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...
There is no near end in sight for the latest implementation of Operation Stack according to Kent Police, meaning the delays could go beyond the weekend.
Operation Stack has been in force for 24 of the last 40 days, and Kent Police has warned that it will continue until the weekend at the very least.
The road closures could go on even longer, with a spokesman for Highways England saying: ?It is very hard to put an end on this.?
The closures are a result of a combination of industrial action in Calais and a high level of migrants at the port. Due to the high volume of traffic and the Channel Tunnel not running at full capacity, the M20 motorway is currently closed from junctions 8-11 coastbound and from 9-8 on the London-bound carriageway, with freight transport parked up on the motorway.
This has had a knock-on effect for local businesses, with traffic heading down local roads such as the A20, A2, or M2 as well as smaller roads through nearby towns and villages.
?I don?t think we have had Operation Stack implemented as often as we have had this summer,? said the Highways England spokesman.
According to Jo James, chief executive of the Kent Chamber of Commerce, this has had a significant impact on local businesses. ?The roads are totally congested and with the motorway shut all traffic has to go onto other roads,? she said.
?People aren?t able to get to businesses - we?re good producers in Kent, and there are lots of time-dependent goods on the road. If you are exporting goods then shelf life of goods goes down if you are stuck in the Stack.?
However, she hopes that the national focus on the issue might lead to a solution, saying: ?In some ways it is good it has been this bad, as now it is on the national agenda. In the past the Government has seen it as a Kent problem.?
The current solution of parking lorries on the motorway cannot remain the long-term solution, according to the AA's Paul Watters. ?It isn?t really an appropriate use for a motorway - they are strategic routes, especially for a port,? he said.
Peter Cullum, head of international affairs at the Road Haulage Association, agreed, saying: ?Stack was a solution created for a problem of a few years ago, but the traffic is now getting to a limit.?
However, Cullum reckons that there is no single alternative to Operation Stack, saying: ?Kent County Council are looking at alternative parking but the problem is that the Stack moves constantly. A truck park won?t help. It is the shuttling forward of traffic that causes the complexity - the Stack zone is not a static holding area, but a moving flow of traffic.?
According to Highways England there are plans in place for an alternative plan, with a spokesman saying: ?There is a task force being led by the county council. We could build a new lorry park or repurpose some disused land to hold freight traffic, so that we don't have to close the M20.?
Despite the high volume of traffic backed up at Dover, the advice is not to seek alternative methods of crossing to the continent. Highways England says that it is still possible to continue with existing plans.
?The advice is to check before you travel with your service provider and see if there are any delays to the service, and to check the roads. The A2 and M2 are busy but flowing and we have been reporting delays of around 40 minutes,? said a spokesman. ?I don?t think it is necessary to seek alternative crossings.?
The news that Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council is considering handing out fines to drivers whom it deems to be making ?excessive? noise is more than a little worrying.
For a start, although the penalties and offences which can lead to a fine have been set out in great detail, very little has been said about how the rules will be enforced.
Remember, the proposed legislation means you can be handed with a £100 fine if you?re deemed to be making too much noise, either by revving your engine or by sounding your horn, as well as driving in convoy, racing or obstructing the road.
These are all valid points, let?s be clear on that. For the residents of Kensington and Chelsea, the nightly serenade of horsepower must be getting tiresome, but I can?t help but think this is going to lead to a kind of racial profiling for cars.
You just have to look at the language chosen by Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council head Nick Paget-Brown in his Guardian column today for evidence of this. In it, he says: ?I know the joy of taking my wheels for a ride on a summer?s evening ? but my Honda Jazz and Elgar CD are barely audible even at the kerbside.
So there you go - if you own a model from those named brands in that area, prepare to come under extra scrutiny if the plan goes forward. We all know that regular cars can be modified to be louder than most supercars, but it?s the big-name badges the council seems to be on the warpath against.
There?s also no mention made in the council?s proposal about how the limits of ?excessive? engine revving will be monitored. Who sets the limit, and to what? Is 6000rpm going to be a blanket rule? And what about motorbikes? You're effectively going to need to set an upper rev limit for every model.
