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...
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.