..:: Special Editions - RB320, P2, WR1, UK300, P1, RB5, 22B & more
Here we have the complete list of Special Edition Subaru Impreza's were/are available in the UK. There have been many more editions released world wide, but here is the list of UK models along with there specifications.
RB320 - 2007
November 2006, exactly one year after the sad death of Richard Burns from a brain tumour. Subaru UK announced a new special edition of their MY06 Subaru Impreza WRX STi. The RB320 is packaged in Obsidian black, with bespoke black alloys. May not be to everyone's liking but I think it looks fantastic and appropriate for the anniversary. The RB320 is no limited edition paint job, as the name suggests the RB320 delivers around 320bhp from it's WRX STi PPP package. That's a lot of oomph!! Added to that just about every subaru/prodrive option you can think of has been added as standard on the RB320
In 2004, the Subaru World Rally Team finally got back to winning Rally Championships thanks to Petter Solberg and traditionally released a Special Edition Subaru Impreza to celebrate, in the form of the WR1. Based on the latest Subaru Impreza WRX STi the WR1 also had the added Prodrive Performance Pack PPP Which makes this the most powerful and fastest Subaru Impreza you can buy off the shelf!
After a gap of no special editions. Subaru came back in 2001 with a new shaped Subaru Impreza, a new World Rally Title, with the help of Richard Burns , and a therefore a new Special edition in the form of then UK300.
The second special edition to be released in 1999 was the P1, which was more to do with Prodrive than Subaru directly. Prodrive is the company that develops the Impreza's for the World Rally Teams, so they know a thing or two about the Subaru Impreza. Therefore, they decided to release their own special edition Impreza. P1.
Often considered the best Subaru Impreza ever. The Impreza 22B was released in 1998 and came with a new 2.2litre engine. Although overall power was the same torque was improved to to the larger capacity. The 22B was also dresses in 2-door coupe form unlike previous 4-door Impreza's
The Series McRae Subaru Impreza was released in late 1995 to celebrate the achievement of the Subaru 555 World Rally team and Colin McRae winning the World Rally Championship for the first time for both driver and manufacturer.
It took senior Mazda designer Kota Atagawa five hours to turn Autocar?s original brief for an electric supercar into this final design sketch
We go inside Mazda?s design studio in Germany and, with the help of one of its leading designers, we've created the look and technical concept for an RX-9 coupé fitted with a rotary engine and electric motors
It?s a rare treat to be allowed inside a working design studio, but being invited into a design studio to work with car designers is probably a once-in-a-lifetime treat for most of us.
And Mazda decided to do just that at its newly refurbished studios on the outskirts of greater Frankfurt.
The facility is one of four Mazda studios worldwide. The others are in Shanghai, Los Angeles and Hiroshima. The German studio is also tied in with an engineering and development facility that is charged with tweaking future Mazda models for the tastes of European car buyers.
This studio, which was constructed in the late 1980s, has just been given a major overhaul. Hidden at the rear of the sprawling building is the design studio and the viewing area, where full-sized styling models can be assessed in real-world lighting conditions.
Kevin Rice, a Brit, is the design director here. He?s on his second spell at Mazda. He graduated from Coventry University and the Royal College of Art and was a veteran of Italdesign, Opel and Ford before he joined Mazda in 1995. Five years later, he began a 13-year spell at BMW, where one of his first jobs was to see the BMW 1 Series into reality. He rejoined Mazda in 2013.
The new Mazda design studios are a lesson in crisp airiness. They are built over three floors, all of which look out through glazed walls onto the viewing area. There?s a fabulous sense of calm in here and the workspaces are immaculate and uncluttered.
It?s not quite the same in the clay modelling studio. Rice assures us that modelling a full-sized car requires significant fitness and flexibility, the modellers pushing themselves physically across a full-sized model when wielding an unusual array of tools. Even a small demonstration on an abstract model by one of the modellers results in a huge amount of clay shavings littering the floor.
It is clear that Rice has huge admiration for the modellers. It?s the one part of the whole industrial process that relies purely on the hands-on skill of craftsmen. It?s interesting to note Mazda?s pride in its clay modelling. It says that a typical size difference between a clay model and a ?mass-market car? is between 1mm and 5mm, but Mazda says its production cars are accurate to within 0.3mm to 0.1mm of the definitive clay model.
