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Saturday, 2 August, 2014 - 01:22 (UK)  

 Subaru Impreza

Subaru Impreza Story
An Introduction to the Subaru Impreza

History of the Impreza
A complete History of Subaru and the Impreza

Special Editions
All the UK special edition Impreza's listed here

My 2001 Impreza WRX
My own 2001 Impreza WRX in Red Mica

Project PPP
Upgraded my WRX with PPP saving nearly £1,200!

Scooby @ Lochindorb
Photo gallery of the car at Lochindorb Jan08

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MY08 Impreza (Gallery)
MY06 Impreza (Gallery)
MY03 Impreza (Gallery)


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..:: The Subaru Impreza Story

1. The Subaru Impreza Story, as told by me
2. The History of the Subaru Impreza
3. Special Editions
4. Image Galleries
5. My 2001 Subaru Impreza WRX - Red Mica

..:: The History of the Subaru Impreza

Subaru is a subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries. Which was originally Nakajima Aircraft back in 1917. It's wasn't until 1954 before Fuji Heavy Industries took on the challenge of building a road car. The name of this car was the P-1 (Nothing like the modern Subaru Impreza P1) which stood for Prototype-1. This name was later changed to the Subaru 1500. And here the Subaru was born. The name Subaru Closely translates to reference the star cluster Pleiades, which is the same famous star cluster that we see make up the subaru logo today. over the decades Subaru continued to build motor cars and in 1972 made it's first 4WD car with the Subaru Leone 4WD Station Wagon. From that point onwards Subaru made something for a name for it's self in the 4WD motor car department, almost like a trade mark. Think Subaru, think All Wheel Drive. However it wasn't until 1992 that the Subaru Impreza was born. So let's pick up the story from there.


The Launch of the Subaru Impreza (Japan) The Subaru Impreza was developed after rule changes in the World Rally Championship (WRC) demanded a replacement to the Subaru Legacy which was previously used by Subaru in the WRC. The changes meant that a new smaller, lighter and faster car was required in order to compete in the WRC. So even from day one, the Subaru Impreza was developed for rallying.


The Subaru Impreza reached the UK. Initially the Subaru Impreza was available in both Front Wheel Drive (FWD) and All Wheel Drive (AWD) versions. However the FWD was soon dropped in preference of the trademark Subaru AWD system.


The Turbo Charged Impreza 2000 AWD reached the UK (Known as the Subaru Impreza WRX in Japan). Also in 2004, Subaru Technica International (STI) was born and we started seeing STI versions of the Subaru Impreza Turbo. The Subaru Impreza WRX STI meant much more than an extra badge on the body. The STI stood for a full upgrading of the Subaru Impreza Taking was was learned on the World Rally stages and incorporating developments into the road car. Many areas were upgraded for the Subaru Impreza STI versions. Engine, Suspension and overall performance and handling greatly improved over the standard car. Top speed was limited to 155mph and 0-62 came in at just 4.7seconds for the Impreza STI. These figures made the Subaru Impreza very sought after by the local boy racers. Albeit a bit more expensive than the your every day Peugeot 205 and Vauxhall Nova.


Subaru won the World Rally Championship in a 555 WRC Subaru Impreza driven by fellow Scotsman Colin McRae. A brilliant achievement for both driver and manufacturer. Driver Colin McRae for being the first ever British driver to win the WRC, and Subaru proved that the Impreza was a World Leading rally car. To mark the success of Subaru winning the WRC championship that year, a special edition Subaru Impreza was released in the form of the McRae Series Subaru Impreza.


Subaru took the manufacturer title for a second year in a row, and promptly released another special edition Impreza knows as the Subaru Impreza Catalunya.


Subaru won a hat-trick of manufacturer championships and celebrated once again by releasing a new special edition Impreza. The Subaru Impreza Terzo (Italian for 3rd). Only 333 Subaru Impreza Terzos were made, as a mark of the three championships won with the Subaru Impreza. 1997 also saw a few changes to the Impreza road car. Interior styling was updated including an exclusive MOMO racing steering wheel. Meanwhile STI versions were given an newly designed rear spoiler. In Japan a special 2-door coupe Subaru Impreza was released which was used as the 1998 WRC car.