The issue of what happens to repeat offenders also hasn't been made clear - although Paget-Brown does say in his column that "they might just find their cars being seized by police."
Let?s also not forget that legislation already exists to limit the noises made by cars. The Road Vehicles Regulations act of 1986 states that ?No motor vehicle shall be used on a road in such manner as to cause any excessive noise which could have been avoided by the exercise of reasonable care on the part of the driver.?
Of course, these may be a perfectly sensible set of proposals by the time they're put into force, but in these early days of consultation I think the council may have gone too far. Threatening the car community with fines is unlikely to solve the problem, not least because for the kinds of people driving the majority of these cars, a few £100 fines are unlikely to trouble their bank managers.
These are the latest spy pictures of the new Honda Civic, which has been spotted testing ahead of a planned launch in the UK in late 2017.
These pictures offer a closer look at the Civic's all-new space-efficient interior, with an updated instrument cluster and dashboard design seen here, along with a button for heated rear seats and a blind-spot protection camera.
New headlights can also been in these shots, and look similar to the LED headlights featured in the Honda Civic coupé concept at the New York motor show back in April which previewed the new Civic.
The next-generation Civic is based on a new global platform which will also yield a five-door hatch and new Type R, as well as the four-door saloon spotted here.
Although it has yet to be confirmed by Honda, a new Tourer version is also likely to join the range.
Currently in development in Japan, the US and UK, Honda UK boss Philip Crossman has already hinted that a hybrid version will be offered on the next-generation Civic. Speaking to Autocar at the New York motor show, he said: ?We?ll come back with a class-leading hybrid powertrain in the next five years,? said Crossman, ?and it?s likely to make as much impact as the VTEC valve system.?
Crossman admitted that Honda has fallen behind with hybrids, despite being the first manufacturer to launch one, with the Insight coupé.
Honda?s Swindon plant will build the five-door Civic for all markets around the world, including the US and Asia, where demand for the hatchback version is rising.
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:
It will take the form of what well-placed insiders describe as a ?production-relevant zero-emissions concept?. It is currently undergoing the final stages of construction at the company?s Ingolstadt engineering headquarters. The pictures emerged on German site Auto Motor und Sport.
The high-riding five-seater is known under the internal codename ?C-BEV? and was initially hinted at during Audi?s 2015 annual accounts press conference in April. This electric SUV has been conceived as a direct rival to the all-electric Tesla Model X in an engineering programme instigated by the company?s head of research and development, Ulrich Hackenberg.
The C-BEV is claimed to provide clues to an upcoming Q6 SUV model. An initial concept of the C-BEV will be unveiled at the upcoming Frankfurt motor show, prior to ?a planned start to sales in key global markets during the second half of 2018?.
The basis for the new battery-powered SUV, which is claimed to have a range of ?at least 500km [311 miles]?, is the latest version of Audi?s MLB platform, as used by the recently introduced second-generation Q7.
Sources involved in the development of the C-BEV confirm that it shares elements of its electric powertrain, including its motor and battery technology, with the latest evolution of the R8 e-tron.
However, unlike the R8 e-tron, which has two rear-mounted electric motors, each driving a rear wheel, the new SUV has three electric motors. One of these is sited within the gearbox, while the other two are mounted on the rear axle, where each drives a rear wheel.
Keen to project a performance image for the model, Audi plans to provide the C-BEV with at least 500bhp and 516lb ft. By comparison, the production version of the R8 e-tron has 454bhp and 678lb ft, sufficient to propel it to 62mph in 3.9sec and on to a top speed of 155mph.
Energy for the electric motor will be drawn from a battery mounted low in the car?s platform, which is a mix of hot-formed steel, aluminium and carbonfibre-reinforced plastic.
Nothing is official at this stage, although the talk is that the lithium ion battery pack could have a capacity as high as 90kWh. This fits Audi?s recent strategy, under which the R8 e-tron?s battery has grown from 49kWh to 92kWh in its most recent evolution.
Although the new SUV is still shrouded in secrecy, Autocar understands it will receive individual styling, with a coupé-like silhouette similar to that of the BMW X6 and the recently launched Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé. Audi is also claiming a ?sensational Cd value for an SUV? of less than 0.30.
