Impreza 22B was a 2-door coupe model, and like the 22B it was only available in WR Blue. However unlike the 22B the Subaru Impreza P1 delivered a 276bhp out of the box, and supporting a whole load of new accessories such as 10-spoke OZ Titanium racing wheels, improved quick-shift gearbox, rear-wiper, new front wing/splitter, new fog lamps and a new exclusive rear wing. Unlike the Impreza 22B there were 1,000 P1's made. Despite this the Subaru Impreza P1 remains one of the most expensive Subaru Impreza's to buy today.



For eight years, the Subaru Impreza remained more or less unchanged (externally) until 2000 where Subaru decided to update the Impreza for the 21st century. This change was met with mixed views. The appropriately labeled Bug-eye version by critics, was just that. Bug-eyed! One can only guess it was Subaru's attempt to make the Impreza all cute and cuddly. But this didn't go down well with the fans. Many NewAge impreza's promptly had their headlights replaces with WRC look-alike HI-Definition (HiD) lamps or the more aggressive looking Morette cluster. What was in favour of the fans was the globalisation of the WRX name. Previously only used in Japan, the WRX badge was now stuck to any Impreza with a Turbo!


To celebrate Richard Burns's win in the WRC and the launch of the of the new model, Subaru decided to launch yet another special edition Impreza. This time the Subaru Impreza UK300. Once again just like the 22B and P1 the only colour available was WR Blue. The UK300 supported new prodrive styled spoilers of which the rear wing looked like was picked from bit of an airfix kit and not put together properly. Thankfully the front end was improved slightly, with the addition of improved HiD headlamps which made the car look slightly less like a bug. Yet no matter what they did, it was still going to be remembered as the Bug-Eyed version. 2001 also saw the arrival of the NewAge (Must stop calling it bug-eyed) Subaru Impreza WRX STI to the UK. Just like previous STI's, this was based on the WRX but tweaked a little by the Subaru Technica International (STI) team. If that wasn't enough there was also the option of a Prodrive Performance Pack (PPP). The Subaru Imrpeza WRX STI saw a few key changes over the standard Subaru Impreza WRX. This time, the addition of a 6-speed gearbox as opposed to the WRX 5-speed. Also a nice welcome was similar headlamps which were found on the UK300.


It didn't take long before Subaru had to give in to pressure from fans and go back to the drawing board (literally) to come up with a new style Subaru Impreza. So in 2002, Subaru announced yet another NewAge Impreza. The MY03. Main difference here was the front end. More or less everything else stayed the same, but those bug-eyed headlamps were out and replaced with slightly less ugly ones. Also a bigger bonnet scoop was included. Not to be outdone, the Subaru Impreza WRX power was increased by 10bhp. Not surprisingly many Bug-eyed Subaru Impreza's were made available on the 2nd hand market as many owners wanted to change their driveway accessory for the new style Subaru Impreza.

Although Turbo versions of the Subaru Impreza were available in Japan and Europe from more or less day one. The US favoured their muscle cars and not these Japanese breed of performance cars. Which meant the Subaru Impreza Turbo's never "officially" reached US soil until the 2002 model. Any previous Subaru Impreza's were Imports. Unfortunately for the US market the famous 2.0l boxer engine had to go. The fuel regulations in the US meant that the high performance expected from the Subaru Impreza could not be achieved from the 2.0l engine with US fuel. Instead, the Subaru Impreza was given a nice new 2.5l boxer engine for the US market, in order to keep the power and performance up.


Another Subaru WRC title win with Petter Solberg at the wheel. Once again sticking with tradition a new special edition was released, known as the Subaru Impreza WR1. I must admit the WR1 is one of my personal favourites, if only because of the unique Ice Blue colour. Only 500 WR1's were made, but Subaru decided to throw everything at it, including PPP and Driver Controlled Centre Diff (DCCD). The Subaru Impreza WRX STI also saw further improvements in 2004 with upgraded mechanics from the Japanese models. This new revised STI saw a new front diff, along with the DCCD system which was found on the WR1 and UK300 models. Nice!


