Subaru Impreza WRX Washington DC
Silver Spring, MD
2003 Subaru Impreza WRX compact Performance Sedan and Wagon
By the Staff
Subaru's turbo-charged sports sedan and wagon are fired up for fast work, thanks to a unique little engine that produces big-time muscle and torque from relatively modest displacement. The 2.0-liter plant has four cylinders opposed horizontally and set perpendicular to the drive line, then linked with equal-length drive shafts so pairs of cylinders act like boxers jabbing at one another in counterbalanced movements that negate the typical engine's vibrations.
Next, a turbo-charger and inter-cooler boost the engine's output to score serious numbers. It makes 227 hp, with all of that power directed through either a four-speed automatic transaxle with electronic controls or a tight-shifting manual five-speed.
There's no choice about traction mechanism, however, as all Subarus support an AWD system that's always engaged. Using an Impreza as foundation, WRX emulates Subaru rally cars, only without roll bars and five-point safety belts. Standard equipment extends to sporty suspension tuning and a Momo steering wheel, frontal and side air bags for front seats plus a sound system with six-disc CD changer in the dash.
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2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Compact Sports Sedan
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2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Compact Sports Sedan
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It's based on the sub-compact Impreza platform and derived from Subaru's WRX performance car but with more juice from a larger engine and more sporty paraphernalia to cede no street race from "The Fast and the Furious" crowd.
Those STi initials on souped up WRX signify Subaru Technica International, the motorsports division of Subaru and the force behind Subaru's trophy-collecting rally cars. What's a rally car?
It's a race car usually of small scale with some stock equipment aboard but also a high-output engine and modifications for added safety like a protective roll cage and five-point racing harnesses for the two front seats.
Rally races pit a driver and co-pilot/navigator in a special race car against a stopwatch and detailed route maps, with daredevil competitors tearing across treacherous roads through cities and countryside, each vying to nail all checkpoints on time and beat the clock across a finish line.
Beyond North America in countries around the world, automobile rally racing receives the kind of sports attention that football fans in the United States reserve for contests like the Super Bowl. And in the WRC Subaru has racked up multiple wins, thanks to the wily nature of Subaru rally cars spinning off the Impreza platform.
The new 2004 WRX STi, also using the Impreza as its foundation, emulates those Subaru rally cars, only without roll bars and five-point safety belts.
In fact, Subaru's current WRX rally race car is based on the production model WRX.
Differences between street car and rally racer concern special modifications to the engine plus the addition of heavy-duty and adjustable suspension components, special seam welding of the structure to endure harsh punishment on a rally course, and the rally roll cage.
The STi edition varies from production model WRX in terms of powertrain and gearbox, with special mechanical equipment added to enhance performance and handling. All revolves around that amazing engine.
The plant has four cylinders opposed horizontally and set perpendicular to the drive line, then linked with equal-length drive shafts so pairs of cylinders act like boxers jabbing at one another in counterbalanced movements that negate the typical in-line-four engine's vibrations.
Displacement increases over the WRX plant, rising from 2.0 liters to 2.5 liters. That's the largest displacement ever for a WRX STi model and it goes exclusively to the North American market.
It's also the most powerful four-pack in America, thanks to a turbo-charger and inter-cooler aboard to boost output and score some awesome muscle numbers.
It makes an incredible 300 hp at 6000 rpm plus as much torque as 300 lb-ft at 4000 rpm. The boxer engine has a...
2009 Subaru Impreza WRX GT
By Derek PriceThe 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX GT Compact Sports Sedan.
2009 Subaru Impreza GT ($26,995).
Price as tested (including $695 delivery charge): $27,690.
Rarely are vehicles as polarizing as the Subaru WRX.
This wild car and its high-performance brother, the STI, are the closest you can get to driving a European-style rally racer on the streets of America. The WRX is loud, raw and abrasive, which is exactly why people like me love it.
It's also why people like my wife hate it. A couple of years ago, the last time I drove a WRX, she absolutely detested it, complaining that the engine hurt her ears and the seats hurt her back. As far as she was concerned, it was a four-wheeled torture device. My praise about its driving dynamics didn't do a thing to change her mind.
Apparently Subaru caught on to the fact that some people like the basics of a WRX -- a turbo engine and all-wheel drive -- but hate all its rough edges, so the company is introducing a new car for 2009 called the Impreza GT.The 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX GT Compact Sports Sedan
The GT is like a soft, mild version of the WRX, with a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine that makes 224 horsepower. That's less than the 265 horses you'll get in the WRX and 305 hp in the STI, but it's still plenty of pep. And it's far quieter.
It has a softer suspension, too. While the STI feels like Subaru completely removed the shock absorbers and replaced them with columns of concrete, the Impreza GT is much more reasonable. It's still fun to drive, but it has a far smoother ride that works better for everyday driving.
Unfortunately, it has an interior that seems like it's inspired by the Little Tykes Cozy Coupe, the vehicle of choice for 3-year-olds. Everything is covered in hard plastic. Everything. It's like being locked inside the Toys "R" Us warehouse.
Aside from the economy-car materials, the interior is pleasant. It's not roomy, but cozy, with just the right amount of space without getting excessive. Anything smaller would feel cramped. Anything bigger would feel bloated. It's the perfect size for a fun-to-drive sedan.
Like most Subarus, the Impreza GT is a great car for people who have to drive on icy roads. Its all-wheel drive system is designed for exactly that situation, and the All Weather Package can add dual-mode heated front seats, heated side mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. This is just what I'd want it I lived in the North.The 2009 Subaru WRX Interior.
The only transmission available is a four-speed automatic, which makes sense. People who want the mechanical connection of a manual transmission would opt for the WRX anyway.
That doesn't mean the GT has completely abandoned its WRX-like attitude. A big ho...