Road going versions available to the public - Index & Intro
The Subaru Impreza has been available in a number of different body styles since it was introduced late 1992 at the Tokyo Motorshow. Initially the car was imported into the UK only in 5 door wagon format with the 4 door saloon following later. Some markets also saw a 2 door version of the 4 door. Not strictly a coupe it was basically the same shell as the saloon with wider front doors at the front and non opening rear passenger windows.
Engine and trim options varied considerably depending on which market the car was being sold into. The UK has seen 1.6, 1.8 and 2 litre normally aspirated and 2 litre turbo charged models in both 4 and 5 door bodies. The lower models were also available early on in 2 wheel drive form. Since 1997 Subaru UK have concentrated upon the 2 litre range with different trim and specifications of GL, Sport and Turbo. Special editions of the turbo have been released with higher specification of interior, exterior and trim borrowed from their Japanese cousins.
Currently all models feature the "boxer" horizontally opposed engine and 4 wheel drive transmission.
The range starts with the 2.0litre GL in the UK, whilst in other markets engine options are available from 1.6litres. The GL is understated in comparison to the turbo and has a differing front bumper assembly without the trademark "dinner plate" fog lights/covers.
Impreza 2000 GL (MY97)
The Sport shares the rear and front spoilers of the turbo along with the fog lights and until recently was fitted with a slightly different 15" alloy wheels to that found on the Turbo (although this alloy was used upon the Catalunya SE in the UK). With the 1999 model apart from the lack of bonnet scoops and (false) air vents of the turbo it is pretty indistinguishable.
Impreza 2000 Sport (MY99)
At the end of 1996 the Impreza range was heavily revised with the introduction of the MY97. Both internally and externally, changes were made with a more sportier look and plusher interior and more importantly the engines were extensively revised with a smaller turbo being used on the top of the range model, improving low down response reducing lag. Then for 1998 further subtle improvements were made, the most noteable being the revised front dashboard. To view the manufacturers specification for the 1998 model click here.
1999 saw the introduction of the "phase 2 boxer" and power increases across the range, the turbo increasing from 208bhp to 215bhp, but more importantly an improvement in low down torque. Suspension and braking systems were also improved and more details can be found on the MY99 page.
A few changes were made for 2000, mainly cosmetic such as colour coded door mirrors and door handles, a new Momo steering wheel, height tilt adjustable drivers seat and an aluminium facia. Full details can be found on the MY2000 page.
The Australian market has had a similar range of Imprezas available to the UK, with the top of the range turbo being similar in specification and power. The model is known as the WRX, with the normally aspirated known as the RX. The special editions have been slightly more adventurous including 5 door automatics.
The United States of America and Canada have been unfortunate to miss out on the turbo charged Impreza in the mark 1 and facelift mark 2 guise due to various emissions and crash test failings. This does not mean there is not a range of cars available especially in the sport lineup and the US gets the 2.5RS is a normally aspirated Impreza in the 2 door shell. Outside of Japan there is probably the widest range of Impreza models from the RS to sports utilities with large ground clearance and those bull bars!
The home Japanese market has seen the most varied from 1.6 litre 2 wheel drive to 2.2 litre turbo charged in a 4 wheel drive wide bodied rally replica, and a version with 2 litre turbo, bull bars, raised suspension and a spare wheel on the back of the 5 door hatch! Inevitably these cars find themselves exported via grey channels into markets which they are allowed (such as the UK). The most desirable of these are the turbo charged WRX and WRX STi models which offer just that bit more than the standard export models officially imported into the country.
Impreza 2001 WRX (MY2001)
With the new millennia a new Impreza, called The New Age Impreza by the Japanese was introduced. Much speculation was made in the year building up to its release and many computer generated images where seen proclaiming to be the new car. What Subaru released was nothing like any of them with styling which certainly was different. Moving the Impreza image more up market Subaru have brought out a car with which they hope to compete with the likes of Audi, VW, Volvo and Ford.
Unfortunately this styling was not a hit in traditional Impreza markets where the previous turbo models had grown to cult status. The New Age style quickly gained the nick name of the Bug Eye due to its surpised look headlights! An unheard of facelift was ordered immediately and the autumn of 2002 saw the earliest facelift of a Subaru model being unveiled at the Paris Motorshow. For up to date information keep an eye on MY2003 page.
Here are a couple of comments from people who actually own an Impreza:-
Ian C. "Just to let you know, after 2 test drives, one in a 98 sport with a quick shift just to compare, Cat no 167 will be taking residence from next weekend ;-) The test drive was nearly 30 miles and I really was not expecting the sheer grin factor from the car. I thought my Cavalier GSi was reasonably quick, but this was an eye opener. I know a couple of people with Cosworths that are going to be very jealous when they see this. I got a few remarks from them when I said I was going to look at the Impreza, all good I must add."
Jamie Whitham (yes the World Superbike Rider) "It's just one of them cars that it goes and grips so well that when you have an off it's gonna be an 'in the ditch with wheels in the air' job!"
Chris C. "I finally collected my
car on Friday after far too long waiting!
Well, I think it's disgraceful.........the car's a monster, an animal......It shouldn't be allowed on the road! It should be confined to a racetrack with all the other cars that might be able to keep up with it.....
Simon H. "I have owned a 97 Turbo 5 door since August 1 and reckon that it's easily the best car I've ever had or driven."
Steve C."....as soon as I sat in
it I knew there was going to be a problem - 'Oh my God, where is my credit card'
I screamed as I got out of the car! A truly impulsive purchase.
I cannot afford it but the problem is that I drove one!"
Kevin S. on buying a second hand car " When I got there he only had two left and when I left he had none (someone was even trying to purchase mine!) ."
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Page last updated 29th September 2002
Copyright © 1996/7/8/9/2000/1/2/3/4 Steve Breen All photographs unless otherwise stated, on this page copyright © Subaru UK with thanks to Subaru UK Press Dept. Copyright © of photographs remain with source. Used here by permission and may NOT be copied for any purpose.