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Tuesday, 28 June, 2016 - 21:28 (UK)  

..:: The Subaru Impreza Story

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

..:: The History of the Subaru Impreza

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


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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Bentley boss Wolfgang Dürheimer talks about the brand's future
2018 Bentley Continental GT spy We caught up with Wolfgang Dürheimer to discuss what's next from Bentley and what we can expect from the upcoming Continental GT

Autocar: The next step for Bentley and its growth strategy centres around a fifth model. You?ve already indicated it will either be a sporting SUV in the mould of the Porsche Cayenne or a production version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept. Has a decision been made yet?

Wolfgang Dürheimer: ?It is true, we have two options on the table. One is an SUV ? more sporting than the Bentayga. The other is a car in the mould of the EXP 10 Speed 6, which we first showed at the Geneva motor show in 2015. The feedback on this car was so phenomenal that we now have the task of deciding what we will do first.

?You will know by the end of the year. We are working on both. If we had limitless money and manpower, I would do both at the same time. There will be a sequenced approach and you?ll soon see what we go for first.?

A: How much is Bentley investing in the development of new models?

WD: ?The growth strategy of Bentley Motors is going to continue. I project 20,000 sales a year by 2025. Our investment programme in Crewe will also continue. We plan to invest £840 million in Bentley by the end of 2018 in infrastructure, processes and technical equipment. We?re currently building a new paint shop in Crewe that will be one of the finest in the world.?

A: What can we expect from the next Continental GT, which is based on same MSB platform as the second-generation Porsche Panermera?

WD: ?The new model will create even more attention and frenetic applause than the first-generation model. The car will be simply stunning. The ride and chassis tune, as well as the connectivity and entertainment, will bring the Continental GT to a level that hasn?t been achieved so far.

?MSB is a perfect start for the Continental GT. It allows, on the design side, a new approach to the matrix and proportions. I?m in love with this car. We had a design presentation and even people that are not in our core team were speechless. I predict the highest-volume uptake for the Continental ever.

?It was a great strategic decision to use MSB. The degree of design freedom and advantage in proportions and positive outcome in weight is tremendous.? 

Porsche Panamera revealed

How Porsche's new MSB platform will transform future Bentleys

How the Porsche MSB platform will transform future Bentleys
Bentley Arnage

Bentley Arnage
Porsche-developed MSB architecture will improve handling and weight-distribution of future Bentley models

When Volkswagen got its hands on the Bentley brand and factory in 1998, it didn?t have much to work with.

The Arnage was based on a low-volume platform engineered on a very tight budget and the Continental coupé was, arguably, even more outdated in terms of its underpinnings.

When VW started work on its first brand-new Bentley, it employed the platform of the big Phaeton saloon. For the Continental GT, this structure was greatly modified, and it provided a super-modern and rigid basis for the new-age Bentley.

The downside was that it used the period Audi powertrain: a longitudinally mounted engine sited ahead of the front axle. So the whole weight of the engine was, in effect, hanging out ahead of the front wheels.

This is highly undesirable when tuning a car for ultimate handling, although the use of permanent all-wheel drive on the Continental GT did offset the problem to an extent.

Although the VW Group?s best engineers have honed the GT chassis over the years, its replacement by the new Porsche-developed MSB architecture will mark a huge change for Bentley in terms of ultimate handling.

By adopting the new platform, future Bentleys will have much-improved weight distribution because the engine will be sitting well back in the nose of the car, greatly improving steering response and turn-in.

You can also be sure this new Porsche platform will have class-leading rigidity to improve the driving experience. So partnering VW Group stablemate Porsche will be a huge lift for the performance of future Bentley models.

Porsche Panamera revealed

Bentley boss Wolfgang Dürheimer talks to us about the future of the brand

2016 Porsche Panamera revealed
The second generation Panamera is the first to be based on Porsche?s new MSB platform, it's set to rival Audi's A8 and the Maserati Quattroporte

The second-generation Porsche Panamera has been unveiled at an event in Berlin, ahead of UK deliveries arriving in November.

The new Panamera is a car that, Porsche says, has been ?redeveloped and realigned down to the last detail? in a renewed challenge to luxury rivals, such as the soon-to-be-replaced Audi A8, latest BMW 7 Series and newly updated Maserati Quattroporte.

The all-new liftback-style saloon replaces today?s seven-year-old model, which has contributed to record sales for the German car maker in recent years. The initial line-up comprises three four-wheel drive models: the £88,700 Panamera 4S, £91,788 Panamera 4S Diesel and £113,075 Panamera Turbo.