But the main reason we?ve been let inside the new design studio is to allow Rice and Mazda to demonstrate that the firm?s ?Kodo: Soul of Motion? design philosophy is not just marketing hype, but also so solidly grounded that it could be applied to any type of vehicle.
The official line is admirably clear. Mazda?s global design chief Ikuo Maeda says: ?It?s about creating cars that embody the dynamic beauty of life. Cars that visually suggest different expressions of this energy. In Japan, we feel that craftspeople inject life into what they make, so objects that receive the love and caring attention of these craftspeople have a vital force; a soul.?
So this is our chance to try to create a ?Kodo? vehicle and Rice hands out a brief titled ?Kodo Recipe?. His four guidelines are brief, to say the least:
1. Breathe life (soul) into your car. Make it more than just twisted metal.
2. Movement through reflection or pure motion.
3. Pure and elegant.
4. Sensual (sexy).
With that, I?m teamed up with senior Mazda designer Kota Atagawa. My self-selected brief is to have another go at reinventing the iconic RX-series. Sure, Mazda has already had a crack at this with the RX-Vision, but I had another idea. The rebirth of the rotary engine is proving very tricky in an age of stringent pollution and CO2 regulations, so why not play to its strengths by using the powerplant as a range-extender in an electrically driven concept car?
Mad? In fact, the company has already built an electric Mazda 2 concept powered by a tiny rotary range-extender. So ?my? car will have the rotary engine up front driving a generator. There?ll be two electric motors on the rear axle and tanks for natural gas ? powering the rotary unit ? behind and beneath the passengers. The result will be an electric supercar with likely CO2 emissions of below 60g/km ? very similar to a battery-powered car charged via mains electricity.
So the final design needs to reflect the fact that our imaginary RX-9 has two power sources, one at the front and one at the rear. Inspiration for the exterior styling comes from those multi-coloured computational fluid dynamics (CFD) renderings that show how air flows over the surface of a car or plane or jet engine.
I pull a few images up on my phone to show to Atagawa, who begins to sketch with a black biro. I?m also fascinated by those big, soft surfaces that characterised cars from the beginning of the 1990s ? the sort that generate amazing reflections in the right light.
I also sketch a bit myself ? it?s 27 years since I left art college ? and manage a half-reasonable image of a package showing how the drivetrain could be accommodated. Time is tight, so we spend about 90 minutes sketching before we have to pick one theme for Atagawa to render.
His biro sketches show that he is thinking along the lines of a big, flowing surface running from ahead of the windscreen and down the sides of the car. One of the sketches stands out to me and that is the one I ask him to use as the basis of our final design.
Atagawa then spends more than three hours on the drawing, putting it together on the computer, sketching with a stylus on a graphic tablet. In order for the design to adhere to Rice?s four-point recipe, it must demonstrate sufficient ?Kodo?. I can only emphasise to Atagawa that the surfacing must look like it has been polished by wind or water.
Five hours have elapsed since we started work on our brief and it is time for the final ?crit?. Our rendering is pinned on a viewing wall and Rice calls me up so I can explain what I commissioned Atagawa to do, and why. Thankfully, Rice is convinced.
Kota?s amazing ability to render super-fluid surfaces has paid dividends and means that Autocar?s ?RX-9? is judged to have achieved ?Soul of Motion?. I?m very happy with the end result and, yes, prefer it to Mazda?s own RX-Vision, even though it remains a thumbnail proposal.
And yet while we struggle to remember the Simca 1100 Ti and even the Renault 5 Alpine, 40 years after it first came to the UK, the Golf GTI has become probably the second most recognised model name after the Porsche 911. ?Iconic? is probably one of the most overused words in the road tester?s lexicon, but if only a handful of cars on sale deserve it, the Golf surely is one of them.
There is a lovely little lie concerning why this might be: the Golf GTI succeeded because it combined the hatchback practicality everyone needed with the performance everyone wanted. Simples. Except that, were this the case, I?d now be waxing lyrical over the Autobianchi A112 Abarth and you wouldn?t be thinking ?Auto-what??
