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...
Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up this week's gossip from across the automotive industry
This week's gossip from the automotive industry has news of BMW's plug-in hybrid ambitions, Kia's Rio GT, complications of PCP deals, the future of hydrogen power and Mazda outlines the hardest part of creating an EV.
BMW's plug-in hybrid and electric ambitions
BMW sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson expects the company to sell 100,000 plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles this year. That?s the same number it has sold overall since the i3 went on sale in 2014. He put the growth down to the increasing popularity of the technology and the wider choice of models on sale.
Kia will reveal its Rio GT hot hatch in 2021, when the just-launched fourthgeneration car will be due a facelift. Kia?s Ford Fiesta ST rival has been rumoured for some time, but other projects, including the Stinger sports saloon and an upcoming B-segment SUV, have taken priority.
List prices of cars are almost becoming irrelevant due to the popularity of PCP deals, according to a senior UK executive. They said the monthly cost was now by far the most important factor in determining a car?s true cost to the consumer.
Hydrogen will eventually become a big-selling fuel type, almost as popular as petrol, according to Hyundai UK boss Tony Whitehorn. He believes fuel cell powertrains will one day be as ubiquitous on cars as sunroofs or sat-navs.
Mazda R&D boss Kiyoshi Fujiwara has revealed that the most complex part of developing EVs is making the power management systems that control the batteries communicate with the car. He pointed to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone and its tendency to catch fire as evidence of how badly it can be if you get it wrong.
Techrules has been testing its EV model at Monza, Italy
Chinese automotive research company will reveal a production-ready version of its turbine-electric hypercar; more TREV models due later
The Techrules GT96 turbine-recharging electric supercar will make its world debut in production-ready form at the 2017 Geneva motor show, one year after a concept version was first shown to the public.
First images of the final car have been released following a testing stint at Italy's Monza circuit. The images show a camouflaged development car with a central driving position and fighter jet-style canopy roof.
The Chinese manufaturer's model will use Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) technology, a range-extending micro-turbine system which generates electricity to charge the battery pack. The battery then powers the motors that drive the wheels.
The car has been designed by Fabrizio and Giorgetto Giugiaro and is said to provide different configurations for the interior around the centrally-positioned driver. The chassis has been engineered by international motorsport specialist L. M. Gianetti.
Other design features include laser headlights and reversing LEDs with an integrated rear-view cameras. Techrules said this technology will be used 'across a family of models' in the coming years.
The hypercar was previewed last year with the GT96 concept. That car featured plug-in charging capability for markets with access to charging networks. If it retains the set-up of the concept, the 2017 model will feature a lightweight carbonfibre monocoque design and be powered by six electric traction motors, each weighing 13kg. The front wheels will be driven by individual single motors, while the rear wheels will be driven by a pair to each corner. Peak combined power output of the concept was 1030bhp, and it could sprint from 0-60mph in 2.5sec and onto a top speed of 217mph. Electric-only range was projected to be up to 93 miles, and the total range to be more than 1200 miles from 80 litres of aviation kerosene ? or a fuel with the equivalent calorific value ? using the TREV range extender.
The concept's powerplant featured a micro-turbine generator, inspired by aviation technology, which drove a generator and charged the battery. Unlike many previous turbine powertrain systems, there was no direct electrical feed from the generator to the electric motors; the TREV system is purely a series hybrid range extender charger. Using the system, the battery pack was claimed to be charged to its maximum in 40 minutes.
The GT96 was first presented in two forms at the 2016 Geneva motor show, with both based on a mid-engine electric hypercar design that features two seats and all-wheel drive. Design one: AT96 ?Aviation Turbine? was a track-focused model, with a turbine set-up that runs on a liquid fuel, such as aviation kerosene, diesel or gasoline. Design two: GT96 ?Gas Turbine? was designed to run on a gaseous fuel such as biogas and natural gas and is styled as a road-going hypercar.