Live stream of the reveal 

Further derivatives are planned for early next year, including entry-level rear-wheeldrive variants with petrol and diesel engines, as well as successor models to today?s GTS and petrol-electric plug-in S Hybrid.   

The new Panamera is based on the second incarnation of Porsche?s MSB (or modular standard architecture) platform. It contributes to a reduction in weight through the use of aluminium for the main structure as well as the bonnet, wings, roof and tailgate.

Although Porsche hasn?t specified the Panamera?s kerb weight, a claimed power-to-weight ratio for the Panamera Turbo of 3.6kg per 1PS (Pferdstärke, equivalent to 0.986bhp) would suggest that it tips the scales at 1980kg, which is 10kg more than the outgoing version.  

The new model marks a concerted effort by Porsche?s design team to provide the Panamera with some of the iconic stylistic cues of the 911, with tauter surfacing and more precise swage line detailing.

Dimensionally, the new Panamera has put on 35mm in length (to 5050mm), 5mm in width (1935mm) and 5mm in height (1423mm). This makes it 50mm shorter, 35mm wider and 67mm lower than the latest BMW 7 Series.

A more curved roofline has reduced the height above the rear passenger compartment by 20mm, with the effect that the new Panamera looks lower and longer than before. This is further enhanced by a wheelbase that is 30mm longer, at 2950mm.

Despite the reduction in roof height at the back, Porsche says rear head room has increased. So has the boot capacity, up by 50 litres over the first-generation Panamera, at a nominal 495 litres. That extends to 1304 litres when the standard 40/20/40 split rear seat is folded.

The new Panamera is the first recipient of Porsche?s new turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 and twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engines. In a move that is becoming increasingly common among performance car makers, the new V6 and V8 engines rely on twin-scroll, counter-rotating turbochargers that are mounted centrally within the space between the two cylinder banks. This, claims Porsche, provides shorter charging paths for added response and greater torque at lower engine speeds.

The new engines come mated to a new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and a reworked version of the multi-plate-clutch four-wheel drive system used by the Mk1 Panamera.

In the Panamera 4S, the new turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 delivers 434bhp at 5650rpm and 405lb ft of torque between 1750rpm and 5500rpm ? sufficient for the car to hit 62mph from rest in 4.2sec (when equipped with the Sport Chrono package) and reach a top speed of 180mph.

The new turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 in the new Panamera Turbo develops 542bhp at 5750rpm and 568lb ft between 1960rpm and 4500rpm. When the car is fitted with the Sport Chrono package, it has an official 0-62mph time of 3.6sec, beating its predecessor by 0.5sec and delivering the same 190mph top speed.   

New to the line-up is the Panamera 4S Diesel. It is the first Panamera model to be offered with a V8 diesel engine. The 4.0-litre unit produces 416bhp at 3500rpm and 626lb ft of torque from 1000rpm to 3250rpm. The new V8 oil burner provides the Panamera 4S Diesel with the distinction of being the world?s fastest production diesel, according to Porsche, with an official 0-62mph time of 4.3sec (in combination with the Sport Chrono package) and a 177mph top speed. Perhaps even more impressive is its fuel efficiency: a combined 42.2mpg, with average CO2 emissions of 176g/km.

Porsche makes big claims about the new Panamera?s agility. It features a new electromechanical steering system and, mirroring recent developments in its sports car line-up, four-wheel steer in a bid to further enhance steering precision despite the car?s increase in dimensions.

Lower-end models continue to have standard steel sprung suspension, whereas upper-end models, including those available at launch, adopt a newly developed air suspension system with three-stage dampers in combination with electronic damper control and dynamic chassis control that supports torque vectoring and active roll stabilisation.

Changes to the electrical system have brought a number of new driver assistance features, such as InnoDrive, an autonomous driving function that includes adaptive cruise control.

Inside, the Panamera introduces a new interior design with touch-sensitive surfaces along the middle console conceived to reduce the number of buttons confronting the driver.

Described as continuing the digitalisation theme that began with the interior of the 918 Spyder, the dashboard houses a heavily hooded instrument binnacle with a traditional, centrally mounted analogue rev counter book-ended by two 7.0in high-definition displays. A 12.3in touchscreen is used for the various functions of the Porsche Communication Management system, including navigation, entertainment and connectivity features.