The Subaru Impreza 22B. A label that often conjures up thoughts of what the ultimate Subaru Impreza might be. The 22B (Note: for the computer geeks out there, 22B in hex converts to 555 in decimal.) provided a 2.2l boxer engine, more hardcore styling all round including 2-doors instead of 4 and an adjustable rear wing made up just some of the key features of the 22B. Only 400 22B's were made in order to celebrate 40 years of Subaru and only 16 of those were destined for the UK. I've seen three in total!! UK versions also had tweaked gearing which was specifically optimised to UK roads. How cool is that!


To celebrate the new driver lineup of Richard Burns in the Subaru World Rally Team, Subaru decided it was once again time for a special edition. This time the RB5 named after Richard Burns. Sadly in November 2003 Richard Burns was diagnosed with a form of brain tumour and later died on the 25th November 2005 from his illness. This makes the RB5 all the more special now. Only 444 RB5's were made, with the option of the WR Sport pack.

1999 Also saw the release of another special edition. The Subaru Impreza P1, which like the Subaru Impreza 22B was a 2-door coupe model, and like the 22B it was only available in WR Blue. However unlike the 22B the Subaru Impreza P1 delivered a 276bhp out of the box, and supporting a whole load of new accessories such as 10-spoke OZ Titanium racing wheels, improved quick-shift gearbox, rear-wiper, new front wing/splitter, new fog lamps and a new exclusive rear wing. Unlike the Impreza 22B there were 1,000 P1's made. Despite this the Subaru Impreza P1 remains one of the most expensive Subaru Impreza's to buy today.



For eight years, the Subaru Impreza remained more or less unchanged (externally) until 2000 where Subaru decided to update the Impreza for the 21st century. This change was met with mixed views. The appropriately labeled Bug-eye version by critics, was just that. Bug-eyed! One can only guess it was Subaru's attempt to make the Impreza all cute and cuddly. But this didn't go down well with the fans. Many NewAge impreza's promptly had their headlights replaces with WRC look-alike HI-Definition (HiD) lamps or the more aggressive looking Morette cluster. What was in favour of the fans was the globalisation of the WRX name. Previously only used in Japan, the WRX badge was now stuck to any Impreza with a Turbo!


To celebrate Richard Burns's win in the WRC and the launch of the of the new model, Subaru decided to launch yet another special edition Impreza. This time the Subaru Impreza UK300. Once again just like the 22B and P1 the only colour available was WR Blue. The UK300 supported new prodrive styled spoilers of which the rear wing looked like was picked from bit of an airfix kit and not put together properly. Thankfully the front end was improved slightly, with the addition of improved HiD headlamps which made the car look slightly less like a bug. Yet no matter what they did, it was still going to be remembered as the Bug-Eyed version. 2001 also saw the arrival of the NewAge (Must stop calling it bug-eyed) Subaru Impreza WRX STI to the UK. Just like previous STI's, this was based on the WRX but tweaked a little by the Subaru Technica International (STI) team. If that wasn't enough there was also the option of a Prodrive Performance Pack (PPP). The Subaru Imrpeza WRX STI saw a few key changes over the standard Subaru Impreza WRX. This time, the addition of a 6-speed gearbox as opposed to the WRX 5-speed. Also a nice welcome was similar headlamps which were found on the UK300.


It didn't take long before Subaru had to give in to pressure from fans and go back to the drawing board (literally) to come up with a new style Subaru Impreza. So in 2002, Subaru announced yet another NewAge Impreza. The MY03. Main difference here was the front end. More or less everything else stayed the same, but those bug-eyed headlamps were out and replaced with slightly less ugly ones. Also a bigger bonnet scoop was included. Not to be outdone, the Subaru Impreza WRX power was increased by 10bhp. Not surprisingly many Bug-eyed Subaru Impreza's were made available on the 2nd hand market as many owners wanted to change their driveway accessory for the new style Subaru Impreza.

Although Turbo versions of the Subaru Impreza were available in Japan and Europe from more or less day one. The US favoured their muscle cars and not these Japanese breed of performance cars. Which meant the Subaru Impreza Turbo's never "officially" reached US soil until the 2002 model. Any previous Subaru Impreza's were Imports. Unfortunately for the US market the famous 2.0l boxer engine had to go. The fuel regulations in the US meant that the high performance expected from the Subaru Impreza could not be achieved from the 2.0l engine with US fuel. Instead, the Subaru Impreza was given a nice new 2.5l boxer engine for the US market, in order to keep the power and performance up.


Another Subaru WRC title win with Petter Solberg at the wheel. Once again sticking with tradition a new special edition was released, known as the Subaru Impreza WR1. I must admit the WR1 is one of my personal favourites, if only because of the unique Ice Blue colour. Only 500 WR1's were made, but Subaru decided to throw everything at it, including PPP and Driver Controlled Centre Diff (DCCD). The Subaru Impreza WRX STI also saw further improvements in 2004 with upgraded mechanics from the Japanese models. This new revised STI saw a new front diff, along with the DCCD system which was found on the WR1 and UK300 models. Nice!


Towards the end of 2005. Again just 2 years after the previous model was replaced, Subaru decided to release another new bodied Subaru Impreza, the MY06. This time with new crystal rear light cluster and yet another new front end. The jury is still out about whether or not it is a hit or a miss. I personally think it looks Awesome. Almost as though Subaru have forgotten the last 5 years and gone back to the aggressive styling of the original Subaru Impreza from the 90's! I admit, it did take a few days to get used to, but after you see past the SEAT grill and BMW headlamps you soon realise that this is the sort of car you want other people to see you in, in their rear view mirror. (Admittedly briefly as you scream past them shortly after words :) Sadly the MY06 marked the end for the traditional 2.0l boxer engine. Instead we saw the introduction of the 2.5l boxer engine into the Subaru Impreza. A sad end which seems to have gone relatively unnoticed. But then think of what they can do with that extra 500cubic centimetres of space. Mwaahaahaahaa!...


Towards the end of 2006. Subaru / Prodrive announced the realease of a new Special Edition Impreza. Sadly without recent success in the WRC. This time the special edition was to celebrate the life of previous Subaru WRC Champion Richard Burns who sadly died 12 months previously due to a brain tumour. The New Special Edition Subaru Impreza was to be named the RB320. That's 320bhp and a limited number of 320 to be produced. Essentially the RB320 is a 2006 model Subaru Impeza WRX STi PPP with just abotu ever add on you can think of, along with bespoke prodrive/blitsen dampers, exclusive obsidian black paint work, black alloys and full dront grill set. All in all making the RB320 very exclusive and ver agressive looking with only small markings on the passenger, drivers doors and boot lid of a small orange RB320 logo. The rest of the car is very much black in respect for the late Richard Burns. A true trubite to a great champion!



I have yet to come up with a word that describes Subaru in 2007. At the time of writing Subaru had recently announced the drascically redesigned 2008 model of the Subaru Impreza (You can see some photos here) Make your own mind up about what you think of it. My initial thoughts are yuk.. And I have to say my thoughts are still more or less the same. The car does NOT look agressive as it shoudl and just looks like any other family hatchback on the road. a fair pecentage of the Impreza's appeal has always been it's agressive shape and styling. Even teh bugeye version admitedly wasn't welcomed by many had the trademark styling that for every other angle you knew it was an Impreza and more importantly a car to be reckoned with!. This new one doesn't do much for me I'm afraid. Doesn't excite me when I see pictures of it like previous styles. The same recipie is still there usign the same 2.5l boxer engine from teh MY06 models, a new intercooler has been shoved in. Power remains teh same at 225ps for the WRX model, awd as standard of course :). However the tyres are narrower than previous versions. Also it's worth noting that at time of writing there are no plans for a WRX version or saloon version for the UK. Instead we'll have the basic models then a jump up to the STi's I see this as a mistake as the WRX hits a just about affordable market for most peopel who cant afford te £25k price of the STi. However somethign new for the MY08 Impreza will be the introduction of a 170bhp Diesel Impreza. Thats right diesel. Should be interesting...Watch this space...



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Opposites attack: Porsche 911 Turbo S vs Formula 4 race car
Opposites attack: Porsche 911 Turbo S vs F4 race car Porsche's 911 Turbo S is a seriously fast road car, but can it defeat a 185bhp F4 single-seater on a track?

The latest Porsche 911 Turbo S is one of the fastest road cars that money can buy.

It has 552bhp and 516lb ft of torque, puts its power all over the road courtesy of a complex four-wheel drive system and can, as a result, cover ground more efficiently than almost any other road car on earth. And it costs £140,852.

For less than a third of that, however, you could arm yourself with a device that could lap any circuit in Britain much faster than a 911 Turbo S. And for half of that again, you could pay to enter said device into a bona fide racing championship and find out if you have what it takes to become the next Lewis Hamilton.

Or, more realistically, find out if your son or daughter has what it takes to become the next you-know-who.

But even if you just fancied running a Formula 4 car at track days every now and then, you?ve got to admit that £45k for a fully tooled-up single-seater that could run rings around anything else that turned up is, in all sorts of ways, a mouth-watering prospect.

But how fast, ultimately, can a single-seater like the new F4 machine be when it has but a mere 185bhp from a 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine? Fair enough, the spaceframe chassis and part-carbonfibre safety cell of the F4 car mean that it weighs little more than a cup of tea, but surely it can?t compete with the pure grunt of the Porsche on the straight bits of the average circuit? 

And even if the F4 can stop rather well, courtesy of its AP Racing brakes, and changes gear instantly, thanks to its trick new Sadev six-speed paddle-shift gearbox, the PDK-equipped 911 Turbo S also has a reputation for being able to swap cogs faster than you can think. It?s quite good at slowing down, too.

So what actually happens when a 552bhp, 1605kg Turbo S squares up to 185bhp and 470kg of Van Diemen-designed Formula 4 car on a circuit? Does the F4 car just disappear into the distance at the first corner, never to be seen again? Or are there areas in which they overlap? Are there parts of the circuit, in other words, where the heavier but far more potent 911 can keep up or even pull away?

We went to the West Circuit at Bedford Autodrome to find the answer, and we chose the West because it has a decent mix of straights, which would in theory favour the 911, and corners, which would suit the F4 car. 

Read the Porsche 911 Turbo S first drive

According to, the outright road car lap record for the West Circuit is 1min 13.8sec, held by a 455bhp Radical SR8 LM, with the 583bhp Caparo T1 second on 1min 14.8sec. But to give you an idea of what sort of times more normal supercars are capable of, the McLaren 12C is listed at 1min 19.6sec, the 2012 Nissan GT-R 1min 20.1sec and the Noble M600 1min 20.8sec

And to give you an idea of how mighty the new 911 Turbo S is, it thumped in a 1min 19.2sec on its first flying lap of the day. Which was pretty extraordinary for such a usable, everyday kind of supercar. 

But what was more surprising still was what happened when we put both cars out on the circuit at the same time, me in the F4 car and Autocar?s resident hired gun, Mauro Calo, in the Porsche.

Because on cold tyres, and with muggins sitting behind its digitised steering wheel, the F4 car was nowhere beside the 911. It understeered badly where the Porsche sliced into corners.

It locked its slick front tyres everywhere and very nearly went into the back of the 911 under brakes at one rather terrifying point. And on the way out of corners, it was left for dead. The 911 would rocket away, not just with better traction but with massively more acceleration as well. 

To begin with, in fact, the F4 car felt oddly underwhelming at Bedford, even though its gearchange felt super-precise, its engine surprisingly willing and its cockpit suitably like that of a junior F1 car.

But the problem with the F4 car initially was me, not it, because to get a relatively low-powered single-seater that uses slicks and wings to generate its speed, rather than its primary power source (in other words, its engine), you need to drive it in a particular kind of way. 

You need to get heat into its tyres and air travelling as rapidly as possible across its wings, and if you don?t, you go nowhere, slowly, and it all feels a bit disconnected as a consequence. And the 911 Turbo S murders it in the process.

But once you learn how to unlock its box of secrets ? by getting heat into its tyres, basically ? there is a quite extraordinary transformation that occurs in the F4 car. The faster you go, the more speed you can carry everywhere, and as the grip levels go up, so does your confidence, and so it goes on.

Until you reach a point where you find yourself operating the car using minuscule inputs at the steering wheel, with quite violent but short, sharp prods on the brake pedal (with your left foot, not your right, just as you do in a kart) and using full throttle absolutely as often as you can.

