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Saturday, 30 August, 2014 - 07:22 (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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New versus used: Porsche Cayman S or Lamborghini Gallardo?
New versus used: Porsche Cayman S or Lamborghini Gallardo? The £64,000 Porsche Cayman S and £67,500 Lamborghini Gallardo are both desirable cars, but it's the raging bull which takes the win here

The second-generation Porsche Cayman is a five-star motor and today?s benchmark junior sports car.

The 271bhp 2.7-litre version costs £39,694, and the 321bhp 3.4-litre Cayman S is £48,783. That you can debate their merits against the £73,509 911 Carrera with an entirely straight face illustrates their outstanding value.

But the cost of options is the elephant in the room. Take this Racing Yellow Cayman S. For extra dynamic focus, it features carbon-ceramic brakes (£4977), PASM adaptive dampers (£1700), a Sport Chrono Plus pack (£1084), torque vectoring with a limited-slip differential (£890) and lightweight, leather-finished sports bucket seats with integrated airbags (£2226).

A bi-modal sports exhaust, 20-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors and sat-nav swell the final bill to £65,573.

It?s worth seeing what else that buys before signing up. Jaguar F-type V6 S? BMW M4? Lotus Evora S? All tempting. But none comes near the firepower and presence of our used contender: the 492bhp, V10-powered Lamborghini Gallardo.

Yep, Sant?Agata?s Audi-financed saviour can now be had from just £55,000. Owned by Gareth Hardiman and for sale through independent Lamborghini specialist Buckinghamshire High Performance (, this gorgeous, 24,500-mile example ? lurking low, wide and dark like a prowling stingray to the Cayman?s yellowfin tuna ? is priced at £67,500.

The sting in its tail is BHP?s own cat bypass and a Tubi exhaust, which fill the cavernous space of our aircraft hanger with an extremely rude, extremely loud bark and burble that has us all sharing guilty smirks. 

The Lambo?s dated, slow-witted E-gear automated manual gearbox would have been floored by the technical brilliance of Porsche?s slingshot PDK dual-clutch automatic, so manual it is for our mid-engined two-seaters.

The Cayman sends drive to the rear wheels only whereas our 2004 Gallardo drives all four with the help of a limited-slip differential at each axle. 

Climbing in, you immediately notice how much more luxury the Gallardo offers. There?s Alcantara on the ceiling and stitched leather not only on the seats but also on the door cards and the dashboard. Adding extra hide to the otherwise plastic-heavy Cayman would cost an additional £1428. 

The Gallardo?s cabin is unmarked, save for some thinning of the helm?s Alcantara, but the Porsche?s slick instrumentation and stylish yet robust switchgear have a clear edge over the Lambo?s chunkier fare, which features interesting toggle switches alongside more mundane Audi-sourced buttons and outdated red LEDs. Unsurprisingly, the Porsche?s modern sat-nav wins, too.

Hitting the road first is the Cayman S. Were this a track exercise, I?d have been glad of the bucket seats? security, but their limited adjustment and thin padding do little for comfort. That aside, the driving position is ergonomically sound.

Within moments, you?re treated to what could be the sweetest manual gearbox on sale. It?s light yet mechanical feeling, with a joyous lubricity that seems to suck the shifter into each nook.

With the hard-biting carbon-ceramics making in-roads near the top of the brake pedal, you need to be pressing on to make heel-and-toeing tenable, but a rev-matching function (part of Sport Chrono?s Sport Plus mode) lets you enjoy rasping, seamless downshifts even during dull commutes.

I could leave the £1530 sports exhaust, though. The contrived fun of the grumbles that it emits on the overrun in Sport mode is outweighed by its overbearing constant-throttle volume, even in Normal mode, and the flat six ? from its tractable bottom end, 4500rpm pickup and free-revving, howling upper reaches ? already offers plenty of entertainment.

The Porsche is genuinely rapid when pushed, but power is dispatched with incredible composure thanks to the Sport Chrono pack?s vibration-quashing active transmission mounts and the assured deftness of the chassis.

PASM?s Sport mode gets knobbly on rippled B-roads, but even in Normal mode, the Cayman retains excellent body control and you can feed it through corners with huge confidence. Get over-exuberant with the throttle mid-corner and the torque vectoring brakes the inside rear wheel to keep the car turning, while the limited-slip diff produces very strong grip on the exit.

But the Porsche isn?t just at home on twisty roads ? it?s pliant in town and calm on motorways, too. This is an extremely usable sports car.

The Gallardo?s gearbox is a delight for different reasons. Its open gate lets you gaze inside at the greased linkage and rings with every strike of the lever. It?s a delightful point of interaction with the charismatic 5.0-litre V10, which needs fewer revs to come on song than the Cayman?s six-pot and lets out a race-worthy scream towards its 7750rpm red line.

