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Acronyms and other "odd" information

Pronunciation

Impreza is often mis-spelled with two 'z's, and often mis-pronounced. It's "Im-PRET-sa", not "Im-PRAY-zer".

Subaru is pronounced "Soo-ber-oo" In English. We are reliably informed that, in Japanese, it is pronounced "S'bal"!

The word Subaru, if pronounced backwards reads "You-are-a-Bus!".

Nicknames

The Subaru Impreza (and other Subaru's in fact) are often known as Scoobys, because Subaru sounds vaguely like a favourite Hanna Barbera cartoon character called Scooby Doo. Incidentally, Warner Brothers bought the rights to the Hanna Barbera characters so Scooby t-shirts, fridge magnets and (most crucially) key-fobs can be bought at Warner Brothers shops :-) Meanwhile in Australia the nickname is Rex as the turbo is called WRX.

Logo

The 6 star badge on all Subaru's represents Pleiades (M45) - the most famous star cluster - in the constellation of Taurus. It signifies the coming together of the 6 companies which now make up Fuji Heavy Industries and Subaru is the Japanese name for the constellation.

The cluster has been known for thousands of years, and is mentioned in Homer's Odyssey and three times in the Bible. The Pleiades are also known as the Seven Sisters, because someone with normal eyesight can see seven stars - although the record with the naked eye is said to be nineteen, and many more can be seen with binoculars (the total membership of the cluster is around 400 stars). The brightest star in the cluster is Alcyone. (a name Subaru used to designate a variant of the SVX).

Quite why the Seven Sisters is represented by a six-star logo is not clear. Perhaps its a bit foggy in Japan? :-)

Acronyms

STi are Subaru Tecnica International (the motor sports division of Subaru)

555 is a brand name of British American Tobacco. (a reader has pointed out that 555 in decimal is 22B in hexadecimal. Spooky!)

IM is International Motors, the UK importer of Subaru, Isuzu and Ssangyong cars.

Games

The Impreza features in a few computer games for the Playstation and PC.

Network Q RAC Rally Championship gives you the chance to tackle 28 stages of the original RAC Rally. Venture into Kielder at your peril in one of six rally cars including the 95/6 Impreza with Tony Mason shouting out pace notes as you go!

V-Rally is based on the '97 World Rally Championship and offers all the WRC and some F2 cars. The tracks aren't real but the character of e.g. Sweden, Great Britain, Safari and Corsica are just right. Excellent gameplay, and the night stages are fantastic!

Colin McRae Rally has eclipsed V-Rally somewhat. Again with '97 WRC and F2 cars, along with 'bonus' cars such as Audi Quattro, Ford RS200 and the Mk.II Escort! The graphics aren't a huge improvement over V-Rally, but the dynamics and gameplay are much better. The sound is fantastic, the gameplay is excellent, and of course there's the celebrity endorsement: Colin McRae talks you through the driving school, while Nicky Grist is your co-driver through the stages. A superb game.

International Rally Championship is based on the '97 World Rally Championship a choice of cars including the Impreza WRC and some F2 cars. Like V-Rally, the tracks aren't real but are great fun. You can fine tune the set-up of the cars, compete against up to 16 other networked drivers, and even create you own tracks. Great fun, and available now at a reduced price of about £12 from some stores.

Gran Turismo offers absolutely stunning graphics and realism, with the chance to drive hundreds of production cars including various flavours of new and used WRX (which you can then tune with STi parts!), not to mention the Lancer Evo, Skyline GTR and a lot of "exotica". An essential purchase for the Playstation owner!

V-Rally 2 is based around the same successful V-Rally, but with improved graphics and gameplay.

Colin McRae Rally 2.0 Not surprisingly, is very similar to the highly successful original. Improved handling, better graphics and a much better menu system are offered. Currently this game is only available for the Playstation.

GT2 Just when you thought Playstation games couldn't get any better, along comes GT2, the much awaited successor to Gran Turismo. Improved graphics and gameplay, with much more tuning options available. The range of cars is now simply incredible, with more than 600 to choose from. Comes on two CDs.

Where can I rent an Impreza ?

Well nowhere that we know of currently. There used to be a few car rental companies in the UK that offered Imprezas for hire, but sadly no longer do so following a few accidents, and rumours of the cars being abused on the track. However, there is a holiday company operating in Thailand, where you can spend a week driving high specification turbocharged Imprezas and other desirable cars, on some of the best driving roads in the world. More information can be found on their website at www.cultcartours.com. Tell them that the SIDC sent you, and you may just be able to negotiate a good discount.

