..:: Special Editions - RB320, P2, WR1, UK300, P1, RB5, 22B & more
Here we have the complete list of Special Edition Subaru Impreza's were/are available in the UK. There have been many more editions released world wide, but here is the list of UK models along with there specifications.
RB320 - 2007
November 2006, exactly one year after the sad death of Richard Burns from a brain tumour. Subaru UK announced a new special edition of their MY06 Subaru Impreza WRX STi. The RB320 is packaged in Obsidian black, with bespoke black alloys. May not be to everyone's liking but I think it looks fantastic and appropriate for the anniversary. The RB320 is no limited edition paint job, as the name suggests the RB320 delivers around 320bhp from it's WRX STi PPP package. That's a lot of oomph!! Added to that just about every subaru/prodrive option you can think of has been added as standard on the RB320
In 2004, the Subaru World Rally Team finally got back to winning Rally Championships thanks to Petter Solberg and traditionally released a Special Edition Subaru Impreza to celebrate, in the form of the WR1. Based on the latest Subaru Impreza WRX STi the WR1 also had the added Prodrive Performance Pack PPP Which makes this the most powerful and fastest Subaru Impreza you can buy off the shelf!
After a gap of no special editions. Subaru came back in 2001 with a new shaped Subaru Impreza, a new World Rally Title, with the help of Richard Burns , and a therefore a new Special edition in the form of then UK300.
The second special edition to be released in 1999 was the P1, which was more to do with Prodrive than Subaru directly. Prodrive is the company that develops the Impreza's for the World Rally Teams, so they know a thing or two about the Subaru Impreza. Therefore, they decided to release their own special edition Impreza. P1.
Often considered the best Subaru Impreza ever. The Impreza 22B was released in 1998 and came with a new 2.2litre engine. Although overall power was the same torque was improved to to the larger capacity. The 22B was also dresses in 2-door coupe form unlike previous 4-door Impreza's
The Series McRae Subaru Impreza was released in late 1995 to celebrate the achievement of the Subaru 555 World Rally team and Colin McRae winning the World Rally Championship for the first time for both driver and manufacturer.
The Ariel Atom is to blame. For years we ran a competition called 0-100-0, an acceleration and braking test for cars that was, as the name suggested, a sprint from rest to 100mph and back to rest again.
In the earlier years, there was an unpredictability to the results. Lightweights and supercars vied for supremacy, while race and rally cars set non-production records.
And then came the Ariel Atom with a supercharger strapped to its engine, and with it the unpredictability ended. What?ll be quickest? It?ll be the Atom 300. Again. So we canned it.
But, as you may have heard, Autocar turned 120 years old this month, which gave us an idea: reprise 0-100-0 but, to even things up, increase the target speed to a poignant 120mph, thus giving significance to the anniversary and allowing a broader range of cars ? those weighing more than half a tonne ? a greater chance of competing.
Step forward, then, the running order. Ariel?s Atom 3.5R is here, of course, but it?s joined in the lightweight corner by the Caterham Seven 620R and a sort of lightweight, the Radical RXC500. To line up against those, we have what could well be the fastest current supercar, because it has 641bhp and a set of astonishing stoppers, in the shape of McLaren?s 650S. Porsche?s 911 Turbo is probably the only thing that?d run it close, so that?s here, too, as is Nissan?s GT-R and the nowfour-wheel-drive Jaguar F-Type R.
Nine contenders, then, and Blyton Park Driving Centre is our host.
Meeting the contenders
As you might expect from Lincolnshire in early November, Blyton Park is cold when we arrive. But the track is dry and the surface much better than some of the airfields we often use for features. Conditions are good enough, in other words, but will play a little into the hands of things with better traction. Shall we crack on in ascending order? Let?s.
First, (or rather last in this company) then, is Ford?s Mustang. This is not a complete surprise, especially given that traction is at a slight premium, but it?s a newsworthy car and I?m interested to see how it goes. It?s also highly unusual in this company in that it comes with a normal H-pattern gearstick and three pedals. Old school. Tellingly, nothing else here does.
