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...
You can get a saving of £4795 on a top-spec Skoda Superb estate.
We pick five of the best deals on this week?s new car market; all deals are valid until 30 March
Buying a new car is always better when you know you're getting a bargain, but scouring the internet for the best deals can be time-consuming. So Autocar has done the hard work for you and compiled a list of some of the best savings on the new car market.
We've found combined savings of £23,708 on the five cars featured below, so take a look, then click the links to read our full road test verdict on each model. All offers are valid until 30 March.
The next 5 Series Touring is coming†soon, so incredible deals like this one can be had on the outgoing large estate. Despite its imminent replacement, the previous-generation 5 Series Touring is still hugely capable.†
Pay £8055 less than list price on the BMW 535d†Touring†M Sport Step Auto with Whatcar.com. You pay £43,215.
Is the 5 Series a little beyond your budget? You can also grab a decent deal on the Ford Mondeo Estate in high-spec Titanium form. It's got a similar level of practicality and is around half the price of the 5 Series, just without some of the bells and whistles.
Get a £4465 saving over list price from Carfile.net on the Ford Mondeo Estate 2.0 TDCi 180 Titanium [X Pack], bringing the price you pay down to £25,380.
Yes, another estate car deal, but this one is hard to ignore. We give the Skoda Superb Estate a four-and-a-half-star rating, and the Laurin & Klement trim level - top spec - means you'll get all the kit you'll ever need, and more.†
Save £4795 off the list price of the Skoda Superb†Estate†2.0 TDI CR Laurin & Klement DSG with Carfile.net. Price you pay: £27,815.
Peugeot had a good day a few weeks ago. First it bought Vauxhall and Opel ? assuming you think them worth having, and I guess Peugeot?s owner, PSA Group, does, given that it has just paid ?2.2 billion for them ? and then the 3008 became the Car of the Year for 2017.
The Car of the Year (CotY) shindig is the result of votes from 58 jurors, all senior European motoring hacks (I?m one of them and this august publication is one of seven sponsoring titles), who vote every March for what they reckon is the best new car launched in the preceding 12 months.
A longlist of all eligible cars is published around October and that is reduced to a shortlist of seven at the turn of the year. The cars are then tested back to back. Most jurors do that in France, but UK jurors opt to drive them on British roads. Silverstone circuit kindly finds us space for the cars and somewhere to†have an argument about which of the seven is the best.
Then we all go off and vote how we want, and the winner is announced on the eve of the Geneva motor show.
The way the scoring works is a little complicated. One UK-based PR executive said he tells his Japanese bosses that it?s a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest.
Each juror gets 25 points to allocate. They can score no car with more than 10, give no equal first places, and must give points to at least five cars. It is a bit of a committee-style process that usually ends up with a worthy, uncontroversial winner, if not necessarily a particularly exciting one, Porsche 928 aside. A couple of years ago, the Peugeot 308 won it over the Tesla Model S and BMW i3, for example; and last year the Vauxhall Astra pipped the Volvo XC90 and Mazda MX-5.
The 3008 is a decent car. It?s the best Peugeot in a long time, with an interesting interior, funky design and good functionality. It?s okay to drive,†too, albeit some variants have a slightly brittle ride. And I?m glad the CotY judges have realised that people buy crossovers: it?s the first such car to win Car of the Year.
It wasn?t one of the five cars I gave points to, mind. In increasing proportions, I gave some to the C3, which is again funky, but better to drive than I?d expected; the Micra, which is everything a supermini should be except in price; the S90, the jib of which I like the cut of, and the E-Class, which brings a new kind of comfort and luxury to its class.
I awarded the most points to the Giulia. It is a flawed car, granted, but one that, even in cooking diesel form, is interesting, exciting and fun to drive like no other compact executive car. It?s a slightly enthusiast choice for this contest, perhaps, but I gave it only a couple more points than the E-Class, which is the car that, strictly objectively, I felt ?ought? to have won, because it brings more to its class than any of the others do to theirs.
So there you go: the 3008. Not the bravest choice for Car of the Year, perhaps, but not a bad one.
We?ve been piling on the miles in our Audi SQ7, mostly thanks to a trip to see family in Coburg, Germany.
It speaks volumes of how much I?d already enjoyed the SQ7 that I was relishing the 1300-mile round trip, and it didn?t disappoint. That monstrous torque, that loping suspension, that high seating position, that refinement, that sound system? they all made big miles seem small, and the other half and I loved every minute. It even did more than 30mpg when we weren?t using the autobahn to sample its top-end performance, which is startling for such a behomoth. The SQ7 is always stable, always slick, always in its comfort zone, always rampantly fast.
Interior space was a boon, too, with plenty of space for our luggage, or ? as one random occasion required in Germany ? a bale of hay for the sheep.
The sheep-feeding trip also took the SQ7 down a farm track that was covered in soft, tractor-churned mud beneath its leaf cover. The Audi?s quattro drive and raised Off Road setting came into play and it clawed its way along what proved to be a very low-traction surface. I?m not saying it?s a Land Rover Defender, but it did dig itself out of the occasional dodgy, axle-meets-mud moment with impressive surefootedness, even on road-biased tyres.
The whole trip proved how broad the SQ7?s talents are, to balance excitement and autobahn effortlessness so brilliantly and then turn farm vehicle and mobile entertainment unit when required.
The more miles I do, the more I struggle to find criticism of the SQ7. Maybe among the short local trips and jaunts down the M3 to Dorset I?ll be doing regularly for the next few months, I?ll find something to be annoyed with and won?t be so gushing in my next update. Or maybe not.†
Price £70,970 Price as tested £95,160 Economy 30.1mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 30.11.16
If you can afford the depreciation on a new, mid-spec supermini costing around £16,500, you can afford to run a used, 65,000- mile 2007-reg BMW M5 at the same price.
Granted, when they come, the M5?s bills will knock you flat on your back but you?ll soon be on your feet, propelled by the desire to re-experience that Formula 1-inspired 5.0-litre V10, whose 389bhp ? rising to 493bhp when you press the M (or Power) button ? is directed to the rear wheels through a quick-changing, seven-speed, sequential manual gearbox (SMG).
Granted, this best-selling M5, codenamed E60 ? there was an E61 Touring version, too ? hasn?t the charisma of its V8 predecessor, the E39, and prices still have a way to fall. There are some nasties to watch out for, in particular its fondness for clutches, its appetite for fuel brought into focus by a 70-litre fuel tank that means you?ll be stopping every 200 miles to open your wallet, and its general high-cost ways (mechanics call this the ?M tax?).
But this M5 is still a spectacular way to travel and sooner or later prices will find their level, the best cars will firm up and those who know will talk of it as a ?future classic?.
It was launched in 2005, costing £61,750 in standard form. Standard? It had 19in alloy wheels, sports suspension, gearchange paddles, a head-up display, a sat-nav, leather trim, quad pipes? we?ll stop there. More important, it had gadgets: that Power button, launch control and 11 shift modes for the SMG ?box (the fastest is seriously hard on the already overworked clutch).
The M5 was facelifted in 2007, a move that coincided with the arrival of the E61 Touring version that already incorporated the new mods. Changes included adaptive cornering lights, larger headrests and visual tweaks (daytime running lights, and LED indicators and tail-lights). Crucially, the SMG transmission gained upgraded pumps and hardware, too. Facelifted cars were released in batches over 12 months, so it?s not unusual to encounter a late-2007 M5 that is actually a pre-facelift model.
All M5s require careful buying and this E60 is no exception, so drive as many as you can. Research the M button and that 11-mode shift system, and don?t be shy about exploring the many performance permutations. An owner who won?t let you try the M button in the most extreme S6 P500S shift mode is probably terrified that you?ll expose his car?s brutalised clutch and clonky diff.
Check not only tyre wear but also whether the rubber is budget or premium, and test his knowledge of engine oils. Castrol Edge 10W60 should have been its only tipple.
Prices are all over the place but you shouldn?t have to pay more than £16,000 for a 2007-reg low-miler. Towards £24,000 is where the best late-plate BMW Approved Used cars are, before the first of the next-gen F10 M5s hove into view.†
An expert?s view...
SEAN MURPHY, IRIDIUM
?I owned an E60 M5 and had a very bad experience with it. It had done 130,000 miles without problems and then all hell broke out. Granted, some was accidental stuff like a wing mirror being knocked off (£1000), but it went through three iDrive controllers and two throttle actuators (there are two at £600 each). It also needed a new clutch. Parts aren?t cheap. I was unlucky with mine, though, because generally the E60 is reliable and will do high mileages with ease ? and it has the best-sounding BMW engine ever.?
Conrod bearings can give trouble if oil changes are skimped. Check for a Vanos warning light: it could be an oil pressure issue involving the sump-tohead hose or the Vanos pump (£1600) rather than the Vanos unit. Throttle actuators can play up. Expect oil consumption of around one litre per 1000 miles. Check if the expensive main service is due and negotiate if so.
SMG 3 gearbox, fitted to later cars, is more reliable than the SMG 2 but the single-clutch weak point remains. The clutch lasts about 50,000 miles. The ?box is clunky around town but should be clean and quick at speed. Early cars were recalled to replace the SMG pump.
It?s naturally noisy at low speeds and when turning but whining, grinding and clunking are not good. Check for a slight oil weep (£30 each for seals).
Expect around 30k miles from discs. If the disc has a lip, replace. A brake fluid change is needed every two years.
STEERING AND SUSPENSION
Generally tough but feel for steering column vibration or knocking, which points to worn control arms. The optional EDC suspension is reliable but a damper is £600 if it goes wrong.
If the system freezes on the BMW logo start-up page, suspect the harddrive. Budget £700 for an exchange system or have the ECU and computers updated with the latest software.
Also worth knowing...
BMW has issued two technical bulletins (grinding noises from the rear diff when cornering at low speeds, and preventative maintenance for the sunroof). Safety recalls include one issued in September 2013 for a faulty fuel filter heater that could cause a fire.
How much to spend?
Early 2005-2008 cars with more than 100k miles but full service history (fsh) and major new parts.
Circa 100k-mile 2005-2007 fsh cars.
Cars on 05-08-plates at 70k-90k miles.
Still 05-08-plate cars but with about 50k-70k miles.
Facelifted 07-08-reg cars with up to 60k miles, plus some earlier cars at optimistic prices.
Most expensive 08-10-reg cars with fsh, including some BMW Approved Used.
McLaren has released a series of parts and accessories for its Sports Series models, the 540C, 570S and 570GT.
The carbonfibre pieces are designed to protect the cars as well as offer more personalisation options to owners.
Trim pieces for both the interior and exterior of the models are available, as well as floor mats, car covers and skidplates for the front diffuser. Coloured seatbelts and new alloy wheel designs add to the aesthetic options.