"Interesting" quotes from Owners Manual

The best way to preserve your vehicle's beauty is by frequent washing. Wash the car at least once a month to avoid contamination by road grimeIt is recommended that a coat of wax be applied at least once a month, or whenever the surface no longer repels water.Before entering the vehicle, remove any snow or ice from your shoes because that could make the pedals slippery and dangerous.If your Subaru is not going to be used for an extended period, it is best to have the fuel tank filled to capacity.Due to the expansion and contraction of the metals used in the manufacture of the exhaust system, you may hear a crackling sound coming from the exhaust system for a short time after the engine has been switched off. This sound is normal.Never inhale engine exhaust gas.Tyre chains should be placed on the front wheels only.Always use the utmost care in driving - overconfidence because you are driving with an ABS equipped vehicle could easily lead to a serious accident.Never drive with your hand resting on the shift lever. This may cause wear on the transmission components.Never drive with the tachometer needle in the critical engine speed range except for brief acceleration in an emergency.The front passenger's cup holder is built in the centre console. To use the cup holder, open the lid. When not in use, fold the arm and close the lid.

Controls

The Impreza has more than its fair share of inscrutable controls. For example, there's an object in the centre of the dashboard which looks like a radio, but all it seems to do is produces varying degrees of crackle and static :-)

The Bright Switch

The Bright Switch is many Impreza Owners' favourite control, although unfortunately WRXs aren't fitted with one. Rightfully taking pride of place in the centre of the dashboard, this large switch has a deceptively simple function: to override the dimming of the clock when the lights are turned on. Handy for foggy days ...

That Switch on top of the Steering Column

Where many cars have the hazard-light switch, the Impreza has a toggle with a symbol of the car, with what looks like little flashy-light symbols at each corner. Is it a hazard switch? No, it's a parking light switch, keeping the tail & sidelights on when the key is removed.

The Centre Diff Lock

WRX STi owners have a dial which can be used to generate a burning smell from the middle of the car. STiV owner and Nürburgring expert Phil Gardner describes the correct use:

In Practice

With the switch in the open position (green dash indicator at bottom of bar, coloured full green), the car drives like a rear-drive vehicle. Booting it in a bend will unstick the back, all drive is sent to the axle with the least resistance (i.e.: the back), the tyres light up and the a big broadside soon develops. Back off quickly and it snaps back into line (safe but a bit uncomfortable for passengers and not too cool looking), but balance the power and the drift then continues for a while, nicely sideways and feels good into the bargain.As you progressively wind the knob forward, more drive is sent to the front axle, to the point at which the handling feels just like my UK car (about 2/3rds to 3/4 forward I would say).Fully forward (LOCKED on the dash bar) should not be used on the road as the axles are locked and transmission wind-up will occur.

Technical Theory

The STi has 3 controlled differentials; an automatic viscous unit in the front (might actually be mechanical but I doubt it), an automatic mechanical LSD in the rear (you can really feel this one doing its stuff) and a manual, electrically controlled centre diff. UK cars have automatic viscous units in centre and rear positions only, the front retaining an open diff.The centre and rear diffs on STi Type-R's are the ones that have the big effect on handling. In the OPEN position (bottom green sector of dash bar), the diff is just that - fully open. Torque will be transferred to the axle with least resistance (i.e.: rear normally) and handling will be rear biased accordingly. Torque split is 36:64 front:rear, so lighting up the back tyres is easy. In addition to this, the mechanical LSD in the rear axle locks both rear driveshafts together very quickly once slip is detected, spinning both rear wheels and removing nearly all rear lateral stability, i.e.: the car fish-tails if asked to. Compare this to a Ford Crapi that would light up one wheel only and go nowhere.As the centre control is wound forward, more locking is applied to the diff. Slip is controlled closely ensuring that proportionally more drive is sent forwards, thus reducing the rear-drive tendencies. I have found that about 2/3 to 3/4 forward provides handling similar to the UK car.Should the front wheels start to slip, the viscous unit between the driveshafts will progressively lock-up, ensuring that full drive is available to both wheels.If the centre control is fully forward in the yellow 'lock' position, then the centre diff is no longer a diff as it is 100% locked. Torque split is then 50:50. This is identical to locking a centre diff in a Land Rover for example. You cannot negotiate tight bends or roundabouts as the axles require differential slip and there is no diff operation to oblige. On slow bends on the road, you will plough straight on, but on high speed, loose surfaces (rally stages, big fast sweepers at the Ring etc.), stability might be aided. As you can guess, this locked position should be used only off road........ or in heavy snow actually, when going up hill or pulling away. The LSD's in this situation will lock each end, and the centre lock will tie both ends together - useful and actually full, permanent 4WD. Trying to negotiate a snowy corner in this guise will not work for obvious reasons.

Recommendation

Driving environmentCentre diff
Dry, normal drivingOpen
Wet, 'progressive' driving2/3rds Locked
All otherAnywhere between the two

Note: But remember your mechanical sympathy when it comes to using the lock facility. You'll have no comeback on a dealer if you return the car with a wrecked transmission because you were playing with your new facilities! You could buy a shotgun and kill yourself, but that's only because you were stupid, not the shopkeepers fault!

Trivia

The Impreza Coin

A reader tells us that there was a 20p coin minted in the UK in 1996 depicting an Impreza WRC leading an Escort Cosworth on one side, and "Isle of Man 1996" on the other. We're not sure what the circulation of the coin was.

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Page last modified on September 03, 2007, at 09:00 PM
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