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Thursday, 8 December, 2016 - 18:05 (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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Maxing a Porsche 911 Turbo S at Nardo
Maxing a 911 Turbo S at Nardo We grab the rare opportunity to lap the iconic Nardo test track in Italy

What top speed makes a car properly fast these days? While 150mph was the preserve of the very swiftest of sports cars when I was growing up, most of today's hotter hatchbacks will now hit that figure. So 170mph? In 2016, that?s Porsche Boxster territory.

What about the double-tonne? Two hundred miles an hour still seems like a crazy figure to me, one that is only really achievable in a handful of places within the UK by a tiny number of cars.

Thankfully, Porsche has a couple of things that make hitting that figure a lot easier. One of those is the 911 Turbo S and the other is a place called Nardo. Does the name ring a bell? Think Jaguar XJ220, RUF Yellowbird and chasing absolute top speed.

If you don?t yet hear any jingling, Nardo is a test facility located in the heel of Italy (geography was never my strong point) that has various tracks to allow manufacturers to thoroughly thrash their cars before a buying customer ever sees their prospective purchase in the metal.

Originally opened by Fiat in 1975, it was purchased by Porsche in 2012. There?s an FIA-approved handling circuit, skidpans, vicious bumps and plenty of other fun stuff. The big draw, however, is a 7.8-mile banked bowl that has been the venue for the breaking of all manner of speed and endurance records over its 41-year history.

For me, it?s a personal record I?m hoping to shatter: the fastest speed I?ve travelled in a car. Although I won?t be driving (probably for the best), I?ll be in the expert hands of Michael, a Porsche driving trainer. As we head calmly towards the entrance to the track, I wonder if the yellow 911 Turbo S will manage to get near its claimed 205mph top speed.

Entering the track, Michael welds his right foot to the floor and the 911 rockets forward. Even after an extended stint in a Carrera 4S, the Turbo S feels other-worldly fast as it munches hungrily through the first few gears. As the speedo hits 200km/h (124mph), Michael throws the Turbo S into a couple of violent lane changes to highlight just how stable it is at autobahn cruising speeds.

Demonstration over, the throttle pedal is pinned to the stops once more as the world goes into hyperdrive. While the scenery flashes past ever faster, my eyes are glued to the digital speed readout once more, quickly trying to convert km/h to mph.

We?re up to 300km/h without too much difficulty but I know the acceleration will be blunted heavily from here. Even so, it doesn?t take long to get up to an indicated 322km/h ? 200mph in old money. Surely, Michael will be backing off soon?

To my delight, he keeps his foot down, the display climbing slowly but surely past 330km/h and up to an astonishing 340km/h. Back in the pits, I punch the number into Google to find that we?d been doing 211mph. Even accounting for the speedo over-reading, that?s got to be an easy 200mph, right? Either way, I?m busting for another double-tonne run, preferably with me behind the wheel.

Updated Elemental RP1 road car produces 1000kg of downforce
Updated Elemental RP1 road car produces 1000kg of downforce Ex-McLaren Formula 1 designer worked with Elemental to produce new aerodynamic pack that more than doubles downforce

The Elemental RP1 now produces 1000kg of downforce thanks to new bodywork developed in conjunction with ex-McLaren Formula 1 aerodynamicist Mark Taylor.

The updates come in the form of an aerodynamic pack, which more than double the RP1?s downforce at 150mph from 400kg to 1000kg. The McLaren P1, by comparison, produces 600kg at 161mph.

?When Elemental asked me to take a look at the car straight away I could see there was said bags of potential,? said Taylor, who is now founder and managing director of London Computational Solutions. ?I could see that it would be easy to double the 400kg figure.?

Taylor worked with Mark Fowler, aerodynamics director for Elemental, using computational fluid (CFD) to test all aspects of the car?s aero package. The technique is used by F1 teams, and enabled them to test and develop the car?s aerodynamic package in significantly less time than before.

?What people using CFD typically do is model equations, but we don?t model the turbulence, we resolve it,? explained Taylor. ?Because of that we get a much more realistic flow that?s much closer to the real thing. It?s a more expensive option as you have to use bigger supercomputers but it means we?re faster.?

Fowler explained that the resulting efficiency meant several iterations of the same design could be produced and improved in a short space of time. ?It?s what we did back in Formula 1,? he said.

The RP1?s new aerodynamic updates include a more aggressively raked rear wing, bigger lower splitters and a different diffuser. ?The RP1 was designed from the outset to use underfloor aerodynamics, so we were able to investigate, model and analyse many different variants and options to a far greater fidelity and accuracy than has been done anywhere before,? continued Taylor.