It?s not the easiest thing, in other words, to get off the line, but once you get the rears hooked up after a gentle getaway, the 5.0-litre Mustang takes full throttle in first gear, although its 0-30mph time, the slowest of the day at 2.35sec, sets a theme to come. It is the slowest through 60mph and 100mph and to 120mph ? especially because it needs an upshift to fifth gear at 118mph ? and, by a whisker, is the slowest to stop from 120mph.
We?re using Blyton?s back straight for this, straight-lining a chicane (obvs) that?s usually in place halfway along. It?s plenty wide enough forone car at a time, as flat as anywhere else we?ve used for 0-100-0 and smooth in the braking zone. But is it long enough?
In the Mustang, not quite. The run time you see is a patch of two runs ? one from rest to 100mph, the other 100-120-0 after a rolling start onto the back straight. Its 21.66sec run would be flattering in much company, but not this.
Next comes the A45 AMG, which again I aim at the horizon from the earliest straight start point I can line up on, and engage its launch control.
In the Mercedes, there?s a tiny amount of slip as power is diverted to the rear, but the A45 is only seven-hundredths of a second off the fastest time to 30mph that we record all day. Pulling 60mph in 4.13sec is also very respectable ? although it?s a number that would have needed to start with a three to be at the sharper end of things here.
Aerodynamics overwhelm the A45?s modest power output above 100mph and it wants the second longest time to reach 120mph, by which time quite a lot of the straight has passed and the end is looming rather quickly.
Our VBox GPS data logging gear shows the car?s current speed extremely accurately with barely a delay ? much more quickly than our equipment used to ? but still, as 120mph approaches, you have to anticipate the arrival of your terminal velocity and decide to start braking before 120mph registers on the monitor (which, in this case, is my phone suckered to the windscreen).
There?s always a ?reaction time?, then, and you?ll do well if you keep the speedo below 121mph. (In no case does the time affect the final results, but we?ve left them in.)
The A45 AMG stops with about 30 metres of the straight to spare, thus avoiding the nearby field and giving an overall time of 20.5sec for the 0-120-0 run. I know it won?t trouble the top order. But few other hatchbacks would get close to it.
Jaguar?s F-Type R AWD is next. The F-Type has plenty of traction but no launch control. However, if you wind a little tension into the drivetrain, it gets away very well ? covering 0-30mph in 1.62sec, just two-hundredths of a second slower than the fastest car of the day. It?s under braking that the Jaguar loses out. Its nose pitches forward, and although it?d never trouble you on the road or a track day, it has a few tugs at the wheel as it pulls to a halt in 5.22sec. That?s still good and takes it almost three seconds clear of the A45 AMG overall, but next up the road is more than a second quicker than it.
That turns out to be the GT-R in Track Package specification, which brings tyres that appreciate being warmed through and some Nismo aerodynamics but no increase in the standard 542bhp. So although it has launch control, the Nissan is no faster than the Jaguar from standstill, and there?s a shimmy from the rears, as they struggle to hook up after launch engages power, which isn?t evident in the Jaguar.
But by 60mph it has redressed the balance and overcome the Jaguar ? 3.46sec is quick in any company, except among this lot ? as would be 0-120mph in 10.94sec. The GT-R takes some slowing, mind, because it weighs 1740kg, and asks five seconds precisely to come to a halt.
Then comes the first of what we think of as the lightweights ? although the 1120kg Radical RXC500 isn?t strictly a lightweight like the Caterham or Ariel, but you take the point.
What it shares with those is a transmission that features three pedals and whose clutch can be forgotten about as soon as you?re rolling. The RXC feels like a genuine racing car from the moment you slip inside it, and beavering around to warm the rear tyres is one of the most evocative moments of the day.
