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Wednesday, 29 March, 2017 - 22:49 (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.

1992

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.

1993

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.

1994

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.

1995

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.

1996

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.

1997

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.

1998

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!

1999

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.

     

2000

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!

2001

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.

2002

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.

2004

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!

2005

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!...

2006

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!

       

2007

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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Video: Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster review
Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster Mercedes has taken the roof off of the Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster, creating a new soft-top model to take on the Porsche 911 Cabriolet and the Jaguar F-Type convertible

Mercedes has taken the roof off of the Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster, creating a new soft-top model to take on the Porsche 911 Cabriolet and the Jaguar F-Type convertible

With a 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine and rear-wheel drive, the AMG GT coupe is already among our favourite sports cars and, as our reviewer Matt Prior finds out here, it has lost very little in translation between coupe and soft-top roadster.

Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster 2017 review
Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster 2017 It's the slower and cheaper of the two AMG GT Roadsters, but these adjectives are harsh given this excellent open-top's broad range of talents The new GT Roadster returns an open-top to the upper end of Mercedes-AMG?s line-up, acting as an indirect successor to the earlier SLS roadster.The latest in a long line of recent AMG models, it will be sold in two distinct flavours: this, the standard GT Roadster, and its faster, pricier sibling, the GT C Roadster, which is derived from the GT S Coupé.The GT Roadster costs from £110,145, and while that's £11,950 more than Mercedes-AMG asks for the cheapest of its fixed roof siblings, the GT Coupé, it still undercuts the price of its nearest rival, the Jaguar F-Type SVR Convertible, by £3650. In comparison, the GT C Roadster will set you back a cool £139,445.Mercedes-AMG says the GT Roadster was conceived at the same time as the GT Coupé, so isn't a mere afterthought, despite the fact that it has arrived more than two years after its fixed-roof sibling. This is reflected in its styling, which is richly cohesive, both roof up and down.  This styling, including the 'Panamericana' grille, first introduced on the range-topping GT R Coupé late last year, have resulted in a very good-looking car. The only real difference in styling between the two GT Roadsters is at the rear, where the GT C Roadster is 57mm wider, due to it having the same, sportier bumper of the GT R Coupé.  This allows it to run larger 20in rear wheels and thicker tyres than those wrapped around the GT Roadster's 19in rims.The GT Roadster has an automatically folding fabric roof. It's a three-layer structure, available in black, red or beige, that is supported by a frame made from aluminium, magnesium and steel. It opens and closes in just 11sec while you're driving at speeds up to 31mph, folding and stowing over the rear bulkhead behind the two seats.To offset the reduction in rigidity due to the loss of a fixed roof structure, the GT Roadster's aluminium body is stiffened with thicker sill elements, an additional dashboard support and a new aluminium cross-member integrated into the rear bulkhead that supports for fixed roll-over bars.Under the bonnet is a lightly revised version of the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine first used in the standard GT Coupé, but with 13bhp and 21lb ft more than in that car, producing a total of 469bhp and 464lb ft.That's 80bhp and 37lb ft shy of the more heavily tuned version of the same engine run by the GT C Roadster, and also a considerable 106bhp and 52lb ft less than the larger supercharged 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine of the F-Type SVR Convertible.The GT Roadster has the same seven-speed Speedshift dual-luth automatic gearbox as the GT Coupé, but again it's slightly altered, with higher first and lower seventh gears, as well as a lower final drive. It also gets a Dynamic Select controller with four driving modes as standard: Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. Reflecting its more serious performance nature, the GT C Roadster adds a fifth mode: Race.Optional extras on the GT Roadster include a £4195 Premium equipment pack, which includes keyless entry and start functions, a reversing camera and stainless steel door sills; a £3895 carbonfibre package; and £395 yellow seat belts. Electronic safety aids are also available, with a £595 package that adds lane keeping and blind spot assists, while the £1695 Driving Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control and a pre-safe system that prepares the car for an accident if an imminent collision is detected.