The approach of a corner initiates an indulgent sequence: lean on the powerful, ventilated discs, blip the skinny throttle pedal between downshift ?clacks? and a single ?pop? of sniper fire follows from the exhaust.

Roll is marginal and the four-wheel drive system lends a totally planted cornering stance. You can feed power in early, but the pace it produces is in a different league from the Cayman?s, so full throttle can?t be laid on with anything like the same abandon without triggering the traction control.

The firmness of the ride ? which, on a bumpy road, affects comfort more than it does confidence ? only highlights how well tuned the Cayman?s set-up is. But although we once reckoned that the Gallardo was short on steering feel, its hydraulically assisted helm is a veritable flibbertigibbet compared with the Cayman?s slick yet relatively monotonous electric set-up.

The Lamborghini is never quiet, but it?s no louder than the Porsche when cruising. And usability isn?t compromised: all-round visibility is surprisingly good, the turning circle usefully compact and the steering light when manoeuvring, although the boot is far too small to cope with extended trips.

Because of its age, the CO2-heavy Gallardo nevertheless costs the same in VED as the Cayman, at £285, but that?s where parity on running costs ends. Services are due annually or every 7500 miles for the Lambo, with one major for every two minors. BHP charges £1680 for the former, £600 for the latter.

The Porsche operates on two-year/20,000-mile intervals, which alternate between £480 and £610 at Porsche Centre Reading, and it uses less than half as much fuel.

The verdict

So which wins? The Cayman S is easily the more multi-talented and rounded proposition. But you could arguably retain the bulk of its most endearing skills by spending less than £40,000 on the entry-level model. If you?re buying for weekend thrills more than daily duties, though, it has to be the Gallardo.

It?s an absolute showman, and Audi-hewn robustness has let it age gracefully. And if the running costs worry you, know that early Gallardos are currently appreciating. Now there?s food for thought.

Porsche Cayman S 

Price £64,043; 0-62mph 5.0sec; Top speed 175mph; Economy 32.1mpg; CO2 206g/km; Kerbweight 1389kg; Engine 6 cyls, 3463cc, petrol; Power 321bhp at 7400rpm; Torque 273lb ft at 5800rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual

Lamborghini Gallardo

Price £67,500 (price new: £155,000); 0-60mph 4.1sec; Top speed 192mph; Economy 14.5mpg; CO2 450g/km; Kerbweight 1520kg; Engine V10, 4961cc, petrol; Power 492bhp at 7800rpm; Torque 376lb ft at 4500rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual

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Moscow motor show 2014 - nine cars you can't buy in the UK
Moscow motor show 2014 - nine cars you can't buy in the UK The Moscow motor show has plenty of new metal on display, but most of it will never be sold on UK shores. Here are our top picks of the cars you won't be able to buy in this country

While the Moscow motor show features an eclectic selection of global brands, most of the vehicles on display there won?t be coming to the UK.

Russia?s unique market  - largely dominated by SUVs and crossovers in rural areas and an increasing number of saloons and hatchbacks in town ? demands a wide variety of cars nonetheless, and that?s why so many manufacturers are vying for a slice of the automotive pie.

With that in mind, here are Autocar?s picks of the cars that won?t be coming to the UK.

Datsun on-Do

The on-Do is a compact saloon priced at the lower end of the market. It starts at just below 400,000 Russian rubles, or £6684. For that, you get a 1.6-litre petrol engine with 85bhp, a five-speed manual transmission, five seats and a boot capable of holding 530 litres.

Lada Kalina NFR

A hot version of Lada's Kalina hatchback where power from its 1.6-litre engine has been pushed to 138bhp. Couple that with new styling accents and new air intakes on the bonnet, and we think this hot hatch looks relatively stylish. The 0-60mph sprint is covered in 8.5 seconds.

Haval H9

The H9 made its debut at the Beijing motor show earlier this year, aiming to provide China's emerging SUV market with an affordable off-road model. Two turbocharged direct-injection engines are available, in either 2.0-litre or 3.0-litre form, the larger of which gets 328bhp.

Toyota Venza

One of the curiosities of the Moscow motor show is the number of American-born models on display. Toyota is showing off its latest Venza crossover, available with either a 2.7-litre four-cylinder or 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine. Buying one will save you little at the pumps, though, as even the most frugal version of the Venza returns just 27.6mpg.

CitroŽn C-Elysee

Unveiled at the Shanghai motor show last year, the C-Elysee is mechanically identical to the Peugeot 301, and is built in Spain for Central European markets. Power comes from PSA's VTI 72 engine, which produces 72bhp and can return upwards of 56.5mpg. Interestingly, it's makers say the VTI engine has been developed to run on varying fuel quality, depending on different markets.