There?s no launch control per se, but if you flatten the throttle, the turbocharged V6 will hold a few thousand revs, which are unleashed as soon as you drop the clutch. It?s relatively easy to hook it up, then, but it pays to short-shift to second as the turbocharged power overwhelms the rears in first gear. This shuffling means the leggy Radical is the second slowest to 30mph, a situation it has improved considerably by the time it reaches 120mph, to which it is fifth quickest. This is the lowest-placed car without ABS, but pedal feel is excellent and retardation strong.
Launching a Porsche 911 Turbo S, meanwhile, could scarcely be simpler. You stand on the brake pedal and then rapidly apply some throttle. The clutch of the PDK ?box stays disengaged and the revs will sit at 4000rpm. Release the brake and it fairly lets go. Because it?s cold, there?s a touch of slip, but with a 3.8-litre engine sitting over the back wheels, traction is the least of its issues. A 1.41sec 0-30mph time is faster than anything else by two-tenths.
Left in drive, it?ll upshift itself rapidly, past 60mph in 3.01sec, the fastest of the day, although that?s not an advantage it retains by the time it passes 100mph, at 6.67sec.
But it?s under braking where the Porsche loses out. Not that it?s a big criticism; only three cars here wanted less than five seconds to stop from 120mph and the 911 modestly asked for 5.08sec. It?s good enough to put the Porsche fourth.
Those sub-5.0sec-stopping cars were all in the top three, and two of them weighed precious little. Third overall, then, is Caterham?s 620R, fitted with a sequential gearbox that, like the Radical, needs clutch off the line but not afterwards.
The trouble with a 310bhp Caterham, though, is that, even after a couple of tyre-warming laps, traction is not a strong point. You ask for a few thousand revs, slip the clutch slightly to get away and there are two main probabilities: the rears light up, or the engine bogs down.
In between those two, you can get it about right, though, and the Seven will reach 30mph in a respectable 1.74sec and 60mph in an impressive (given the conditions) 3.5sec. The manual sequential gearbox?s lever ? there are no paddles ? wants a firm pull to engage the next gear, but the shifts are extremely fast if they?re shoved through firmly.
Better, though, is the way it stops. Brake pedal feel is exceptional and all four wheels approach a locking point at the same time ? so at 4.72sec, it?s the second-fastest stopper here, a hundredth quicker than the Ariel.
The Atom, though, holds the advantage ? and second place overall ? because of the way it gets off the line. Thus is the way with Ariels.
There?s no launch control on the supercharged Atom 3.5R, but it doesn?t need it, such is the traction. On manual supercharged Atoms, the fastest way is a full-bore start in second gear, but such is the quickness of the gearshifts on the sequential manual ?box, with a pneumatic actuator for the diddy paddles,that it?s no longer necessary. Only the 911 Turbo S (1.41sec) gets to 30mph quicker than the Atom (1.6sec), and by 60mph the Ariel has clawed back all but two-hundredths of that time, at 3.03sec.
Once, lightweight cars with small-capacity engines and poor aerodynamics would have run out of puff by 120mph, but the Ariel does it in 9.2sec, still three-tenths quicker than the 911. The brake bias needs winding a long way forward to prevent the rear wheels from locking up, but once done, it stops well and the Ariel?s overall time of 13.93sec is a full half a second quicker than the Seven 620R.
Even so, it?s more than a second behind the quickest car here. Perhaps 0-100-0 would have been fairer on the Ariel after all, because it just can?t live with McLaren?s 650S.
That the McLaren is only rear-wheel drive means its launch control is fighting a battle from the off, but once it has passed 60mph in 3.26sec, it is uncatchable; 100mph goes in 6.19sec ? equal first with the Atom ? and 120mph in 8.34sec, far quicker than anything.
But it?s the way the McLaren stops that marks it out as exceptional. Hit the left pedal and the air brake pops up, the 650S dives and thuds echo through its carbonfibre chassis as the brakes sweep off speed at an incredible rate. Just 4.39sec after applying the pedal, you have stopped from 120mph ? a decelerative phenomenon that has to be felt to be believed. And one that contributes to the 650S?s inaugural 0-120-0 title-winning time of 12.73sec.