Mercedes AMG GT C Roadster 2017 review
Mercedes AMG GT C Roadster 2017 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster arrives with an upgraded chassis over the Coupé and tweaks that make it even more thrilling to drive It?s a Mercedes-AMG GT without a roof. It?s called the GT Roadster, unsurprisingly, and it?s tested here in an all-new ?C? specification, which sits between the GT S, which is quite fast, and the all-mouth and also all-trousers GT R, which is extremely fast.That broadens out the GT range to quite a few models now, possibly confusingly, so here?s the simplified rundown. You can get a GT as a coupé and a roadster. All have a 4.0-litre V8 but the angriness of the car and engine package varies. There?s the standard GT, with a mechanical limited-slip differential and 469bhp. Then there?s the GT S, which gets an electronically controlled limited-slip differential and 515bhp. At the moment, this is a coupé only, but a roadster version will come.Now there?s the GT C, which looks more like the very angry R model (more of which below) and gets that car?s wider bodywork and wider track, plus rear-wheel steering and a power output of 550bhp. At the moment, the GT C is available as a roadster only (the car I?m testing here), but a coupé will follow.And then there?s the GT R: the Porsche 911 GT3 of the Mercedes-AMG GT range, if you like. This has all kinds of angriness and 576bhp and is currently a coupé only (but that might change). The designs of both coupé and roadster versions of the GT have been updated to look more like the R model, which means they get the prominent ?Panamericana? grille.Got that? Good. The important thing for now is that the GT has become a roadster, so it is available with a three-layer fabric hood that can be raised or lowered in 11sec at vehicle speeds of up to 30mph. You can have the hood in a choice of three colours and the interior in more colours than you?ve hitherto been able to have, too.Again, this broadens the appeal of the GT in the same way that Porsche does so intelligently with the 911, making a car for all tastes, countries and levels of driving enthusiast. You or I might like a GT R Coupé with matt paintwork, the Track Pack and the carbon-backed seats. A Floridian tennis coach might want a standard roadster with a beige roof. Now everybody can have what they want.All GT roadsters get, like the coupés, a mixed-metal monocoque, with a little steel, quite a lot of aluminium and bit of magnesium here and there. In its C form, you can also add some composites, notably for the bootlid, which means that the car weighs 1735kg.That?s still a fair amount (65kg) heavier than a standard GT roadster, on account of the differential, the active rear steer, more cooling necessity, the wider body/track, and the fact that the C comes with adaptive damping as standard, as well as larger wheels ? 19in on the front and 20in on the rear. It also has a leather upgrade inside.Nonetheless, the power increase is sufficient to give the C a 0-62mph time of 3.7sec, compared with 4.0sec in the regular roadster, and a top speed of 196mph to the standard roadster?s 188mph. You?ll probably want the roof up if you try to attain either. That 4.0-litre V8 I mentioned earlier has two turbochargers and drives the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission mounted at the rear. 

Bespoke Rolls-Royce Wraith models celebrate legendary British musicians
Bespoke Rolls-Royce Wraith models celebrate legendary British musicians

Nine Rolls-Royce Wraiths will be built in tribute to famous British musicians
Cars are dedicated to careers of nine famous names, including The Who?s Roger Daltrey and Sir Ray Davies of The Kinks

Nine special Rolls-Royce Wraith models have been commissioned to celebrate icons of British music.

The cars are dedicated to the careers of famous musicians including The Who?s Roger Daltrey, Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Ray Davies of The Kinks and Ronnie Wood. Producer Sir George Martin - famous for work that includes The Beatles - also has a car.

The first four cars were unveiled today at an event in Fitzrovia, London. Of the finished Wraiths, one features artwork from The Who?s album Tommy on its bonnet. Another features embroidery of Sir George Martin?s number one records with hand-written lyrics and quotes.

Last Rolls-Royce Phantom VII produced as one model

Additionally, each car gets a Union Jack flag on their C-pillars to signify the nationality of the artists.

Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said ?So many [artists] have turned to Rolls-Royce to celebrate their success with the ultimate display of originality and creativity. This collaboration ? with some of Britain?s most celebrated musicians ? promises to add to this legacy, creating truly unique collectors? items which also support worthy charities.?

Money raised from the sale of the special edition cars will be donated to charities selected by each artist.

Kia Picanto GT Line 1.2 MPI 2017 review
Sporty GT Line styling gives Kia's city car the visual lift it needs to go toe-to-toe with its European rivals, and the 1.2-litre engine does a power of good for its drivability This is the third-generation Kia Picanto city car as the Korean car-maker would doubtless prefer you first laid eyes on it: in new upper-trim-level ?GT Line? form, complete with 16in alloy wheels, sports body styling, bi-xenon headlights and plenty of other ritzy features. Unlike six years ago, the Kia now has the classy VW Up, the striking Toyota Aygo and the quirky Suzuki Ignis to contend with. With style-conscious twenty-something buyers to lure, it may well need these more impactful looks in order to hold its own.The Picanto will be available in the UK market in five trim levels, starting at ?1?, progressing through ?2? and ?3?, and culminating in ?GT Line? and ?GT Line S? specification. The latter, in all likelihood, will describe the car with the combination of high equipment level and Kia?s new 1.0-litre, 99bhp turbocharged petrol engine ? which we?ll drive later.The GT Line styling kit adds extended front and rear valances and side sills to the standard Picanto?s already-relatively-pumped-up form, as well as exterior trim finishers for the grilles and sills that can be had in red, satin chrome or black. Chromed twin exhaust tips also feature.As we reported earlier of the cheaper 1.0-litre version, the new Picanto is based on a widely overhauled body-in-white that?s longer in the wheelbase and shorter in the front overhang than the last version was ? as well as 40 per cent torsionally stiffer and 21kg lighter. Stiffer anti-roll bars, re-tuned springs and dampers, an all-new torsion beam rear suspension system and a quicker steering rack are key parts of the chassis overhaul.Going for the 1.2-litre engine instead of the entry-level 1.0-litre means paying what?s likely to be a £1000 premium on the list price, though it?ll make little difference to what your Picanto will cost to own otherwise. Peak power jumps from 66- to 83bhp and torque from 71- to 90lb ft. The latter benefits from a significantly more linear torque curve than the cheaper three-cylinder motor, and also allows Kia to fit gear ratios for the 1.2 that are around seven per cent taller than those of the 1.0.

       

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