Techrules CTO Matthew Jin said: ?We have been working tirelessly with the Giugiaro team on the design of the GT96 for many months, and it will be a proud moment when we present the production design of China?s first supercar in Geneva in March. Our dream of seeing turbine-recharging electric vehicles on the roads is getting closer to reality.?
Techrules' engineering and production partner L.M. Gianetti will handle production of up to 25 units per year beginning in late 2017 at its facility in Turin, Italy. The track model will be made first, with a fully homologated road version and other yet-to-be-revealed TREV cars in other market segments set to follow in later years.
Jin said earlier this year: ?Because turbines have always been a very inefficient way to convert chemical energy into useful wheel turning mechanical energy, only a few have tried to use a turbine in the powertrain system, and none have ever succeeded commercially.
?But, with electric vehicles, an electric motor is used to drive the wheels, which effectively frees the combustion engine to exclusively convert chemical energy into mechanical energy and finally into electric energy. This is a major breakthrough, making it possible for us to use the highly efficient turbine engine as a superb range extender on our vehicles.?
Beijing-based Techrules claims its TREV system is a sealed-for-life powertrain solution, which requires almost zero maintenance throughout the ownership cycle, with the only service item being the air intake filter.
The interior of the Porsche Macan rival has been spotted ahead of the model's imminent unveiling; Velar will sit between the Evoque and Sport
The Range Rover Velar interior has been spied by a user on the Disco3 online forum, ahead of the model's official unveil on Wednesday this week.
The model was confirmed by Land Rover as the latest addition to its line-up last week, with the brand revealing the first official image of the Velar.
It will sit between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport in the brand?s line-up and introduce an all-new interior design language for the firm.
As the fourth model in the line-up, the mid-sized SUV is described by Range Rover as ?filling the white space between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport?. It is a vital price point for Range Rover, plugging the gap between the £40,000 Evoque and £80,000 Sport and challenging important rivals such as the Porsche Macan and BMW X6.
The first image of the Velar shows a familiar design language, as seen on the existing Range Rover models, but with far smoother lines than previously. Whereas current models have numerous angular lines at the rear end, the Velar has a continuous sweep from the sides to the rear of the bodywork, creating a sleek, sporty silhouette.
A circling line of chrome further accentuates this continuation and the relatively small rear window further enhances the coupé-like styling, making the model less boxy than the current Range Rovers.
A panoramic sunroof also suggests an airy cabin and a glimpse of the infotainment system, showing two screens ? one wide and central and one behind the wheel ? closely reflects the interior shown on Jaguar?s all-electric I-Pace SUV seen at the LA motor show in November last year.
Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern said: ?We call the Velar the avant-garde Range Rover. It brings a new dimension of glamour, modernity and elegance to the brand.?
The Velar is set to be the most on-road-focused model yet produced by Land Rover. The company has described it as ?refined for every occasion and terrain? and said it ?uses unique sustainable materials and advanced engineering to continue Land Rover?s drive to go Above and Beyond?, referring to the company?s advertising tagline.
The name ?Velar? comes from the original Range Rover prototypes from 1969. It was used by development engineers to hide the identity of the 26 pre-production Range Rovers and is derived from the Latin ?velaris?, meaning to veil or cover.
Autocar has previously reported that the five-seater will be closely related to the Jaguar F-Pace, with which it shares Jaguar Land Rover?s IQ platform. All Velars will have four-wheel drive and be built alongside the Range Rover Sport and F-Pace in the aluminium body and assembly plant in Solihull, West Midlands.
It will be launched with the Ford-built V6s currently used in the range but they will be replaced later by Ingenium in-line six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. A plug-in hybrid based on the 295bhp four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine is also expected.
The model extends the ?Luxury? pillar of Land Rover?s three-pronged vehicle strategy, alongside the other Range Rover models. The ?Leisure? pillar includes the Discovery and Discovery Sport and the ?Dual-purpose? pillar will remain dormant until the next Defender arrives in 2019.