Towards the end of 2005. Again just 2 years after the previous model was replaced, Subaru decided to release another new bodied Subaru Impreza, the MY06. This time with new crystal rear light cluster and yet another new front end. The jury is still out about whether or not it is a hit or a miss. I personally think it looks Awesome. Almost as though Subaru have forgotten the last 5 years and gone back to the aggressive styling of the original Subaru Impreza from the 90's! I admit, it did take a few days to get used to, but after you see past the SEAT grill and BMW headlamps you soon realise that this is the sort of car you want other people to see you in, in their rear view mirror. (Admittedly briefly as you scream past them shortly after words :) Sadly the MY06 marked the end for the traditional 2.0l boxer engine. Instead we saw the introduction of the 2.5l boxer engine into the Subaru Impreza. A sad end which seems to have gone relatively unnoticed. But then think of what they can do with that extra 500cubic centimetres of space. Mwaahaahaahaa!...


Towards the end of 2006. Subaru / Prodrive announced the realease of a new Special Edition Impreza. Sadly without recent success in the WRC. This time the special edition was to celebrate the life of previous Subaru WRC Champion Richard Burns who sadly died 12 months previously due to a brain tumour. The New Special Edition Subaru Impreza was to be named the RB320. That's 320bhp and a limited number of 320 to be produced. Essentially the RB320 is a 2006 model Subaru Impeza WRX STi PPP with just abotu ever add on you can think of, along with bespoke prodrive/blitsen dampers, exclusive obsidian black paint work, black alloys and full dront grill set. All in all making the RB320 very exclusive and ver agressive looking with only small markings on the passenger, drivers doors and boot lid of a small orange RB320 logo. The rest of the car is very much black in respect for the late Richard Burns. A true trubite to a great champion!



I have yet to come up with a word that describes Subaru in 2007. At the time of writing Subaru had recently announced the drascically redesigned 2008 model of the Subaru Impreza (You can see some photos here) Make your own mind up about what you think of it. My initial thoughts are yuk.. And I have to say my thoughts are still more or less the same. The car does NOT look agressive as it shoudl and just looks like any other family hatchback on the road. a fair pecentage of the Impreza's appeal has always been it's agressive shape and styling. Even teh bugeye version admitedly wasn't welcomed by many had the trademark styling that for every other angle you knew it was an Impreza and more importantly a car to be reckoned with!. This new one doesn't do much for me I'm afraid. Doesn't excite me when I see pictures of it like previous styles. The same recipie is still there usign the same 2.5l boxer engine from teh MY06 models, a new intercooler has been shoved in. Power remains teh same at 225ps for the WRX model, awd as standard of course :). However the tyres are narrower than previous versions. Also it's worth noting that at time of writing there are no plans for a WRX version or saloon version for the UK. Instead we'll have the basic models then a jump up to the STi's I see this as a mistake as the WRX hits a just about affordable market for most peopel who cant afford te £25k price of the STi. However somethign new for the MY08 Impreza will be the introduction of a 170bhp Diesel Impreza. Thats right diesel. Should be interesting...Watch this space...



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Video: Autocar's best of 2014
We round up our best moments from 2014, featuring star cars from McLaren, Ferrari, Porsche and many more

2014 has been an incredible year for cars, and at Autocar we've aimed to bring you a small slice of the action. Here we round up our best moments from the last twelve months.

BMW confirms hydrogen car development
German car maker will begin tests on hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars soon, with vehicle technology co-developed with Toyota

BMW?s hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will begin testing in the near future - but advances in battery technology may mean that they never reach production, according to the firm?s sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson.

The firm has previously run a trial with hydrogen-powered vehicles; starting in 2007 it put 100 6.9-litre V12-engined 7-Series? on the road capable of running on petrol or hydrogen. Developing 256bhp and 290lb ft, the cars hit 62mph in 9.5secs.

The new generation of test cars are currently under development, with the technology being co-developed with Toyota. In particular, packaging of the fuel cell stack and hydrogen storage are said to have advanced significantly in recent years.