In a move that suggests it will receive the most contemporary infotainment, connectivity and autonomous driving features, the interior architecture is planned to be shared with the next-generation A8 luxury saloon, due in 2017.
To provide what Audi engineers describe as a Range Rover-rivalling ride quality, the C-BEV will use the same underpinnings as the new Q7, although it remains to be seen whether it will receive conventional steel springs or an air spring set-up.
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:
Supercars could soon face prosecution in parts of London as local councils move to ban excessive noise.
Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council has this week launched a consultation to introduce new measures to tackle what it calls ?the problem of supercars? in and around the Knightsbridge area.
Known locally as a hotspot for supercar traffic, residents are complaining about excessive noise levels and anti-social behaviour. As part of its consultation, the council says it will be looking to address ?the issue of high-performance cars speeding in the streets, drivers revving engines and vehicles causing obstructions.?
To tackle the problem, the council is looking to introduce a Public Space Protection Order for the area, which would allow restrictions to be imposed and drivers to be prosecuted for breaking them. Fixed penalty notices of up to £100 could be handed down to drivers.
Under the new rules, drivers could be prosecuted for revving their engines, speeding, demonstrating ?sudden or rapid acceleration,? driving in convoy, racing, leaving the engine turned on in a stationary vehicle, performing stuns, sounding horns (when deemed to be causing a public nuisance), playing loud music, using threatening or intimidating behaviour or causing an obstruction.
Speaking to Autocar, the head of Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council Nick Paget-Brown said: "It will need to be enforced jointly by the Police and by the Council?s Noise Nuisance Department. We want to send a clear message to these drivers that we would prefer them not to come into the area with their supercars."
If approved, the Public Space Protection Order would remain in place for three years, but could be extended further. The order can be imposed under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act introduced in the UK last year.
Councillor Tim Ahern, Cabinet Member for Environment, Environmental Health and Leisure, said: ?I know there has been a lot of coverage of expensive cars racing around Knightsbridge and also parking up and revving their engines. We want to take steps to discourage these drivers from their antisocial behaviour.?
Local resident and councillor Quentin Marshall told The Sunday Telegraph: ?The noise goes on all day but it is worse in the evenings and at night. It used to be limited to the summer, but now it is becoming pretty much all year round. We are just trying to stop these people who are abusing the rules and using their cars to make a very loud noise.?
Writing in The Guardian, Paget-Brown said: ?We?re not killjoys. I know the joy of taking my wheels for a ride on a summer?s evening ? but my Honda Jazz and Elgar CD are barely audible even at the kerbside.
?McLarens, Ferraris, Bugattis and Lamborghinis are a very different story.
?Over the past few years, Knightsbridge has become a magnet for a number of young men, mostly from the Middle East, who drive supercars. It?s a sort of competitive peacocking really and routes and behaviours have quickly evolved ? including speeding, causing obstruction and, worst of all, engine revving.?
Paget-Brown later clarified that the make of the car was less important than the noise it was capable of generating: "It?s not the make of the car, it?s the level of noise it generates," he said. "The message needs to be that if you?ve got a car that makes a loud noise and that part of the attraction of your car is in revving the engine, then don?t bring it into this area of London.
"Anybody who has a car which is not capable of being driven quietly should be very careful before they bring it into the area."
Paget-Brown also hinted that other London boroughs "will be looking closely" at the scheme, suggesting that if it is successful the new order could be adopted in other parts of the capital.
Some owners have fought back, however, saying the Council shouldn?t group all supercar owners together. Speaking to SWLondoner, one local resident and Lamborghini Aventador owner - who hasn?t been named - said: ?It may be an extravagance but it?s one I?ve worked hard to achieve and it?s wrong to group all luxury sports car owners together as anti-social nuisances or hedonistic men going through a mid-life crisis.?
?Yes loud engines are part of the fun of one of these cars but I have always been considerate with mine.?
Youtuber Smee150 regularly documents the influx of supercars onto London's streets during the summer season, as can be seen in his video below.
Do you think excessive noise from supercars should be banned in London? Let us know in the comments section below.
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: