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1992 - 1996 - Impreza Turbo AWD (Import version: WRX/STi)

Based and developed from the Legacy, the Impreza was born in November 1992. Retaining the Legacy's now famous EJ20 four-cam, four cylinder boxer engine with it kept Subaru's hig technology. It was destined through the help of Prodrive to compete in the World Rally Championship as a successor to the Legacy.

The Impreza was first introduced to the UK in 1994, initially as a five door hatchback/estate, and later as a 4 door saloon. A number of different models were available, with a choice of 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 litre engines, and a choice of either front or four wheel drive. The Impreza 2000 AWD model, with 211PS and 201lb ft torque, soon became an instant hit.

The AWD system allowed for better roadholding, handling, stability and better braking, something that is required with a turbo car.

The launch price was a low 17,499, compared to the current Escort Cosworth costing 22,500. Insurance was still high back in 1994 at group 17.

In the UK, the 1.6, 1.8 and front wheel drive derivatives were never great sellers, and were dropped from the range in 1996 (although many are still doing sterling service as Subaru dealers' courtesy cars!), leaving the 2.0 GL, 2.0 Sport and 2000 Turbo models. The last few examples of the '96 Turbo model received the revised brake callipers of the '97 model.

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1997 - 1998 - Impreza Turbo AWD (Import version: WRX/STi)

Extensive changes were made to the Impreza over the MY93-MY96 Impreza. Bodywork, chassis, engine and interior were all changed.

The new MY97 Impreza was unveiled at the 1996 NEC British Motorshow. It offered more angular bodywork with the bonnet creased noticeably upwards in the centre rather than down on the MY96. The front grill is no longer horizontally split but now a single opening. The front head lights are squarer and less rounded.

The seats are more supportive, though not as good as Recaros but a lot better than the MY96 standard ones. The roof is lined material rather than plastic, which along with other improvements makes it quieter. The dashboard switch gear for the heater controls was changed from three rotary controls plus a push button to two rotary plus two central sliders. The in-car entertainment is courtesy of a Subaru badged Philips radio cassette with removable fascia panel.

The suspension has been uprated with a larger anti-roll bar which was featured in the MY96 Prodrive upgrade. Brake calipers were also revised. One feature with the MY96 was the ability to beat the syncho mesh mechanism - this has been revised on the MY97.

The Turbo model received a revised engine with a higher compression ratio, low friction pistons, smaller turbo and revised engine management system. Power output was unchanged at 208 bhp, but maximum torque increased by 5% to 214 lb ft at a lower 4,000 rpm.

The MY98 model was unveiled in October 1997. The MY98 saw a major overhaul of the interior, with the introduction of a new dashboard, taken from the Forester, featuring white dials, a computerised odometer and a low fuel light.

Other improvements include a passenger airbag, Momo leather steering wheel, leather covered handbrake lever and a shorter throw gear lever. ICE equipment remained the same but the apertures and grills (and reportedly wiring) for the "tweeter kit" is supplied as standard. Revised inner door panels and centre console that includes the current trend for putting cup holders in cars, completes the changes.

The only external changes are the 16 inch alloys on 205/50 VR16 Bridgestone Potenza tyres now fitted as standard to the Turbo model.

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1999 - 2000 - Impreza Turbo AWD (Import version: WRX/STi)

The 1999/2000 model was officially released here in the UK at the 1998 NEC motorshow. Improvements over previous models are in the engine, which unofficially gets called the "Phase 2 engine". The blow off valve is now different and is mounted directly to the intercooler. Internal modification to the head, now with roller rockers.

The MY99 is fitted with the same 4 pot brakes as seem on the STi to the front with matching 297mm dia. discs (was 286mm), and vented discs on the rear.

The most obvious changes are the wheel design. Out went the much loved curved 5 spoke design, to be replaced with a 6 slender spoke design. Opinions on the new wheel style are generally mixed, but more owners prefer the older 5 spoke design to the newer one.

Suspension, in line with STis, is now considerably firmer.