Maybe 0-121-0 next year, then? Sure, why not? Only ? I confess ? I got to about 122.5mph in the McLaren before it started slowing down. So it has a bit to spare.
The ranking - see more of our contenders in action
BMW is promising that customers will be able to buy a new car online in only 10 minutes, after announcing that the UK will be the first market globally to get the company?s next generation of internet retailing.
Introduced with the co-operation of 137 dealers in the BMW UK network, the new system combines BMW?s existing configurator and ?car suggestion tool? with online Genius chat operators and a tie-in with used car valuations specialist Glass?s. Nine dealers have piloted the system in the UK, selling around 50 cars.
Car manufacturers have been experimenting with increasingly diverse ways of interacting with their customers - including more retail-focused experiences at shopping centres and ?virtual showrooms? that don?t feature any vehicles.
BMW believes it is the first to offer the full ordering and finance process as part of the system, though. The company?s global boss of sales and marketing Ian Robertson said: ?Ten years ago the customer went to the dealership an average of 4.5 times before buying the car; now it?s 1.5 times. So we already know there?s an enormous amount of research being done online - more than 90% of buyers do preparation there before going anywhere near a showroom.?
He admitted the new experience was a challenge to BMW?s existing sales network. ?There was clear nervousness to start with,? he said, ?but during the pilot the dealers have been seeing customers they?ve never seen before, and sold cars in the middle of the night. It was enough to persuade 137 dealers in the UK to sign up to it. We have to reflect the fact that the sales process is becoming more transactional than experiential.?
At present the system is exclusively for BMW vehicles. However, high-level sources admit that a roll-out to the Mini brand is likely.
Six steps - how BMW's E-Tailer works
1. The system asks questions about your needs - typical journey, number of family members etc - and then suggests a few possible choices from the 280 models in the BMW range.
2. Configure a car from scratch or adapt the model suggested by the system. ?Genius? advisors are online to offer any advice between 8am and 10pm, seven days a week.
3. Check the delivery time of the car and spec you want - and see if near-matches to it are available more quickly.
4. Choose the dealer you want to handle your sale - and then open a dialogue with them. BMW says that you can ?haggle? at this point.
5. If you?ve got a car to trade in, you give its registration plate and mileage and the system gives you a rough idea of what it?s worth. You can then feed this figure into the system for the final step.
6. Payment and ordering. Use of a finance calculator allows you to play with annual mileage, monthly payments, deposit and the length of term. You can also apply for finance; an answer takes 90 seconds, BMW claims.You can pay your deposit using a credit card or bank transfer - and the system informs you that the car will be delivered to your home.
2015 Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion 1.0 TSI review
We try the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol version of the Golf Bluemotion. If you're not doing mega miles, it's a better bet than the diesel
Volkswagen's first petrol-powered full-on Bluemotion model - not to be confused with those models carrying the Bluemotion Technology badge. Using the 1.0-litre engine fitted to the Up as a base, VW has added a turbocharger and intercooler to increase power to an Ecoboost-rivalling 113bhp at 5000-5500rpm.Furthermore, torque is up to a healthy 147Ib ft between 2000 and 3500rpm. Thanks to some cunning design and plenty of aluminium, the whole engine weighs just 89kg, which helps the model weigh under 1300kg even with a driver.Not only does the relative lack of mass help account for the 10.5 sec 0-62mph time but it also helps economy. Claimed fuel consumption is just 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions are 99g/km.As with other Bluemotion models, there are further changes to achieve those figures. Up front, you get an active air shutter that can close off the engine bay when cooling air isn?t required. There?s also a small rear spoiler, flat panels to cover the oily bits underneath and 15mm lower suspension. All of these modifications reduce drag, helping this car slide through the air more cleanly than regular Golfs.
Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell
As Hyundai ramps up its hydrogen car production, can the ix35 gain some traction in the UK
The ix35 Fuel Cell is Hyundai?s hydrogen-fuelled car, with more than 250 in active service throughout 11 European countries, including in the UK, as it aims to ramp up its production to medium-scale from 2015 on.Plug-in electric cars may have been hogging the environmentally friendly limelight in recent years, but Hyundai is adamant that the range, usability and edible emissions of hydrogen fuel cells make it the long-term alternative technology to pursue, especially with the Toyota Mirai going on sale in the near future and the Honda Clarity FCV set for a 2017 launch.Hyundai says it started researching hydrogen fuel cells as a viable powertrain back in 1998 and produced the first prototype in 2001. Based on the Santa Fe, the 2001 concept had a 75kW fuel cell, a 72-litre gas tank, a top speed of 77mph and a range of around 99 miles.The 2007 Tucson-based prototype had a 100kW fuel cell, a 152-litre gas tank, a 93mph top speed and a 186-mile range. Today?s car, based on the ix35 SUV has a 100kW fuel cell equivalent to 134bhp, a 144 litre of hydrogen capacity in two tanks, a 100mph top speed and a range of 369 miles.Hyundai has built 1000 examples of this car, with more than 250 ix35s finding a home in 11 European nations, including in the UK, as Transport for London, Johnson Matthey, Air Products and ITM Power all add shiny new hydrogen-powered vehicles to their fleets.After 2015 the Korean company expects to build as many as 10,000 examples per year, a hope driven by the increase of hydrogen re-fuelling stations across the globe.Getting under the Hyundai ix35 FC?s skinFrom the inside and outside - aside from a slightly smaller boot - the ix35 is completely conventional, down to the standard-issue autobox shift lever. Under the skin, however, it is completely new.The fuel, compressed hydrogen at a pressure of 700 bar, is housed in two gas cylinders in place of a conventional petrol tank ? a smaller 40-litre unit in front of the rear axle and a 104-litre tank behind the rear axle.A fuel cell is mounted under the bonnet. The hybrid battery packs are located under the vehicle, positioned in the centre for weight distribution. Inside the fuel cell, an anode and cathode sandwich, and a polymer electrolyte membrane.When the hydrogen flows over the anode, it splits into hydrogen protons and electrons. The polymer electrolyte membrane only allows the protons to pass through. The electrons travel to an external circuit which operates the motor. At the cathode, electrons and protons react with oxygen from the air to create water as a by-product of the process. Hyundai claims the driving range is 369 miles on a tank of gas.The compact SUV uses 0.95kg of hydrogen to cover 62 miles and has a maximum tank capacity of 5.64kg of gas. The front wheels are driven by a 65kW - equivalent to 87.2bhp - electric motor, through a single speed reducer gear.Under the floor is a 24kW battery developed by LG Chemicals, which is used primarily to assist the fuel cell stack when power demand is at its greatest. The battery pack is also used to ?harvest? waste energy from the regenerative braking system.Behind the ix35?s wheelThe biggest compliments that can be paid to the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell is that it looks very much like a regular ix35 from the outside and drives like any other electrically powered vehicle. There are a few subtle differences.Up at the front is a grille that's bespoke on the Fuel Cell variant of the ix35. The grille is functional and there are two cooling radiators behind it, one to cool the stack, the other is for the traditional systems such as air conditioning and so on.A blue-tinged Hyundai emblem provides another hint that this is no ordinary ix35. On the instrumentation panel, the dial on the left indicates ?charge? and ?power? to show when you?re expending the available electricity and when you?re recouping it through regenerative braking.The right-hand dial shows your speed and remaining fuel level. There?s no noise on start-up, or thereafter, and step off from a standstill is impressively brisk, with 221lb ft of torque instantly on tap. Not that the performance is barnstorming; at more that 100kg heavier than a regular ix35, it is more than 1.5sec slower than a 2.0-litre diesel to 62mph, and maxes out at about 100mph.Still, it feels perfectly comfortable to drive in the urban environment for which it is mainly intended. In contrast, the Nissan Leaf - arguably the best of the