The MY2001 was a big surprise to the on looking public back in August 2000 when it was first launched. From that point on Subaru came under a constant barrage of critism from owners of the previous model and wannabee owners who would never consider the Bug Eye due to the styling of the front end, in particular the headlights.
This has brought about a certain amount of speculation and rumours surrounding a facelift just after 2 years from launch, something unheard of within Subaru. During those two years it was interesting to watch the developments unfold and no one was really sure at the time of whether these rumours were self sustaining (ie gets mentioned on the 'net, picked up by the tabloids, and then this reporting is used to substantiate the rumours). This page is dedicated to how the MY2003 story unfolded.
A year after the launch of the MY2001 several rumours began to emerge.
Some of this was pretty unbelievable due to the fact it costs a lot of money to re-tool metal bodywork pressing plants, injection moulders and the like. Then again the sales figures for the new Impreza have not been that successful when compared to previous years. The USA market has been successful but this is due to the fact that there has never been a turbo available before and the market is so big. As a percentage though based upon the size of potential market sales figures are not so good.
The Photoshop artists, Spy Camera photographers and the like were out and about supposedly getting that elusive shot of the MY2003. Many of the pictures were regurgitated MY2001 spy shots though. These can be seen in the wrX-Files section. The ones below are new as far as I know with the MY2003 speculation.
Some very realistic closeups of headlights appeared in the Japanese press. Unfortunately because there are two very different options tends to blow away a suggestion that these are anything more than a mockup. Note the first headlight cluster with the large top orange indicator matches the last car above. Also the second light cluster seems to have too many lamps...full beam, low beam, indicator and so the top must be the sidelights?
The above headlights have been skillfully added by Bret Richdale to the front end of an STi to show what the new model could look like. The pictures are reproduced here by kind permission of Bret.
Several more artist impressions appear. Two of them on the front of the UK weekly magazine Auto Express.
Changes to the front headlamps, repositioning and a change in shape of the hood scoop, and changes to the rear light clusters are reported in the article. This goes on to say that the engine remains at 215bhp but has a flatter torque curve due to changes in the exhaust manifold. This may mean just mean the loss of the pre-turbo catalyst which is not found on American bound vehicles. The article finally mentions the development of a Spec C version (see the grey import section for the RA Spec C) which will go on to be used by Prodrive for a special edition next year. Roll on the P2?
Meanwhile in Japan yet another version has appeared.
It looks like a variation of the picture in Auto Express but it sure does look neat. Further details on the EVO website.
A couple of problems I have with the above picture are concerning the front wheels which seem to be pointing in different angles!
Page last updated 31st March 2003
Copyright © 2002/3 Steve Breen
All photographs on this page (unless otherwise stated) copyright © Steve Breen and may not be reproduced in anyway without permission.