The new front bumper only has one (instead of 2) horizontal slits outside the foglights and has 1 little orange vent on each side (at the bottom of the bumper). Similar in looks to the 22B. Above this is a new honeycomb front grill and two new headlights.

The MY99 now comes as standard with the higher MY98 STi/Prodrive rear wing. The available colour range has been revised and there is a new dark blue mica, and dark silver. Other colours available are white, red and green mica. A new design seat with different shape/size slit colour patterns. The drivers seat is now tilt and height adjustable.

The Momo steering wheel is also revised. The alarm now meets Thatcham Category 1 as standard. It is similar to the keyless alarm as per the MY98 special edition Terzo but supplied by Sigma. The price went up by 1,185 to 20,950 for the 4-door and 21,450 for the 5-door (metallic extra).

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2001 - 2002 - Impreza 2000 Turbo WRX & STi (Import version: WRX/STi)

The New Age model was introduced to the public in 2000. The first place that the new MY2001 was seen was at the NEC Motorshow in Birmingham, England on 19th to 29th October. There were three models shown, the new turbo with 215BHP power, 292NM torque, a 2.0 litre model called the GX with 123BHP and a 1.6 litre 94BHP 5 door only model called the TS. All feature 4 wheel drive. The WRX is very similar to the Japanese WRX but the fuel mapping for 95RON is probably the main reason for the drop in power.

The new model resulted in a brand new body style with 4 and 5 door shapes available (No 2 doors available) and being rebranded as a WRX and STi (Normally associated with Grey imports). The release of a totally new model with revised engine management, three catalysts and stronger chassis/better crash resistance sees the turbo model being imported to the USA for the first time! In the UK the bucket seat was initially only available in the 5 door, whilst the 4 door gets the air bag less supportive seat. Looking at the engine bay it is apperent the there is now a cold air intake arranged to take its input from the front grill rather inside the bay itself. The blow off valve located on the intercooler has also changed. As well as the two catalysts in the downpipe and center silencer section, hidden is a third catalyst located in the exhaust manifold between the turbo and engine (the up pipe).

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2003 - 2005 - Impreza 2000 Turbo WRX & STi (Import version: WRX/STi)

The 2002 Paris motorshow saw the release of the much face lifted MY2003 with the following changes.

Prodrive (and in particular Peter Stevens) has been involved in the redesign of the front end of the Implreza from the windscreen forwards. This includes, Wings, Bumper and front grill including the foglights, Headlights and Bonnet.

There have also been some minor changes around the back of the car with respect to the light clusters which now feature Lexus style lenses.

Faster, safer, more economical and with a striking restyle, Subaru's new-look Impreza went on sale, costing 19,995 on-the-road for the WRX saloon - down by 1,500, despite many safety and performance improvements. The WRX 5-door was priced at 20,495 - a reduction of 1,500 - and the STi Type UK was 24,995 compared to 27,495 for the previous Prodrive-Style version which it effectively replaced.

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2008 - Impreza WRX & STi (Import version: WRX/STi)

The 2006 model is the fourth and most drastic facelift of the modern Impreza, taking the chassis advances even further by changing what has always been a saloon car in to a modern day hatchback.

Using a five-door style developed from the Impreza model, the new Impreza WRX STi displays a powerful design. Adopting shortened front and rear overhangs, a longer wheelbase and widened body flares. The Impreza WRX STi clearly embodies driving performance in dynamic exterior design that delivers as overwheling presence and beauty.

The new WRX STi is powered by an exclusive 2.5L horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder turbo that produces in excess of 300 horsepower. The car is also equipped with SI-DRIVE (SUBARU Intelligence Drive) which offers stability during extreme driving conditions. Featuring Subaru's unique symmetrical AWD and specially developed in-house 6-speed manual transmission as its base technologies, multi mode DCCD and VDC, which control traction and stability more precisely, have also been added to the WRX STi.

To complete its performance credentials the evolved chassis by "Subaru Dynamic Chassis Control Concept" has dramatically improved road-hugging capability and will provide exhilaration and confidence in every driving situation.

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Page last modified on July 21, 2008, at 09:39 PM
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