PGO Cevennes

This retro-styled open-top model is stood next to a coupe version of the same name in Moscow. Exact output from its 1.6-litre hasn't been revealed, but plenty of eyes are on the two-door Cevennes, both from potential customers and rival manufacturers.

Geely Emgrand EC7

The EC7 was meant to be Geely's launch offering in the UK two years ago, but even though we tested the mid-size saloon in 2012 it is yet to be offered officially on these shores. Power comes from a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 137bhp, and prices are due to start from around £12,000.

Changan CS75

There's more than a hint of Land Rover influence in the styling of the Changan CS75. Powered by a 2.0-litre VVT engine developing 156bhp, the CS75 can reach 62mph in 8.1 seconds. Changan is part of a strong contingent of Chinese manufacturers at the Moscow show, with the manufacturer flanked by Hama and Volvo owner Geely.

Kia Quoris

Technically, Kia's new flagship saloon is something of a cheater on this list, because although Russian sales start next month company officials say there are plans to bring it to Europe and the UK. We've already driven the 3.8-litre V6-powered car, finding it to be somewhat lacking compared to European rivals.

Scroll through the gallery above to see more pictures, and let us know your favourite in the comments section below.

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Revived British marque Atalanta to reveal new car
Revived British marque Atalanta to reveal new car Car maker to show off first example of new car that blends its original 1930s philosophy with modern safety features

Revived British marque Atalanta Motors will reveal its first new model for 75 years at the Hampton Court Palace Concours of Elegance next week.

The Atalanta Sports Tourer was first shown to the public on 5 March 1937. Just 21 cars were produced before the outbreak of World War Two in 1939 forced the demise of the company.

Atalanta was relaunched by Staffordshire-based motoring enthusiast Martyn Corfield in 2012.

The modern take on the Sports Tourer blends Atalanta?s original 1930s philosophy with modern safety features. Each car will be built to a customer's individual specifications and 90 per cent of the component parts are designed and engineered by Atalanta, including castings, forgings and fabrications. The exterior is a hand-crafted aluminium-over-ash coach-built structure.

Corfield said: ?As in the 1930s, Atalanta Motors provides the opportunity to commission an individual driving machine to exacting requirements. The new sports car offers an exhilarating drive with assured handling and a supremely comfortable ride".

Chassis number one of the brand new model will be shown at event, which runs from 5-7 September. An original 1937 Atalanta is also expected to be on display.

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Saab's owner wins protection against bankruptcy
Latest Saab news Swedish car maker encounters another round of financial woes as it tries to source investment to pay suppliers

Saab's parent company has successfully applied for protection from bankruptcy as it seeks extra time to source funds to save the car maker from financial collapse.

The company trying to revive the Saab brand to make electric vehicles, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), recently admitted that it did not have enough money to pay all of its 900 suppliers.

However, NEVS stated that it was involved in "tripartite negotiations with two global vehicle manufacturers" who might invest in Saab and enable the suppliers to get paid.

It also said, however, that negotiations "are still progressing, but are complex and have taken more time than we predicted".

The majority of NEVS suppliers have chosen to await the outcome of the ongoing negotiations, but some creditors have filed applications for a court order to force the company to pay them.

That is a situation NEVS is keen to avoid because it fears it might jeopardise its investment negotiations with the unnamed car companies.To give itself more time, NEVS applied to a Swedish district court for bankruptcy protection.

That was turned down on Thursday, but a second application earlier today was approved and the district court of Všnersborg has appointed an administrator during the reorganisation period.

Saab has been rarely been far from financial turmoil since it was offloaded by General Motors to Spyker in 2010.

The latest round of financial woes comes shortly after NEVS finally presented its Saab 9-3 electric vehicle. The car is equipped with lithium-ion batteries and has a claimed range of approximately 120 miles, a maximum speed of around 75mph and a 0-60mph time of ten seconds.

The 9-3 EV is part of a prototype series built in Trollhšttan in May as test beds for technical development and to verify the manufacturing set-up in preparation for the production of customer cars.

NEVS started production of petrol-powered 9-3 Aero Sedans in December 2013, but stopped the build in May.

In a further twist, Reuters has reported that Saab AB, the defence firm which licences the Saab name to NEVS, has withdrawn that right in light of the financial situation. 

