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...
It was a stray dog hair in the cabin that made me realise the XF had been put to good use.
As I wound down for a break, I?d handed? the key to resident road tester Alan Taylor-Jones, who needed a comfortable car in which to transport his family ? including Sprocket the dog ? around the country.
As payback, Alan agreed to deliver some observations on the XF, and I?m pleased that he returned as impressed as I have been with ?the XF?s ability as a comfortable consumer of miles, bar a couple of minor quibbles.
Wet roads provide a reminder of the V6?s fruitiness. Alan notes that when you are driving ?in Normal mode and squeeze the accelerator to pull away from a standstill, there?s a slight lag before the power is delivered, a trait that?s not uncommon in automatics. When the power does arrive, boy does it arrive in a hurry, and Alan reports that ?it is possible to overwhelm the rear tyres when the road surface is greasy?.
Over 6000 or so miles, I?ve learned to anticipate that slight lag, particularly when pulling out at busy junctions and roundabouts. Indeed, applying a large clog of accelerator from a standstill can? be fun in the right circumstances, although perhaps not when elderly relatives are being ferried around.
Alan had to lower the folding rear seats during various trips. He reckons proper handles with which to fold the seats are ?a nice idea? but feels pulling the handles should do more than merely release the seats from their lockings. ?You still need to pull the seats down, which is annoying,? he says.
Overall, though, the Jaguar?s combination of comfort when you need it and decent performance if you want it really is a gift that keeps on giving.
I jumped at the offer of the Jaguar XF for a weekend, before realising what my Friday night had in store for me: yet another trip to Ikea.
Plenty of questions were fired at the XF?s guardian, Matt Burt, all asking about the car?s practicality. From memory, the Jaguar didn?t have the rear space and access of many cars out there, not least my current long-termer, the very different Seat Ateca, but the Jaguar?s spec sheet lists the boot as being 30 litres larger than the Seat?s, at 540 litres.
So, armed with a tape measure, I wandered over to our car park one lunchtime to scope the boot out for myself. I was quickly reminded how limiting the boot aperture is, and then there was the mystery of how to fold down the rear seats. Eventually, I gave in and read the manual, which directed me to two (almost hidden) yellow levers in the roof of the boot. Bear in mind, too, that while our XF has the 60/40-split rear seats as standard, that?s not the case on the car?s two lower trims; they cost £420 extra. That might not sit well with some buyers, but it?s a similar scenario with the BMW 5 Series.
How did we fare at Ikea? It was a sedate spending spree, but the XF handled the job in fine style, easily swallowing a sizeable mirror and various household fripperies. RB
Seat Cupra R on on display at Frankfurt Motor Show 2017
Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up this week's gossip from across the automotive industry
Respect your elders, they say, and so it was that Autocar (founded 1895) was forced to defer to Mercedes-Benz (founded 1883, depending on how you read history) boss Dieter Zetsche (substantially younger than both) when he visited the BMW stand at the end of the Frankfurt motor show press day.
Alas, our interview with BMW R&D boss Klaus Fro?hlich was cut short so Zetsche could have a tour of the BMW i Vision Dynamics concept, his thoughts on which remain unrecorded.
How do you make a splash at the Frankfurt motor show when your company doesn?t have a stand? McLaren tried parking a 570S Spider outside the BMW hall, but Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer and his team took unsubtle to new levels when they decided, quite literally, to fly the flag for the UK manufacturer.
?I do not listen to rap music,? Bentley boss Wolfgang Du?rheimer proclaimed to a bunch of amused journalists at the show. His son does, though, he explained, and his son recently told him rappers own Bentleys. Du?rheimer?s point was that its customer base varies around the world and Bentley cars are aspirational to rappers as much as older clientele.
Seat still hasn't confirmed Cupra as a sub-brand but boss Luca de Meo dropped the biggest hint yet: ?We will be more precise [at the] Geneva [motor show]. Talk to us then.? He said Cupra gives another dimension to the Seat brand and it wanted to develop a whole range of Cupra models.
Like the regular Panamera, the range-topping Sport Turismo mates a turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine that produces 542bhp to a 134bhp electric motor.
Combined, the system outputs a maximum of 671bhp and 627lb ft and enables the all-wheel drive estate to hit 62mph in 3.4sec ? 1.4sec quicker than the regular E-Hybrid model.
The car, which produces its maximum torque from just 1400rpm, can also hit 124mph in 11.9sec, which is just one second slower than the 911 GT3 RS can manage. Top speed is 192mph.
The all-wheel drive Turbo S E-Hybrid uses an eight-speed automatic gearbox and offers a claimed 97mpg according to the NEDC test.
It uses a 14.1kWh lithium-ion battery that can be recharged in 2.4 to 6 hours, depending on the power outlet it?s connected to. It can run in full EV mode for up to 31 miles with a top speed of 87mph.
The fitment of the battery into the car?s floor has removed 95 litres of storage space from the boot, but the figure still stands at 425 litres. The rear bench holds space for two adults and a child, and can be folded electronically in a 40:20:40 split.