?We?ve said we?ll continue to invest in hydrogen and that will result in a small number of production test vehicles being made to prove technology works,? said Robertson. ?The real issues lie not around what we can do, though, but whether the infrastructure can be built up to supply hydrogen in the marketplace cost-effectively.?

As a result of the issues of the cost of hydrogen production and distribution, Robertson suggested battery technology gains could instead accelerate sales of electric vehicles. Advances in lithium ion technology are set to be followed by a switch to lithium air and then solid state batteries. These advances over the next ten years could ?see charging time and range worries disappear? according to Robertson.

In addition, Robertson indicated that he could now envisage a time in the future when investment in internal combustion engine technology switched to battery and electric motor advances. ?At some point in the future the technologies will switch over,? he said. ?When the crossover comes and the focus becomes electricity, the rate of learning will accelerate even faster,? he said. ?Relatively, that time is not far away.?

BMW is expecting to sell 15,000 i3 electric or range-extended vehicles in 2014, making it the third largest electric car maker. The i3 will go on sale in Asia in 2015.

BMW's long-term hydrogen plans are understood to centre around a future model for its 'i' range of cars. The mooted BMW i5 would employ a revised version of the powertrain used in the Toyota FCV.

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I'm planning on buying the perfect car in 2015 - what will it be?
Forget about the mince pies and concentrate on the important things this holiday season. For me, it's what car I should buy in 2015

Don?t know about you, but I always relish the Christmas break for the thinking and planning time it affords. During it, my mind seems to turn instantly to driving, car buying and maybe a little bit of racing.

Today, with the holiday period just a week away, stopping work is a pleasant prospect; no other period of the year carries such a licence to do nothing while affording time to dream of good times and good weather a few months away. And the cars to make them better.

At this time of the year people expect you to be planning the future. Think how many times over the next few days you?ll be asked about your New Year?s resolutions are. Mind you, if your household is like mine, other inmates may not be filled with delight when your 2015 priorities turn out to be all about cars and driving.

For me, there?s one big decision, and it will control all others. I want to buy the perfect cheap, interesting car ? on a budget of £5000 to £7000.†

It needs to be something I can gently modify so as to continue my spluttering hillclimb and autosolo career, hopefully double-driving with one or other of my two sons.†

No other pursuit I know is as good as low-end motorsport at providing carefree fun, while keeping a bloke in easy contact with the younger members of his family.

I?ve written before about some promising contenders, which range quite widely. A RenaultSport Clio 182 Cup would do it. So would a leggy (BMW) Cooper S. So would a Peugeot 306GTi-6 or super-cheap CitroŽn Xsara VTS, especially if equipped with a handling kit and a Quaife diff that lowered the overall gearing.

The Honda S2000, Nissan 350Z and Mazda RX-7 all come with decent performance and handling as standard equipment ? and all fall within the budget. It?s tough deciding which way to jump, especially when the three of us involved have three different opinions.

This, broadly speaking, is the logical course. But there?s a whole load of enticing but unsuitable cars out there within our paltry budget. Right now, for instance, there?s a seriously appealing 80,000-mile, one-owner Merc E500 from 2003 for sale on Auto Trader priced at £5250 before the haggling starts.†

And having stuck our fondly remembered Merc SLS up the Prescott hillclimb course a few times, I know what an exciting challenge it can to drive a wide, powerful car on a such a narrow, demanding track (not so sure about an E500?s capabilities in an autosolo).

There are, of course, cars that offer serious power in a smallish package ? but the price for squeezing these opposing virtues into our budget is a quality best described as ?legginess?.†

Right now there are a couple of dozen sub-£6000 BMW M3s (155mph, 0-60 5.6sec) on the market, but I?m not sure I?d be game to buy such a tyre-eater so cheaply, knowing it has been driven to the outside of the envelope for most of its 120,0000-150,000 miles. Would definitely welcome hearing from anyone with relevant experience.