And once the heat comes and you can bring yourself to go fast enough to light the wings up too, the ability of the F4 car to cover ground becomes quite breathtaking, literally. And after a while, you discover that it really can run rings around the Turbo S in a way that, an hour previously, you didn?t think was possible.

And because it can brake tens of yards later into every corner and carries miles more speed into and out of each corner, the F4 car doesn?t actually get that badly dropped on the straights, either, in the end.

In the end, I did a 1min 13.0sec lap in the F4 car, which was over six seconds quicker than I managed in the 911. Of arguably more significance, though, was the fact that this was also a shade quicker than the 455bhp Radical SR8 LM?s outright lap record as well ? with just 185bhp. 

That?s how much raw performance the F4 car can generate. Bear in mind, too, that a top-line driver would shave at least another second off that time. No wonder the F4 grids are full to bursting. And no wonder the 911?s tyres were looking more than a touch frayed by the end of the day.

Porsche 911 Turbo S

Price £140,852 0-62mph 3.1sec Top speed 198mph Economy 29.1mpg (combined) CO2 227g/km Kerb weight 1605kg Engine 6 cyls horizontally opposed, 3800cc, twin-turbo, petrol Power 552bhp at 6500rpm Torque 516lb ft at 2100rpm Gearbox 7-speed dual-clutch automatic

Formula 4 race car

Price £45,000 0-62mph 2.94sec Top speed 142mph Economy 11mpg CO2 NA Kerb weight 470kg Engine 4 cyls in line, 1998cc, petrol Power 183bhp at 6750rpm Torque 148lb ft at 5250rpm Gearbox 6-speed sequential manual

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Mercedes-Benz plans new AMG Sport range
Mercedes-Benz plans new AMG Sport range New AMG sub brand created to rival performance divisions from Audi and BMW, with new C450 AMG Sport among the first models to arrive

Mercedes-Benz is developing an extended range of AMG Sport models to be positioned underneath its traditional line of AMG cars, Autocar can reveal.

Intended to challenge the various performance orientated models from the Audi Sport and BMW M Performance line-ups, the new AMG Sport models are set to receive exclusive exterior and interior styling touches and upgraded engines.

They'll also use uniquely calibrated chassis tuning and electronics, according to sources familiar with Mercedes-Benz?s plans.

As with the performance car strategies pursued by Audi and BMW, Mercedes-Benz plans to offer its upcoming AMG Sport models with a choice of either petrol or diesel engines, although not in every model.

Among the features differentiating them from the standard Mercedes-Benz models upon which they are base will be widened tracks similar to those used by full-blown AMG models.

?We have identified growing demand for our more overtly sporting models, both in petrol and diesel guises. We intend to extend our range with a new line of models developed in partnership with AMG,? an insider revealed to Autocar.   

Included in the new AMG Sport line-up will be models from the A, C, E and S-class line-ups together with variants based on GL- and M-, GLK- and GLA-class.   

Among the first of Mercedes-Benz?s new AMG Sport models will be the upcoming C450 AMG Sport. Planned to make its public debut later this year, it runs a tuned version of the C400?s turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine that produces a claimed 367bhp.

That's 34bhp more than the standard C400, but over 100bhp short of the upcoming C63 AMG, which runs a new twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 powerplant.

Also under development and planned for launch in 2015 is an AMG sport variant of Mercedes-Benz?s new BMW X6 rivaling M-class coupé.

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Citroen reveals special edition DS3 Cabrio
Citroen reveals special edition DS3 Cabriolet New DS3 Cabrio DStyle by Benefit is the fourth model to be created with the cosmetics retailer, and is now on sale

Citroën has revealed the latest special edition of its DS3 Cabrio to be built in partnership with Benefit Cosmetics.

The car, named DS3 Cabrio DStyle by Benefit, is now on sale priced from £18,745 - a £1000 premium over the regular model. Modifications include new white paint, pink accents on the door mirrors and wheels, as well as new logos and badges on the B-pillars and at the rear.

Inside, new floor mats feature alongside an upgraded polka dot dashboard design, as well as new white trim.

The DS3 Cabrio DStyle by Benefit is powered by a 120bhp VTi petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.

This is the fourth special edition to be created in conjunction with Benefit Cosmetics.