As standard, the Sport Turismo Turbo S E-Hybrid gets 21in alloy wheels, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control and torque vectoring technology. There?s also a rear limited slip differential and ceramic composite brakes, as well as adaptive three-chamber air suspension with Porsche?s Active Suspension Management system.
Hyundai i30 N 2018 review
We get behind the wheel of Hyundai's first crack at a hot hatchback, and the i30 N doesn't disappoint
The i30 N is the first hot hatch from a marque with a full works entry in the World Rally Championship, and therefore something to be taken very seriously indeed. That Hyundai?s aim has been to cram in as much performance for the least possible cost to buyers should also have your ears pricked up.Why now? Well, the brand is on something of a roll, recording an 87 percent increase in European sales in the last five years. To build on that success and translate rally podiums into profit, it?s now launching a new performance arm ? N.Enter Albert Biermann, long-time boss of BMW?s performance arm ? M. He?s the type of man who expects the ?ESC off? button in a car to actually mean ?off? (in the i30 N, it does) and yet recognises that in 2017 a five-door hot hatch needs to be useable to be a hit in showrooms. This machine is very much his baby, and the German?s presence is a major reason for optimism about its ability to entertain.The fundamental i30 N package is nothing out of the ordinary ? it?s a five-door hatch with a turbocharged DOHC 2.0-litre in-line four driving the front wheels. What is rather unusual is the level of hardware on offer for modest outlay, with the £24,995 base model getting 247bhp, an electronic limited-slip differential and three-way adaptive suspension. An optional Performance Package sees those figures increase to £27,995 and 271bhp.As for pace, the standard car hits 62mph from rest in 6.4 seconds while the Performance model shaves 0.3 seconds from that time. Both will hit 155mph and manage around 40mpg combined, says Hyundai.The five-door bodyshell is the same as that used for the standard i30, Hyundai claiming it to be already adequately stiff (the N gets underbody strut braces, nevertheless). Wider wheelarches have been grafted on and the N-car sits up to 8mm lower.Aggressive bumpers with deep intakes at the front, a red pin-stripe on the splitter and a triangular brake light sat within the gloss-black rear spoiler are other identifiers, though perhaps none are as conspicuous as the N?s rather lovely, and unique, signature colour ? Performance Blue. There?s also a choice of 18in wheels (shod in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres) or 19in options (bespoke Pirelli P Zero).Components for the car?s upgraded brakes, fettled engine, toughened-up six-speed gearbox, reinforced clutch and sophisticated suspension are all either built in-house or supplied by Korean firms with whom Hyundai has a close relationship. It might have been developed at the Nürburgring, but the i30 N?s physical form is refreshingly home-grown, and that?s helped it undercut the competition.The car is also highly configurable, with settings for the e-differential, engine map, exhaust, suspension, steering and ESC. All in all, there are 1944 combinations, though by default they?re grouped into Eco, Normal, Sport and a hardcore N mode. There?s also an N Custom mode, with which you can deploy your favourite settings at the touch of a button. Inside, the i30 N gets either a 5in display atop the dash or an optional 8in unit. You get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as readouts for power, torque, turbo boost pressure, lap times and ? sure to go down well with the local constabulary ? acceleration. Performance Pack models also get a removable brace that stretches across the boot floor ? how about that for intent?
Alpina B4 S 2017 UK review
Our first UK drive in Alpina?s more potent sports coupé emphasises the breadth of ability on offer from this Bavarian alternative
If you?re in the market for a fast, luxurious coupé with more than 400bhp, you?ve likely considered the Mercedes-AMG C63, Audi RS5 and BMW M4. But for a touch of added exclusivity, you might want to consider an Alpina B4 S Biturbo.The B4 S, which supersedes the old B4, is based on the same straight-six-powered platform as the M4, which has undergone extensive technical and aesthetic adjustments, as per Alpina?s traditions. It means the car is a more potent but less focused alternative to its BMW counterpart.Under its svelte bonnet is a 3.0-litre six based on the N55 block of the M3/M4, but it uses twin turbochargers that are 10% larger, a water-cooling system that?s 20% bigger and an uprated oil cooler with 35% more capacity. The engine spins a lighter crank that?s made from forged steel.Maximum power output for the Alpina-fettled N55 peaks at 434bhp at 5500-6250rpm and torque reaches 487lb ft at 3000rpm. Those figures are 9bhp and 81lb ft more than the M4, although the B4 S, which only comes with an eight-speed automatic, is 90kg heavier than the auto BMW. Still, that added torque helps the Alpina to accelerate from zero to 62mph in 4.2sec, a tenth quicker than the M4.Under the bonnet is where the technical improvements for the B4 S over the B4 end, though: Alpina has stuck with the same suspension settings, meaning it sits on slightly less aggressive springs and dampers than its cousin from BMW's M division.As before, the B4 S gets BMW Professional infotainment as standard, which adds a widescreen sat-nav and all-round parking sensors. The car?s seats also come wrapped in Dakota leather at no extra cost, although the car you see here features Merino leather, a £1285 option.