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...
The platform is being produced to be scalable, with ?entry-level? versions enabling level 3 autonomy, where the car can become autonomous in certain scenarios like motorways. Top level 5 cars will be able to control themselves in all scenarios.
The platform will be used by future BMW Group and FCA models, benefitting from software and hardware supplied by American tech company Intel and Isreali driverless tech company Mobileye.
A fleet of 40 autonomous vehicles will make it onto roads before the close of 2017 to test the software and hardware. This fleet will be added to an existing 100 vehicles that have already been deployed by Intel and Mobileye.
?In order to advance autonomous driving technology, it is vital to form partnerships among automakers, technology providers and suppliers,? said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne. ?Joining this cooperation will enable FCA to directly benefit from the synergies and economies of scale that are possible when companies come together with a common vision and objective.?
BMW is the first of the two car brands to confirm when its autonomous model, the iNext, will arrive. Due in 2021, it will offer level 3.5 autonomy and use an all-electric drivetrain capable of over 311 miles.
Concept?s bonnet features the clamshell design that is a hallmark of previous Z4s
Rear-wheel-drive two-seater boasts fresh styling, revised engines and a new soft-top; it previews a production Z4 due next year
BMW has revealed the Concept Z4, a preview of the German firm?s third-generation roadster, at the Pebble Beach Concours d?Elegance in California.
Boasting a fresh look, new underpinnings and a revised range of engines, the two-seat soft-top has been developed ?in a joint engineering programme with the new Toyota Supra, which will be offered exclusively in coupe? guise.
The appearance of the Concept Z4 comes more ?than six months before BMW plans to unveil the production version at the Geneva motor show in 2018. UK sales will be under way by the middle of next year.
While some of the more flamboyant design features will be toned down, the overall styling and detailing of the concept is claimed to be ?very close to the production car. Design boss Adrian van Hooydonk said the car ?expresses the new BMW design language from all perspectives and in all details?.
The Concept Z4 is bigger than the current model, with a longer wheelbase and wider tracks. BMW rethought the proportions in a bid to provide it with a more focused look. ?A shorter bonnet and crisp overhangs ensure the driver sits closer to the centre of the car than in previous BMW roadsters,? said van Hooydonk. The approach signals BMW?s determination to shift the Z4 further upmarket. During the car?s development, BMW board members considered renaming it. However, the German car maker?s naming system groups even numbers among its coupe?s and cabriolets, so the long-mooted Z5 badge was never seriously considered.
A BMW source said: ?We would have had to call it the Z6. And while there has been a move upmarket, it?s not quite big enough to warrant that name. In the end, we settled on retaining the Z4 name.?
The Concept Z4 features another interpretation of BMW?s signature kidney grille, seen recently on the Concept X2 and Concept 8 Series.
In place of the customary vertical bars, the insides of the kidney grille feature a new mesh that van Hooydonk said was inspired by the functional treatment used on early BMW roadsters, including the iconic 328 Mille Miglia.
The long bonnet, meanwhile, retains the clamshell design of previous Z4 models. On the concept, it features two vents. However, these are unlikely to make production, according to Autocar?s sources.
Certain licence has also been taken with the concept?s windscreen, which does not have the sturdy surround of the production version, and the two metallic domes conceived to act as rollover protection will be replaced by more conventional rollover hoops on the production roadster.
Although BMW has yet to officially confirm it, the new Z4 eschews the folding hard-top of today?s model for a traditional fabric hood. Already sighted on prototype versions of the two-seater, the hood folds and stows underneath a dedicated tonneau cover at the rear of the cabin.
BMW has provided a clear glimpse of the look and layout of the new Z4?s interior. The production car will have a flowing dashboard and relatively wide centre console resembling those of the concept. Features such as the digital instrument panel and head-up display included in the show car will also make their way on to the new roadster. However, the brushed aluminium and carbonfibre trims will be replaced by more cost-effective composite plastic materials.
Accommodation is said to have improved thanks to the car?s increased overall dimensions. Boot capacity is also claimed to top the 310 litres of the outgoing Z4.
The new Z4 is underpinned by BMW?s CLAR (cluster architecture) platform. It is already used by the 2, 5 and 7 Series and is also set to be adopted by the upcoming 8 Series and the successor to today?s 3 Series. The CLAR platform is allied to a multi-material body structure, featuring a combination of high-strength steel, aluminium and magnesium. Insiders suggest the new roadster will tip the scales at under 1400kg in its most basic form, despite the increase in dimensions.
An internal BMW document seen by Autocar revealed that the new Z4 will be offered with a choice of two petrol engines from the start of sales. The first is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit expected to develop around 181bhp in the Z4 sDrive20i and 248bhp in the Z4 sDrive30i. The second engine powers the Z4 M40i and is the latest incarnation of BMW?s B58 turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine. It is rumoured to develop the same 355bhp as it does in the X4 M40i.
A full-blown M version of the roadster, running the BMW performance car division?s 425bhp twin-turbo 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder, has also been mooted, but it has yet to be officially confirmed by BMW.
True to tradition, the three initial Z4 models retain the rear-wheel-drive layout that has been part of the two-seat roadster?s appeal since its introduction in 2002. Buyers are set to be offered the choice of a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic in combination with all engines.