Truth is, the Golf did something the earlier French and Italian hot hatches did not: it worked. In an era when sporting cars were inexactly constructed, temperamental beasts prone to converting themselves in heaps of ferric oxide at the sign of bad weather, the Golf not only offered fun and practicality, it also placed them within an impregnable shell. Thirty years ago, I took my already elderly Mk1 GTI to a stag party in Scotland. The temperature sank so much overnight that by morning I was the proud owner of a Golf-shaped ice sculpture. And while my mates primed their chokes, pumped their throttles, churned their starters and cursed their cars, I just opened the door, twisted the key, heard my fuel-injected engine fire instantly and went smugly back inside for breakfast while the car defrosted itself.
So 40 years after the Golf GTI, we thought it time to revisit the genre with a mission simply to decide which is best. There have been seven generations to date, but for reasons that will become clear in a separate story (top right), we had few qualms about skipping versions three and four. Six was also left in the lorry because we felt it sufficiently close to five to add little to the debate. Which leaves those you see before you, the Mk1, Mk2, Mk5 and the newly revised version of the Mk7 to tell the story of the world?s most enduring hot hatch, and help us decide which we?d most like to take home. Happily, all are owned by Volkswagen and maintained irrespective of cost so can be counted upon to be truly representative of how these cars ought to be.
No trouble knowing where to start. The Mk1 sits there, quiet and humble yet with an aura beaming out so strong that it blinds your view of its offspring. You are drawn to it naturally and inevitably.
Inside and out, it is delightfully, deliciously simple. And small. Compared with a new Golf GTI, it is almost half a metre shorter, 16cm narrower and, most astonishing of all, half a tonne lighter. There are entire cars that weigh less than that. Our example is a late car so has a 1.8-litre single-cam motor pushing out 112bhp, 2bhp more than the 1.6 original but with a useful additional slug of mid-range torque. Such outputs might seem mere trifles today, but for family hatchbacks 40 years ago, they were a new level. And remember the weight, and lack thereof.
There?s not much scope for achieving the perfect driving position because the wheel is fixed but it?s comfortable enough and the interior logically arranged and childishly easy to use. Grab that golf ball gearlever and go.
It?s quick. I?ve estimated a conservative 0-60mph time of 8.8sec but I?ve seen plenty of claims that it?s faster, one suggesting an 8.2sec capability. But it?s the smoothness of the engine you remember most, combined with its willingness to rev. There?s more character in this engine note than in an entire showroom of turbocharged Golf motors, backed by a brilliantly swift and precise gearchange.
But it is somewhat betrayed by its handling. Purists will talk about the feel of its unassisted steering, but I remember more the terribly slow rack required to keep helm efforts under control. And although it will happily cock a rear wheel if you lift off in a corner, this is no Peugeot 205 GTi: there?s not much grip and then just as many shades of understeer as you can count. And then there are the brakes: tiny discs up front, small drums at the back and, on right-hand-drive cars, the master cylinder on the wrong side of the car. It?s a car that?s superb to drive up to around 80% effort, but thereafter it soon loses composure.
By contrast, the Mk2 is never seen with so much as a hair out of place. Like every new generation of Golf, it?s bigger than the one that went before, but the word that springs most readily to mind when describing it is ?mature?. It is a far more complete car than the Mk1, quieter and more comfortable by far, not to mention more spacious and with a totally transformed perception of quality. And they are as solid as they feel, capable of shouldering a quarter of a million miles or more without serious complaint. When they were new, I used to look on in envy at my city kid mates, who considered a Mk2 GTI as much part of the junior executive uniform as their red braces.
But there is another truth here, less palatable and less frequently spoken of in the day. There are two sides to maturity: one to be functional and reliable and the other to be, well, a trifle dull. And, at least compared with the Mk1, it is. To some, this will seem like purest sacrilege, but I can report only as I find. Whatever the figures might have said at the time, the Mk 2 is slower than its parent, and with barely any extra power but a slug more weight, it would be strange were it any other way. It?s far neater up to a higher limit in the corners, and its sheer unflappability won it praise in the day, but simply being more capable and competent merely makes it a better-handling car, not necessarily a more entertaining one. Whereas the rather more rough and ready Mk1 is always eager, always ready to play even in a somewhat more shambolic way, the Mk2 is not like that. There is a light-hearted streak in there somewhere, but it?s more cerebral, less slapstick, and it?s not with you all the time but needs to be switched on. I?m not saying it?s better or worse ? I?d rather drive a Mk1 and own a Mk2 ? but it is different.
