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Wednesday, 29 March, 2017 - 22:50 (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 Subaru Impreza WRX Story, as told by me

Alternatively known as a 'Scooby-Doo' or 'Scooby' and many more names around the world. The Subaru Impreza WRX STi is an iconic car! Since it's launch in 1992 and with the help of a few World Rally Championship (WRC) wins. The Subaru manufacturer has become a household name for high performance sports cars. Quite a change from the old 4WD farm vehicles which were often found around the country side. Today the Subaru Impreza, is a family friendly 4 or 5-door saloon with plenty of space for the shopping and a couple of kids. (Ed. Err! yeah right! That's not what the Impreza is about!). Ok, the Subaru Impreza WRX STi is a 300+ bhp, all-wheel-drive, super-grippy, great sounding, performance, supercar for the people! There, that's better!....

The Subaru Impreza WRX STi was born and bread on the Rally Stages across the world. What makes the Subaru Impreza so popular is that you can get that same performance and control on the road for an affordable price in the form of the Impreza WRX, STI and special editions.

So why the fascination with the Subaru Impreza. Well for me I think like most people it started in 1995 after a famous fellow Scotsman by the name Colin McRae took the Subaru Impreza 555 WRC out for a few weekend drives and won the World Rally Championship (WRC). At the time I was 15 years old and dreaming about driving like a loony round the streets of my local town and a rally car for he road in the form of the Subaru Impreza could of made that possible. If it weren't for the fact I couldn't afford on nor did I have a driving licence. (minor problems).

Today, I've got my driving licence and matured a bit, no more dreams of terrorising old people and stray cats zooming around like a boy racer. Instead I needed to prove to myself that I could drive sensibly, so went out and did an Advanced Driving course and now I am a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and saving money on my car insurance each year. Not only that, but the course has seriously improved my driving. In fact it's a transformation. Just as well really. Although I still haven't got my hands on a Subaru Impreza WRX (preferably STi), at least I know I've greatly reduced the chances of killing myself behind the wheel of one on the public roads. Might sound lame, but I'm proud of it, so there!! At least now I can enjoy the full potential of what a performance car like as the Subaru Impreza WRX STi has to offer while keeping safe.


So why the Subaru Impreza WRX STi and not the old rival Mitsubishi Evo's Well its' fairly straight forward to me. I have the up most respect for the Mitsubishi Evo range of cars. In fact on paper and on track the Mitsubishi Evo is often seen to be better than the equivelant Subaru Impreza WRX STi . But that don't mean squat. Quite frankly The Mitsubishi Evo does nothing for me. Instead the Subaru Impreza WRX STi and it's winning formula with professional British drivers Colin McRae and Richard Burns behind the wheel in 1995 and 2001 respectively, taking the Subaru Impreza WRC home to become World Rally Champions. No other car had given us a British World Rally Champion! Plain, and simple as that...



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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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