Production of the new Z4 and Supra will start at the plant of Austrian manufacturing specialist Magna in early 2018.
The new Audi RS3 is a monster of a hot hatchback. It has a 2.5-litre, turbocharged, five cylinder engine making a whopping 394bhp, which it puts through all four of its wheels.
So it should be faster than the (relatively) puny 335bhp BMW M140i, right?
Well, let's see, in this Audi RS3 versus BMW M140i track battle.
But going faster from point-to-point is one thing. Having fun while you're doing it is quite another. And so to the more pertinent question: which of these mega hot hatchbacks its the more entertaining steer. Join Matt Prior and Mauro Calo as they find out.
Another Aston Martin executive has left to join Dyson as speculation surrounding the appliance company?s first car grows.
David Wyer has left his role as director of purchasing at Aston Martin after 22 years at the the company to become Dyson's head of procurement, reports Bloomberg.
Wyer is the second Aston Martin executive in as many years to head to Dyson after product development director Ian Minards moved into the same role at the Wiltshire-based company.
The move caused a stir, as did Dyson's hiring of Tesla communications executive Ricardo Reyes earlier this year, fuelling the intense speculation around the British company's development of an electric car.
Wyer confirmed his exit from Aston Martin on professional social media site Linkedin, saying: ?So, after 22 years at Aston Martin, today is my last day as I leave one great company to take up an exciting opportunity with another, as Head of Procurement at Dyson.
?I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Aston Martin and have many great memories that will stay with me for a long time. I firmly believe that you work for people, not a company, so I wanted to take this opportunity to thank a couple of people that I have worked for over the years.?
More speculation was stirred up around the Dyson car last year, when a government document read: ?The Government is funding Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at their headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. This will secure £174 million of investment in the area, creating over 500 jobs, mostly in engineering?.
The document was quickly altered to say ?The Government is providing a grant of up to £16m to Dyson to support research and development for battery technology at their site in Malmesbury.?
Earlier this week, a faithful reader from Australia called Darren contacted us with an enviable problem ? he can?t decide whether to buy a like-new condition Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R or a brand new Toyota GT86.
This is easy, I thought. Both are fantastic cars, but you?d have to have the hot Mégane, right? I mean, it?s essentially a front-wheel-drive Porsche 911 GT3 and financially speaking, it?s going to be the one to appreciate.
But then I paused, pondering the purity of a front-engined, rear-wheel drive sports car. Surely, my conscious countered, if the prospect of appreciation were ignored, the GT86 would be the more natural choice for a driving enthusiast.
My heart was almost sold on the GT86. Then I remembered a comment said a few years back in the office of Evo Magazine, my previous employer, where Autocar contributing writer Dan Prosser also used to work. After a stint on circuit in some of the year?s hottest hatches, he asked ?why would you ever need rear-wheel drive when front-drivers handle like that??.
Those words reverberated with me when I had my first stint in a 275 Trophy-R. At the time, it was the most focused road car I had driven, yet it was also one of the most approachable. It had ultra-responsive steering guiding the sharpest chassis I?d encountered, all to the soundtrack of the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine?s distinctive ?blast furnace? voice ? a byproduct of the remnants of 271bhp being channelled through an Akrapovi? exhaust.
Drive it at a snail's pace and the Mégane still feels special, largely because you?re held between the bolsters of a delicious Recaro bucket seat and strapped into a red racing harness. Behind you, there?s nothing but a half roll cage and the crackling sound of stones tapping the rear wheel arches, such is the lack of insulation. The Trophy-R is a road-legal touring car.
The GT86, on the other hand, feels rather regular at first. Okay, its seating position is low and you?re always conscious of the car?s sleek body, but the atmospheric four-pot boxer engine feels strangled below 3000rpm and the interior is uninteresting.
Spend five minutes pootling through town in one, never tapping into its engine?s high-rpm groove, where 197bhp live, and you?d question the legitimacy of the car?s claimed 0-62mph time of 7.6sec ? which isn?t particularly fast in the first place.
Darren won?t be driving his car through town very often, though, since his purchase will spend its time on country lanes and sometimes on track. This drastically helps the case of the GT86, because at pace and on the limit, it's one of the most engaging cars money can buy in any price bracket.
In a race, the Trophy-R, on its sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, would be so far off into the distance that it?d be a mere speck on the horizon by turn three. But the driver of the GT86, with its Prius-spec Michelin Primacy HP tyres, wouldn?t care, because of the workload required from behind their car?s steering wheel. This is a car with a 53/47 front to rear weight distribution, remember. It?s exhilarating to drive on the limit.
At this point, I was stuck. The choice was simple: pure rear-wheel-drive sports car or ultra-focused road legal touring car, a pair of very different offerings but both equally as appealing as the other. In the end, I stuck to my guns and recommended the Trophy-R, because it is such a special place to depress pedals and turn an Alcantara-wrapped wheel. But I did so with doubt, knowing that a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive sports car is possibly the purest form of performance car in existence.
In reality, the rarity of the Trophy-R means it?s also the smart choice for a buyer; no doubt it?ll become an auctioneer?s favourite in a few decades from now. But true car enthusiasts don?t buy cars for their investment value. So, I ask you, Autocar reader, where would your money go?