But not as different as the Mk5. The temptation is to look at the dozen-year gap between the demise of the Mk2 and the birth of the Mk5 and put the fact that it feels like it came from another world down to that alone. But that?s only part of the truth. The perhaps more interesting fact is that the Mk5 can be seen almost as VW?s apology for all the rubbish GTIs that peppered the intervening years. This was the moment VW decided it was time to do more than mere justice to the GTI name and to honour it instead.
Yet of them all, the Mk5 was the car I remembered least about and whose role in these proceedings was the least clear. I?d driven to the photo location in the Mk7 and fully expected the Mk5 to feel like a substantially more rubbish version thereof.
Well, I got that wrong. The Mk5 is superb. Of course, with its 2.0-litre turbo engine and near- 200bhp output, performance is unrecognisable compared with its elder relatives, but the figures place it approximately halfway between them and the Mk7 and that?s not how it feels at all. The Mk7 is quicker, but not much. The Mk5 feels properly rapid, super-strong in the mid-range and almost devoid of turbo lag. More interesting still, if you try to hoof it around in the corners, it really responds. Inevitably, grip levels are several streets ahead of either older car, but so is its willingness to adjust its line according to the whim of your right foot. Yes, all that extra weight means the feel coming back through the wheel and chassis is slightly muted, but you can steer this car on the throttle in a way that the Mk1 cannot be driven and the Mk2 chooses not to be driven. It is, in short, more fun than either, and before I drove them, I?d have bet a billion on that not being the case.
And the Mk7? It is probably the most coherent re-imagining of the original GTI philosophy there has been in these past four decades. It plays the everyday card even better today than did the Mk2 30 years ago: it is such a sophisticated, high-quality item, comprising a superb driving environment with class-leading ride and refinement yet, when the time comes, it proves to be both faster and even more fun to drive than the unexpectedly brilliant Mk5. The operative word for this car is ?complete?, which, unlike ?mature?, should in no way be equated with ?boring?. Honestly, of everything I can think a car such as this should be expected to do, the Mk7 does it to a world-class standard.
So which is best? So often in these ?old meets new? stories, it is the modern cars that come off second best, because whatever their advantages on paper, they rarely if ever have the character of their lighter, simpler, more focused fathers.
For once, this is not one of those stories. We know the Golf GTI story over the past 40 years is one of magic captured, lost and rediscovered. But it was only by bringing together the cars responsible for the first and third acts that a clear picture of how they fare relative to each other emerges. The old cars are very cool, but Mk1s are expensive now and sufficiently limited in scope these days to be purely recreational vehicles. I might hanker after a Mk2 for sentimental reasons, but shorn of the need to perform every day and therefore of the thing it does best, it seems a little marooned. Maybe a more powerful 16-valver would be better, but I never liked them more in the day and doubt I would now.
So it?s down to the two more modern cars and here the choice is simpler: the Mk7 is easily the better car, and if all other things were equal, it would win at a canter. But they?re not: the biggest difference between these two is not measured by power or performance but price. And whereas a brand-new Golf GTI like this costs £27,950, a clean, low-mileage Mk5 can be yours for around £5000. That?s more than 80% of the ability of the best front-drive hatch in the world for less than 20% of the money. And if that?s not a bargain, I don?t know what is.
Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk 1 1800
Engine 4 cyls in line, 1781cc, petrol Power 112bhp at 5800rpm Torque 105lb ft at 3500rpm Gearbox 5-spd manual Kerb weight 860kg Power-to-weight ratio 130bhp per tonne 0-62mph 8.8sec Top speed 114mph Length 3815mm Width 1628mm Height 1394mm Wheelbase 2400mm
Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk 2 8v
Engine 4 cyls in line, 1781cc, petrol Power 112bhp at 5500rpm Torque 115lb ft at 3100rpm Gearbox 5-spd manual Kerb weight 907kg Power-to-weight ratio 123bhp per tonne 0-62mph 8.7sec Top speed 118mph Length 3985mm Width 1680mm Height 1405mm Wheelbase 2475mm
Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk 5
Engine 4 cyls in line, 1984cc, turbo, petrol Power 197bhp at 5100rpm Torque 207lb ft at 1800rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual Kerb weight 1336kg Power-to-weight ratio 147bhp per tonne 0-62mph 7.3sec Top speed 146mph Length 4216mm Width 1759mm Height 1466mm Wheelbase 2578mm
Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk 7
Engine 4 cyls in line, 1984cc, turbo, petrol Power 227bhp at 5000rpm Torque 273lb ft at 1600rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual Kerb weight 1376kg Power-to-weight ratio 165bhp per tonne 0-62mph 6.2sec Top speed 155mph Length 4267mm Width 1791mm Height 1443mm Wheelbase 2631mm
Audi has issued a voluntary recall for 850,000 cars worldwide that are equipped with V6 and V8 TDI diesel engines.
