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Saturday, 28 May, 2016 - 06:46 (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.

1992

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.

1993

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.

1994

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.

1995

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.

1996

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.

1997

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.

1998

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!

1999

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.

     

2000

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!

2001

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.

2002

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.

2004

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!

2005

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!...

2006

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!

       

2007

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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BMW M3 30 Jahre special edition revealed to celebrate M3's 30th
BMW M3 30 Jahre Based on the M3 Competition Package, only 30 examples will be available in the UK, priced at £82,675

The BMW M3 30 Jahre, a limited-edition model heavily based on the M3 Competition Package, has been revealed. It celebrates the 30th anniversary of the M3.

It goes on sale in the summer, with only 30 examples available in the UK, priced at £82,675.

The M3 30 Jahre has the same performance figures as the M3 Competition Package, hitting 62mph from rest in 4.0sec with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while engine output is increased by 19bhp over the standard M3 to 444bhp.

A few visual tweaks distinguish the M3 30 Jahre from the M3 Competition Package. Alongside exclusive Frozen Silver metallic paint, the car features embossed 30 Jahre M3 logos on the front seat headrests, exterior badging on the sides and a logo on the door sill finishers.

Other special features include laser inscription on the carbonfibre interior trim and exclusive black and blue Merino leather upholstery. BMW M Performance additions to the M3 30 Jahre include a rear diffuser, rear spoiler, door mirror caps in carbonfibre and an Alcantara-covered steering wheel and gear selector surround.

Modifications over the standard M3, mirroring those on the M3 Competition Package, include revised suspension with new springs, dampers and anti-roll bars and reconfigured drive modes. The settings of the electronic M differential and stability control system have also been reworked to better match the added performance potential.

Read the BMW M3 Competition Package review

 

Peugeot L500 R Hybrid Concept hints at a more electrified future
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The Peugeot L500 R Hybrid concept has been created to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the French car maker's first win at the Indianapolis 500.

The car has been designed to honour the Charlatans team, which won at the 1916 race event, and takes inspiration from the L45 racer that took part. The L45's success at Indy marked the start of several victories for Peugeot, and stands as a significant part of the manufacturer?s racing history.

Unlike the narrow, tall car it is inspired by, the new concept stands just 1-metre high and weighs 1000kg. It uses a 266bhp petrol engine and two electric motors to produce 493bhp and 538lb ft of torque, enabling it to accelerate from 0 to 62mph in just 2.5sec.

Peugeot says its 2016 concept has been designed to ?be at one with the driver,? and as such it features just one seat. There?s a small steering wheel ? a nod to hot Peugeots of late ? that?s set below two holographic displays.

The car boasts a sleek, futuristic exterior, updating the L45?s look to create a more modern one that stands in today?s increasingly electrified world. The contrasting blue and black colour scheme is a direct reference to the three-time victorious L45.

Matthias Hossann, Peugeot's concept car and technological advance chief said of the new concept: ?With the L500 R Hybrid we're paying tribute to Peugeot racing exploits dating to the early 20th century. Inspired by the spirit of performance and innovation we wanted to convey a sculptural, elegant and technological view of the future of Peugeot motor sport.?

Given its ultra-futuristic look its probably fair to assume the L500 R Hybrid won?t be making production, but its use of a hybrid drivetrain confirms Peugeot?s intentions for an increasingly electrified future for its road and racing cars.

Olivia Frankel

2016 Seat Leon 1.4 EcoTSI FR Titanium review
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2017 BMW M5 - latest spy shots reveal more of its design
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The next-generation BMW M5 has been spotted testing again, revealing significant design features including its large front air intakes and drilled disc brakes.

The new 5 Series flagship is set to offer a choice between rear-wheel drive and optional four-wheel drive for the first time. It is tentatively due to be unveiled at the 2017 Geneva motor show, with a developed version of BMW?stwin-turbocharged  4.4-litre V8 petrol engine under the bonnet.

Click here to read about the 2017 BMW 5 Series

Like the current car, it will use a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, but the engine's peak output is expected to increase from the 552bhp and 502lb ft of torque of today?s model.

Along with the rest of the 5 Series range, the next M5 will feature an evolved design that takes influence from the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé concept of 2013. Photographed development cars confirm it?ll get a more heavily raked rear window and a sloping boot deck, giving it a sleeker profile and more shapely rear end than the current model.

Inside, much of the car?s dash design will resemble that of the new 7 Series, and it'll also get 48-volt electrical architecture to enable advanced autonomous driving systems. A self-steering mode will operate up to a pre-determined speed, and a sophisticated anti-collision system and fully autonomous braking will also be available.

In-car technology will come from BMW?s fifth-generation iDrive system, as used by the new 7 Series. It supports new touchpad and touchscreen functions, allowing passengers to operate features in a similar style to that of a smartphone, with familiar pinch, point and swipe commands, or alternatively via an updated rotary dial mounted on the car?s broad centre console.

Insiders suggest the tech-heavy 2017 M5?s price could increase slightly compared with the current model, so a starting figure of around £75,000 seems likely.

When it arrives, the M5 will rival the next-generation Mercedes-AMG E63, which is also due to be launched in 2017. That car will use the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine from the GT sports car, but with peak power increased to as much as 600bhp.

2017 BMW 5 Series Touring goes testing
Next-generation BMW 5 Series Touring will do battle with Audi's A6 Avant and Jaguar's XF Sportbrake when it goes on sale in mid-2017

The next-generation BMW 5 Series Touring has been spotted testing ahead of its planned arrival towards the middle of 2017.

Set to go on sale around three months after the 5 Series saloon arrives in dealerships earlier in the year, the 5 Series Touring will rival the likes of the Audi A6 Avant, Jaguar XF Sportbrake, Volvo V90 and the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class estate.

Read more - 2017 BMW 5 Series saloon spotted testing

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As is traditional, BMW is expected to improve on the load space offered by the current 5 Series Touring, which offers 560 litres with the rear seats in place, rising to 1670 litres with them folded away.

Engines for the Touring will be shared with the 5 Series saloon, and will include a core range of four and six-cylinder powertrains from launch. A family of common 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre petrol and diesel units will feature, as well as a successor to the current tri-turbo 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel. That engine is a new quad-turbocharged six-cylinder unit destined for use in the firm's high-end models, and is said to develop well over 400bhp and 590lb ft.

A newly developed V8 engine will also be offered in some markets, although it's not known whether that engine will be offered in the UK.

Also available will be a BMW 5 Series Touring Hybrid model, pairing a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor, to produce a combined output of 242bhp and 295lb ft. That set-up has already been driven by Autocar in the 3 Series eDrive.

Later in the car's life cycle, BMW could also give the Touring its new 1.5-litre petrol and diesel turbocharged three-cylinder engines, helping the German manufacturer to counter increasingly strict European emissions legislation. Both petrol and diesel versions of the three-cylinder engines are being tested in combination with electric motors.

Gearbox options will include a six-speed manual and nine-speed automatic transmission.

The seventh-generation BMW 5 Series is based on a sophisticated new platform known internally as OKL (meaning Oberklasse, or 'luxury class'). Various iterations of the new platform will be seen in future generations of the X5, X6 and also the upcoming X7.

As it plans to with the saloon, BMW will be looking to drop the kerb weight of the 5 Series Touring below the 1785kg of today's 520i SE.

While the 5 Series saloon range will be crowned by the 600bhp M5, which gets a further developed version of the 4.4-litre V8 motor used by today's car, there are currently no plans to produce a touring version of the M5.

Read more:

2017 BMW 5 Series saloon - everything you need to know

2017 BMW M5 spotted for the first time

       

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