Despite the high levels of downforce on offer, Taylor said that the car is well balanced and predictable so a driver of any level can drive it. ?The rear wing is lightly loaded, the diffsuer is beautifully balanced and the downforce is well spread,? he said. ?This car has been designed to be well behaved, a car people can be confident in.?

The new aerodynamic package doesn?t include engine upgrades, so the latest RP1 still comes with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 320bhp and 332lb ft of torque. 0-60mph takes an estimated 2.8sec.

Elemental delivered its first customer RP1 earlier this month.

Bugatti Chiron production stepped up to meet demand
Bugatti Chiron With over 200 orders now placed, production is being ramped up next year in order to bring the waiting time down from the current three years

Bugatti Chiron production is being stepped up next year as the waiting list for new orders has eclipsed more than three years before any customers have even test driven the new hypercar.

The Bugatti Veyron replacement was unveiled at the 2016 Geneva motor show and more than 200 orders have now been placed. The Chiron has 1479bhp, can reach 62mph in less than 2.5sec - despite weighing 1995kg - and has a maximum top speed of 261mph. It costs ?2.4 million (about £2.0 million) plus taxes.

?Demand has been incredible and these are not the kind of customers who like to wait too long for a new car,? said Bugatti boss Wolfgang Durheimer. ?We will step production up next year to bring the wait down, but there is only so much we can do - traditionally we have manufactured one car a week, next year the total for the year will be around 65.?

Drives for potential customers will begin next March, and Durheimer anticipates the full production run of 500 standard Chirons selling out shortly afterwards. ?We have many prospects who are keen to know more and wavering on putting down a deposit - my feeling is that after driving the car most will buy one.?

The largest order of Chirons by a single individual remains six, for a customer who was buying a car for himself and as gifts for other members of his family. Durheimer stressed that even in such circumstances the company cannot offer a discount, reasoning that it will sell the cars at full price regardless.

Durheimer also played down talk of a second Bugatti model line. The firm has investigated several concepts in recent years, including showing the Bugatti Galibier saloon concept, but the fallout from the VW Dieselgate crisis and the new focus on investing in electric cars has reportedly made the business case for fringe products harder to justify.

2016 Vauxhall Adam 1.0i Turbo Unlimited review
2016 Vauxhall Adam 1.0i Turbo Unlimited The 1.0-litre turbo engine and Unlimited trim combine to make this the best Adam in the line-up What do a Vauxhall Adam and a Ferrari Enzo have in common? Unfortunately, the answer isn?t a 6.0-litre V12. It?s that both cars are named after their founders, sort of. Naturally, Vauxhall?s entry into the style-led supermini class is sold in mainland Europe as an Opel, a company founded by a chap called Adam.To draw in the kind of fashionistas that like to see their new car as a blank canvas, Unlimited trim allows you to pick from any of the dizzying array of personalisation options on offer, avoiding the limitations that other variants have. That means you can pick your body, roof, mirror cap and grille bar colour; choose the wheel size and design; add external decals; and pick seat fabric and dashboard inserts. You still have to pay extra for most of that, though.Mechanically, it?s exactly as before. In the case of our test car, there?s a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine bolted to a six-speed manual gearbox. Cheaper, naturally aspirated 1.4s and 1.2s are also on offer, should you not require all 113bhp of three-pot fury. 

Hot Lamborghini Aventador S on the way
New Lamborghini Aventador

Lamborghini's current Aventador (pictured) will be replaced in January, and the new car will gain an Aventador S variant
An invite to the launch of the next Lamborghini Aventador confirms the model?s existence ? there?s an even hotter one on the way too

An even hotter Lamborghini Aventador called the Aventador S is on the cards, according to recent patent applications discovered by Autocar.

This follows an invite to Autocar, which confirms the facelifted Aventador will launch in January next year.

Although no pictures have been provided of the car with the invitation, the text does describe the updates to the car, which has been given ?new design, superior power and a mix of advanced technologies?.

The Aventador is approaching the middle of its life cycle, having been introduced in 2011, so the styling changes are likely to be a thorough refresh, as opposed to a complete overhaul.

The new Aventador?s launch will take place at the Ricardo Tormo Formula 1 track, where the car?s ?active technology? can be experienced. This suggests a new raft of driver aids, although a Lamborghini spokesman couldn?t add any detail to what would feature on the new model.

The Aventador S is likely to receive a state of tune akin to the Centenario ? 759bhp, while the current Aventador has 691bhp, both from the same 6.5-litre V12. It's also likely that the Aventador S will inherit the Centenario's four-wheel steering system, and receive more extreme front and rear exterior design.

Lamborghini recently abandoned its numerical suffixes on its models, starting with the Huracán rear-wheel drive convertible, which drops the roof of the Huracán LP580-2. It?s expected that this will complete a three-tier model family for the Aventador, made up of the base Aventador, Aventador S and Aventador SV.


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