The free voluntary recall aims to tweak the software of affected cars, to improve their emissions in real-world driving conditions.
Audi announced the recall but has not yet confirmed the number of affected cars in the UK. The brand has been working with the German Federal Transport Authority (KBA) to implement the fix.
Audi said it would co-operate with authorities in their investigations, but avoided mentioning if any wrongdoing had yet been found. It did mention ongoing investigations by the KBA, with the possibility that if the German authority should find any discrepancies, further actions will be carried out.
Audi also said the recall will future-proof the affected cars against possible bans that might be implemented in the future.
The move by Audi follows a recall implemented recently by Mercedes-Benz that affects several hundred thousand cars in the UK and three million in Europe.
The Vanquish gained 27bhp when it was transformed into the Vanquish S, but the DB11?s turbocharging leaves scope for even more power, so it?s likely that 30-50bhp will set the DB11 S apart from the regular car.
It?s clear to see the larger air intakes on the development car, housed in a more aggressively styled front end, with a splitter completing the package.
This bodywork, along with a flap on the rear of the car, suggests a greater focus on cornering ability than outright performance.
The car also has larger wheels than the DB11?s standard 20in alloys. The car sits slightly lower, with lower, stiffer suspension aiding cornering ability.
The price difference between the V8 and V12-engined DB11s is £13,000, but the gap between the DB11 and DB11 S is likely to be in excess of £20,000.
Mercedes has revealed its latest hardcore off-roader, the E-Class All-Terrain 4x4² - a one-off creation built by a design engineer and off-roading enthusiast and a team of engineers.
Inspired by the equally extreme G500 4x4², design engineer Jürgen Eberle says the aim of the project was to find out if a similar car could be created with the G500 4x4²?s portal axles grafted on in place of the standard E-Class All-Terrain's multi-link set-up.
The project took a few months to create, with Eberle heading up a growing team as his project became more and more ambitious. What Eberle ended up with was an E-Class All-Terrain with more than double the original car?s ground clearance: 420mm, compared with the standard car?s 160mm, with a wading depth just 100mm shy of the G-Class?s 600mm. The standard All-Terrain?s wading depth is 280mm.
Arguably the focal point of the car, though, is its 20in wheels, which come from the R-Class and are shod in knobbly 285/50 R20 off-roading tyres, compared with the 19in and 245/45 R19 standard wheels and tyres. To house these, special wheel arch extenders had to be 3D printed and attached to the car, increasing its width by almost 200mm.
The standard rubber and plastic suspension bushings were replaced with Uniball motorsport bearings, while Eberle drafted in help from a friend working at AMG to modify the driveshaft geometry for compatibility with the car?s off-roading modifications.
?The crucial factor was the network," said Eberle. "In every area where I needed support, I found colleagues who were on the same wavelength and who provided help quickly and without any red tape.?
Under the bonnet is the standard 191bhp four-cylinder diesel engine, and 9G-tronic nine-speed automatic gearbox. Mercedes? 4Matic all-wheel drive system is of course, maintained for the model.
The E-Class All-Terrain 4x4² attracted the attention and praise of the E-Class?s chief engineer, Michael Kelz, who said: ?The idea excited me right from the start and initial test drives of the All-Terrain 4x4 2 at the new testing and technology centre in Immendingen are demonstrating promising off-road characteristics. Thanks to the suspension lift with portal axles, the All-Terrain 4x4 2 is able to cope with even the nastiest rocky and stony runs ? it?s a really skillful scrambler.?