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Radical RXC
Radical RXC The Radical RXC offers one of the most extreme driving experiences available on public roads A Le Mans car for the road. That, in a nutshell, was what Radical set out to create when designing the extraordinary new Radical RXC, and in a nutshell that?s exactly what they have built.The RXC may look a touch barking when encountered amongst ordinary, everyday traffic ? to a point where people stare at it in complete bewilderment when they see it rumbling along the public road.But beneath its Le Mans prototype-like bodywork, complete with full GT3 specification multi-adjustable rear wing, it?s actually a rather good sports car, albeit one that?s a touch more extreme in its delivery compared with, say, a Volkswagen Golf GTi.At its heart, just behind its two racing bucket seats, sits a 3.7-litre Ford V6 that produces either 350bhp in standard tune or 380bhp with a bit of tweakery to its throttle system. In both cases it's mated to a seven-speed sequential paddle shift gearbox built specifically for the car by Quaife, who also make the torque-sensing differential that?s fitted to the car.All up, the RXC weighs just 900kg, which means it isn?t just quick but crackers fast in a straight line. Radical claims a 0-60mph time of just 2.8sec with a top speed limited by the relatively short gearing in seventh to ?just? 175mph.They don?t quote a 0-100mph time just yet, but having spent a day howling around the Yorkshire moors in it I?d guess it could hit three figures in a fair bit less than seven seconds. Which puts it very much in the premier league when it comes to outright acceleration.But it?s what the RXC does around corners and under brakes that will at first fray and then obliterate the outer edges of your imagination, and the reason why is because it produces downforce. Lots and lots of downforce, to the extent that ? in theory ? it could be driven upside down through a tunnel without falling off the ceiling.Yup, at 175mph Radical claims the RXC produces its own weight in downforce ? a full 900kg ? and on the road what that translates to is a level of high speed grip that will reduce most passengers to a gibbering wreck, and leave most drivers giggling in disbelief.At low speeds, so let?s say anything under 50mph, you can?t really feel that prodigious downforce. Instead, all you notice is how relatively un-dreadful the ride is and how crisp the steering seems; Radical worked hard to get the damping of the all-round double wishbone suspension to a level that would ensure the car had a half decent ride quality, and I?d say they hit the bullseye on that one ? because amazingly it rides pretty well.As soon as you venture beyond 60mph, though, and ideally a fair bit higher than that on a track, you can feel the stability levels going up, front and rear, and the steering also gets a touch meatier. And yet... if you then really lean on it and get it to start sliding around ? there is no traction control and no ABS ? it?s actually rather well behaved.There?s no precipice of grip that you walk up to and then just fall straight off; instead, when it goes, it goes gradually. On a track, therefore, I?m sure this car would be a) phenomenally rapid compared with other cars of a similar price, but also b) an absolute peach to throw around on account of its handling being so friendly. As a combination, that?s no small achievement on behalf of the RXC?s chassis engineers.Talking of steering, the RXC has a unique system that enables you to dial the level of power assistance up or down in five different stages (see sidebar). But however much assistance you call upon, the front end of the RXC always feels pinned to whatever apex you choose to aim it at. And the way it stops is quite outrageous, frankly, for a car that wears number plates and a tax disc.It also sounds deliciously potent, inside and out. You?d never guess that its engine is from a humble Ford given the range of exotic noises it gives off under full bore acceleration. It?s the same engine that Ginetta uses in the excellent G60, but it sounds even angrier in this case, and feels even more potent, which is saying something.A less than brilliant aspect of the RXC is the way you enter it, or climb back out of it. So wide are its sills that the only way you can enter it realistically is by flinging open the gullwing door, then treading all over the seat and inserting yourself into its guts as elegantly as you can.Which is to say, not very. If it?s raining you?ll get whatever is on the bottom of your shoes all over the seats. Those in this test car fortunately weren?t covered in the expensive leather hides that Radical hopes many RXC customers will end up specifying.Another as yet unresolved issue is the gearchange, specifically the smoothness of the upshifts and the lack of a proper blip during donwshifts. Use the clutch conventionally up or down and there?s no problem, of course, but if you make a full steam upchange and don?t use the clutch, the corresponding wallop in the back isn?t entirely pleasant, even if the shift itself happens in microseconds. Radical realises there?s a bit of work to be done here, however, and is continuing to tweak the software to make the shifts a touch less manic.When they sort that gearchange, the RXC will be something else. As it stands it?s already one of the more surprising cars we?ve driven this year, not simply for its sheer speed across the ground but for the quality of its execution and its composure at high speed thanks chiefly to the downforce.It?s expensive at a whisker under £100k, true, but then there?s nothing else quite like it to drive right now, not at this price point or, indeed, at any price point come to think of it.As a track day car it is sensational, and as a road car it is completely nuts. And that?s nuts as in smashing-super-great. No wonder Radical?s order books are full.  Radical RXC Price £97,000; 0-62mph 2.8sec; Top speed 175mph; Economy 25-40mpg; CO2 n/a; Kerb weight 900kg; Engine V6, 3700cc, petrol; Installation mid, longitudinal, rear wheel drive; Power 380bhp at 6750rpm; Torque 320lb ft at 4250rpm; Gearbox 7-spd paddle shift, sequential

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