Anyway, this is what I?ll be thinking about over Xmas. There?s an argument that says thinking about it ? when you have every intention of doing it ? is the most fun of all. Hope it?s the same for you.

BMW calls for better consultation on emissions regs
BMW calls for better consultation on emissions regs BMW's sales and marketing boss says EU emissions targets could cause major manufacturers to suffer and is calling for better communication on how ambitious 2020 targets will be reached

Future diesel legislation must be made in consultation with the car makers if customers and the industry aren?t to suffer unduly, according to BMW?s sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson.

Speaking in the wake of major cities, including London and Paris, indicating they could ban diesel cars from built-up areas, Robertson cautioned that the 2020 target of 95g/km of CO2 for all car makers, plus the introduction of Euro 6 legislation, had already placed a major burden on car makers.

?We need to make sure there is careful consideration in any legislation,? said Robertson. ?The temptation for legislators is to set an ambitious target, but there has to be a clear path to how we reach those targets, otherwise everyone suffers.

?To reach the 95g/km target we need pure electric vehicles, but to sell pure electric vehicles we need governments to provide the infrastructure and to incentivise the technology. All that takes time, not two or three years.?

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Help me decide the nation's favourite TVR
Help me decide the nation&amp;#039;s favourite TVR Plans are well in motion to bring back the iconic British sports car maker, but which TVR should you buy?

TVR is coming back and I can?t wait. Because if you don?t like the idea of owning a TVR then I suspect that you don?t really like cars very much.†

A failure to be moved by the sight and sound of these wonderful beasts really makes you a firm non-petrolhead.

However, the idea of owning a TVR is always going to be more appealing than the reality of it: breaking down, in other words. 'TVR' and 'clockwork reliability' are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. To own a TVR is to live with constant fettling and sudden unexplained electrical failures.†

This is all part of the ownership experience, and what an experience it is. Owners can and do complain about the marginal economy, poor reliability and sheer bloody expense of running a TVR, but hardly any regret the experience.

There have been many glorious models over the years, but here are some of my favourites.


If there ever was such a thing, here was TVR?s bread and butter model, which was pretty to look at and mad to drive. A sort of MGB that had been to rehab and really didn?t care what anyone thought.†

Yet with its 4.0-litre V8 it is relatively docile for a TVR. If you can live with one of these and put up with the inevitable grief, whether it be insurance or reliability, then you can graduate from there to the bigger and far more frightening stuff.


Deviating slightly from its core customers, TVR launched its idea of a family car in the low-slung and always menacing shape of the Cerbera. A 0-60mph time of 4.0sec is a sensational conversation starter ? and stopper ? in the pub.†

It looks like pure evil and needs getting used to, if that is ever possible. While everyone forgives a Ferrari for its thoroughbred foibles, a Cerbera gets it in the neck, but pound for pound you won?t ever get more supercar for the money.


It?s got a sensational six-cylinder engine, it is fantastically quick and it looks like it?s landed from another planet. Just three good reasons to go Tuscan right there, then, but there is another: it became very affordable very quickly.†

The Tuscan taxes your driving skill like no other car and is worth it for that alone. There are, though, lots of things to concern yourself with, and the list of what to look out for on used models is almost endless.†

Tasmin 280

Wonderful wedge styling and powered by the specialist Brit manufacturer?s favourite powerplant in the shape of the Ford V6, although the Rover V8 engine was eventually installed at new owner Peter Wheeler?s insistence.

There is a practical hatch and even a 2+2 model. You really should dare to be different and pick up a solid coupť for much less than you thought.


The 420SEAC was the most insane budget supercar of the 1980s. It was powered by a Rover 4.2-litre V8 engine producing 300bhp and easily managed 155mph.†

SEAC stood for Special Equipment Aramid Composite, simply because Kevlar and carbonfibre were used to build it, or at least to make parts of the bodywork. Now long forgotten, here is an iconic model worth tracking down and preserving for future disbelieving generations.†

So which is your favourite TVR? Did you own one? Did it explode? Tell us below.


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