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New Hyundai i20 revealed in design sketches
New Hyundai i20 revealed in design sketches Sleek, sporty shape for Korean manufacturer's new Ford Fiesta rival, which will be officially revealed at the Paris motor show

The second-generation Hyundai i20 has been shown off in official design renderings ahead of the model's unveiling at the Paris motor show in October.

The new version of Hyundai's B-segment model ? designed at Hyundai's European design centre in Rüsselsheim, Germany ? features the latest evolution of the brand's design philosophy, dubbed Fluidic Sculpture 2.0.

The front of the new i20 features a new interpretation of Hyundai's familiar hexagonal grille and a new thin horizontal strip connecting the headlamps.

At the rear, i20 features a 'wraparound' rear window that blends into the C-pillars, which are dark-coloured to accentuate the car's side profile.

Hyundai says it has given the car a long bonnet and sculpted body sides to create a "powerful stance".

The Korean manufacturer hasn't revealed any technical details of its new rival for the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, although the car has been spied testing ahead of its debut.

Inside the i20 has seating for five, with previous test mules showing off a two-tone cloth seat trim. Expect a significant lift in fit and finish in the cabin, with a central infotainment screen and redesigned front fascia.

It is expected that the i20 will borrow much of its engine range from the current generation, meaning a 1.2-litre petrol with 84bhp and 88lb ft and a 1.1-litre CRDi diesel with 74bhp and 133lb ft.

Two variants of the 1.4-litre CRDi will likely be offered too, delivering 99bhp and 101lb ft and 89bhp and 162lb ft respectively. It's also highly likely that Hyundai will also offer the i10's 66bhp 1.0-litre engine. A hotter performance variant of the i20, badged under Hyundai's N performance brand, is expected to come later.

The second-generation i20 is slated to go on sale at the start of next year. 

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Mercedes-Benz revises E-class model range
Mercedes-Benz revises E-class model range Derivatives of German manufacturer's executive saloon get nine-speed automatic transmission, more power and lower emissions

Mercedes-Benz has updated the E-class range, with options including a new nine-speed automatic gearbox as well as power and emissions upgrades and new safety kit.

Among the changes is the addition of urea injection to the exhaust system of the E220 Bluetec and E250 Bluetec.

Fuel economy is improved from 61.4mpg to 64.2mpg in the E220 Bluetec saloon and from 47.9mpg to 53.3mpg in the E350 Bluetec saloon, with both featuring EU6 emission compliance.

Economy is also improved on the E300 Bluetec Hybrid, from 68.9mpg to 74.3mpg in saloon guise.

Further up the line-up, the E350 Bluetec receives a revised 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine boasting an added 6bhp at 254bhp along with an updated version of Mercedes-Benz?s newly introduced nine-speed automatic gearbox.

On the petrol side, the E400?s turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine has been replaced by the larger 3.5-litre V6 recently unveiled on the CLS400. Power and torque remain the same at 328bhp and 354lb ft, with the E400 coupé returning 40.9mpg.

Emissions gains mean that CO2 figures have dropped across the board, lead by the E300 Bluetec Hybrid, which emits just 107g/km.

The changes also mean the E350 Bluetec now reaches 0-62mph fractionally quicker than the current car, at 6.4 seconds (down from 6.6 seconds), whicle the E350 Bluetec Hybrid completes the same sprint in 7.1 seconds, down from 7.5 seconds.

Standard equipment on the E-class has also been bolstered by the addition of the Collision Prevention Assist Plus system.

The technology, which helps to reduce the impact of rear-end accidents via visual and auditory warnings as well as partial autonomous braking, will be fitted as standard to all E-class models.

New Premium and Premium Plus packages also add further luxuries to the E-class. The Premium package includes a panoramic glass sunroof, a memory pack, rear split folding seats and a reversing camera on saloon models for £2695. Premium Plus adds keyless go and an upgraded sound system for £3895. On estate models, prices for those packages is £2395 and £3495 respectively.

Price increases across the range now means that the entry-level E220 Bluetec saloon in SE specification starts from £34,270, compared to £32,750 for the older E220 CDI. Similarly, the E-class estate now starts at £36,060.

The upgraded E-class models will be available from September.

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