plug-in bunch - will manage just 100 miles before its battery is exhausted.Thanks to their forever depleting batteries, running the ancillary electrical devices on most EVs is effectively like shooting a hole in your fuel tank, but the FC?s onboard generator makes running the air conditioning full blast seem relatively painless.The fuel filler has a very thin, needle-type nozzle, so there?s no prospect of absent-mindedly pumping 30 litres of derv into your tank. Cleverly, the filler also includes infra-red technology to enable it to 'communicate' with the hydrogen fuel pump so that rate of flow and pressure can be regulated. The toughened hydrogen tanks impinge slightly on available luggage space, which is 436 litres with the rear seats up compared with the 591 litres of the regular crossover.On the short drive around west London, the ix35 rode extremely well and was particularly good at swallowing speed bumps. The car?s poise is undoubtedly helped by the battery pack and gas tanks mounted low down under the floorpan. Compared to the Nissan Leaf, the Hyundai seemed even more composed and able to isolate the passengers from the rough and tumble of city life to a quite exceptional degree.OK, the Fuel Cell will never be an engaging drive, but as a way of criss-crossing cities, it promises to be highly impressive. Hyundai expects the fuel cell to ?last the life of the car?, but admits that the longevity of the unit is affected by both the purity of the hydrogen used and by the local air quality. The latter issue is tackled by the use of super-efficient charcoal air filters.Should I buy the Hyundai ix35?Hyundai announced earlier this year that the ix35 Fuel Cell?s on-the-road price to be £53,105, which includes part funding from the HyFive Project, a scheme designed to bring hydrogen-fuelled vehicles to Europe, with Honda, Toyota, Daimler, BMW and Hyundai all supporting this initiative.The fundamental issue with hydrogen-powered cars is still the chronic lack of the infrastructure required to refuel them, however HyFive is set deploy three more hydrogen re-fuelling points in London by the end of this year, taking the total in the capital to five.Most ix35 Fuel Cells will end up in the hands of councils and corporations initially, as you won?t be able to stray too far: unlike a battery-powered car which can be recharged off any household socket, the iX35 needs a highly specialised hydrogen filling station.However, the range of the ix35 Fuel Cell makes a compelling argument for this type of vehicle over the limited range of electric cars. But it remains to be seen how much this technology will cost the consumer.Matt Burt/ Hilton Holloway/ Nic CackettHyundai ix35 Fuel Cell Price £53,105 OTR; Engine 24kW electric motor and two hydrogen fuel cells; Power 100kW (134bhp); Torque 221lb ft; 0-62mph 12.5sec; Top speed 100mph; Range 369 miles; Gearbox single-speed automatic; Kerb weight 1830kg; CO2 zero
2015 Mercedes-AMG A45 review
Mercedes couldn't let the Audi RS3 get away with having more power than its AMG A45. As part of a wholesale A-Class facelift, it now has 376bhp and a host of other revisions
A good old-fashioned arms race, that's is what it is. Earlier this year the new Audi RS3 came along and trumped the previous A45 AMG?s 355bhp by a whole 7bhp.Naturally this raised an eyebrow or two at Stuttgart, so action had to be taken. Along with flipping the name to read AMG A45 ? in line with current AMG naming policy ? a significant hike in power to 376bhp means it?s back to being the most powerful hot-hatch in town.This boost, plus closer gear ratios and quicker shift times from the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, drop the 0-62mph time to just 4.2sec, which just happens to be 0.1sec quicker than the RS3.You also get a Dynamic Select switch that, like the similar ones in the AMG GT and AMG C63, allows you to switch the driving modes between Comfort and Sport+ depending on your mood.If you specify the optional new AMG Dynamic Drive package, this adds an even sharper Race mode, along with adaptive dampers and a mechanical limited-slip front differential ? aimed at improving traction out of bends and stability during high-speed manoeuvres.Visual changes are subtle but include new LED headlights and restyled front and rear bumpers. Along with a new rear diffuser, the bodywork changes are claimed to clean up the airflow around the car thereby reducing drag, as well as boosting downforce.Inside, it has an 8.0in infotainment screen and sat-nav, but if you go for the optional COMAND system this adds Apple Carplay and Mirrorlink, plus online connectivity.