The new Panamera can be ordered now and UK deliveries will begin in November.

Along with the liftback Panamera pictured here, Porsche is also putting the finishing touches to an estate variant, first previewed by the Sport Turismo concept at the Paris motor show in 2012 and due on sale by the end of next year.   

New Bentley Continental GT to share same Panamera platform

This second-generation of Porsche?s MSB platform is set to play an important role in the future of Porsche and its Volkswagen sister company, Bentley. It is claimed to offer more flexibility than its predecessor, thanks to a larger number of track and wheel base combinations. 

It will underpin the Panamera in both standard and long-wheel base (Executive) guises and liftback and estate bodystyles. It is also being used for next year?s all-new Bentley Continental GT coupé, as well as a follow-up to the Continental GT Convertible and a Flying Spur replacement. 

Earlier comments from former Porsche boss Matthias Müller suggested the MSB structure would also be used underneath a spiritual successor to the 928, but Autocar can confirm that development of this particular model is yet to begin in earnest.

?We?re exploring other avenues,? said Gernot Döllner, project leader for the new Panamera. However, with engineering activities at Porsche?s Weissach-based research facility already pushed to the limit with next year?s all-new Cayenne, as well as the next-generation 911, plans for a two-door coupé in the mould of the 928 have been now placed on hold.

Don?t rule out the MSB platform supporting another two-door coupé and a possible convertible, though. Indications are that Bentley boss Wolfgang Dürheimer is close to giving the go-ahead to a production version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept revealed at the Geneva motor show last year, using a short-wheelbase version of the new platform. 

Bentley Continental GT spotted with production body

New Porsche MSB platform will transform future Bentleys 

Bentley boss Wolfgang Dürheimer talks to us about the future of the brand

Video: Why the Volvo XC90 won a 2016 Game-Changer Award
Volvo XC90 video Autocar The Volvo XC90 was announced as one of the Autocar Game-Changer Award winners in 2016. We reveal why

The Volvo XC90 won the 2016 Autocar Game Changer Award because of its many talents in practicality, comfort and advanced technology. In the video below, we explain why it is such a likeable SUV in more detail.

The XC90 is a car we know very well - we've been running one on our long-term test fleet.

It faces stiff competition from the likes of the Range Rover and BMW X5, but offers its own, unique owner experience that helps it stand out in what is a highly competitive class. As a result, we think it's highly deserving of its new award. Do you agree?

Lister Jaguar Knobbly Stirling Moss Editions on sale for £1 million
Lister Jaguar Knobbly Stirling Moss Edition Ten handmade magnesium-bodied Knobblys will be made to exact specification of original 1958 race winner

Lister Motor Company has announced that it will build 10 Lister Jaguar Knobbly Stirling Moss Editions to the exact specification of the original magnesium-bodied Lister works cars of 1958.

None of the original lightweight cars have survived, so the 10 new cars will be the only all-magnesium bodied vehicles in the world. They will be built exactly like the car that Sir Stirling Moss drove to victory at Silverstone in 1958.

Like Moss?s racing car, the Stirling Moss Editions will feature low-drag ?long wing? front wings, a magnesium engine sump, magnesium clutch and differential casing and a lightweight tubular steel chassis.

The use of magnesium instead of aluminium (the material used in the regular cars) lengthens the body production time from four to six weeks to 12 to 18 weeks.

It?s also harder to source ? so hard that Lister has had to use magnesium normally reserved for helicopters - but the material is about 30% lighter than aluminium and so offers significant performance improvements.

Each car will be painted in classic Lister green and yellow paint the same as the original Moss racer, and will feature a solid sterling silver number plaque with an engraving of Moss?s signature.

The engine will be the same 3.8-litre Jaguar D-Type racing unit found in the regular continuation Knobbly, also built to original specification.

When each car is finished, Moss will personally hand it over to its buyer with a welcome letter.

Lister CEO Lawrence Whittaker said of the new continuation Knobbly: ?None of the original magnesium-bodied ?works? Lister Knobblys survived from the 1950s, so the fortunate few who get to own a Stirling Moss Edition will be getting a period-correct continuation ?works? Lister made using the same techniques as the original."

Sir Stirling Moss added: ?I?m looking forward to meeting the new owners and seeing some of these amazing cars on the historic racing circuit being driven flat out as they were designed to be.?

Lister is charging £1 million for each car and expects production of the first models to commence later this year. First deliveries are predicted to arrive in the autumn of 2017.


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