Jaguar I-Pace's cockpit sets template for Jaguars and Land Rovers
Based on the official image in this story, the cockpit design seen in the Jaguar I-Pace will be closely replicated in the Velar.
The I-Pace, which is a template for the future of Jaguar Land Rover interiors, uses three display screens. The primary interface is a 12.0in TFT touchscreen, while infotainment and climate functions are adjusted on a secondary 5.5in screen controlled by two rotary dials. Instrumentation is presented on a configurable 12.0in virtual cluster augmented by a colour head-up display.
The system has been built in-house and is based on the same technology used in the InControl Touch Pro system. Other existing tech, including wi-fi hotspots and the ability to use apps from a connected smartphone or tablet, will also feature in the Velar.
Car insurance premiums could rise by an average of £75 if government plans to change the personal injury discount rate go ahead.
The personal injury discount rate calculates how much money is removed from a victim?s insurance payout following an accident, in order to make up for money made should the money be invested over several years.
According to the Association of British Insurers, Lord Chancellor Liz Truss?s proposal to cut the rate from 2.5% to -0.75% will cause claim costs to soar, leading to ?an increase in motor and liability premiums for millions of drivers and businesses across the UK?.
It labelled the change as ?crazy? and said that 36 million individuals and businesses could be affected.
ABI director Huw Evans said, ?To make such a significant change to the rate using a broken formula is reckless in the extreme, and shows an utter disregard for the impact this will have on consumers, businesses and the wider operation of the insurance market.
?We have repeatedly warned the Government that this could lead to very significant price rises, with younger drivers, in particular, likely to find it much harder to get affordable insurance. It is also a massive own goal that lands the NHS with a likely £1 billion hike in compensation bills when it needs it the least.?
Evans said the further increase in premiums needed to be addressed quickly. He added ?We need a fairer deal for consumers and claimants. We cannot wait until Easter - the Ministry of Justice must commit to alternatives immediately so changes to the law can be included in the Prison and Courts Bill.?
We run through the 10 cars of 2017 as pre-season testing gets underway
This year?s Formula 1 World Championship will be faster and potentially a lot more exciting thanks to the introduction of drastically different technical regulations.
Cars will be up to 6sec a lap quicker due to fewer restrictions on aerodynamic design and the use of larger Pirelli tyres. Not only will this make them more physical to drive, it could also shuffle the field and reduce the advantage held by title winner Mercedes.
All 10 teams have revealed their cars and pre-season testing has now begun at Barcelona. We run through each racer below in the order they arrived.
Williams was the first team to reveal its latest single-seater. The new car arrives in the outfit?s 40th year ? hence the name ? and will be driven by Felipe Massa and rookie Lance Stroll.
The team narrowly missed out on fourth in last year?s Constructors? Championship so will want to be going one better in 2017.
This Swiss team finished second-last in the standings last year. 2017 is a chance for it to make significant progress, with drivers Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein both showing plenty of potential in the junior ranks.
The Ferrari-powered model is said to be a completely new design, meaning it needn?t be dogged by the pace issues of its predecessor.
Woking?s new racer introduces a new naming convention and striking orange and black colour scheme that harks back to the team?s earliest models.
Fernando Alonso will be wanting to leave another average season behind with a car fast enough to challenge for wins in 2017. His new teammate, Stoffel Vandoorne, has masses of potential to be right there with him.
Red Bull RB13
Red Bull was last year's second fastest team and the only one that could stop Mercedes winning at every race.
This year an improved Renault engine should give drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen even more of a fighting chance.
Haas F1's impressive debut season saw it finish eighth in the standings.
The American team's second challenger will be driven by Romain Grosjean and new signining Kevin Magnussen. The team aims to keep up its forward momentum in 2017.
Toro Rosso STR12
Toro Rosso ended 2016 in 7th position but has marked its push for better results in 2017 with a striking new livery.
Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz remain as drivers, something the team believes will put it in good stead to move up the grid.