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CATEGORIES (articles) > Donor vehicle information > Subaru > Subaru Impreza WRX History

Subaru Impreza WRX History

Subaru Impreza WRX
Manufacturer: Subaru

For the high-performance version of the Impreza WRX, see the Subaru Impreza WRX STI

The Subaru Impreza WRX is a turbocharged version of the Subaru Impreza, an all-wheel drive automobile. It is available as a sedan or wagon. The WRX has become a popular choice for automobile enthusiasts wherever it is sold for its high performance, great handling, and relatively affordable price.
Petter Solberg driving the 2003 version of the Subaru Impreza WRX STi Rally Car in the 2003 rally of Finland.
Subaru Impreza WRX manufactured for Japanese market

Originally introduced in 1992 in Japan, then shortly afterwards in Australia and Europe, the WRX had a turbocharged flat-4 2.0 L engine producing 211-260 PS (160-197 kW), according to the ECE or JIS standards. Compared to the base Impreza, the WRX had wider low-profile tires, larger brakes (further improved in later versions with the fitting of four-piston calipers and larger discs), and firmer, higher quality suspension components.

The current WRX is based on the Peter Stevens designed Subaru Impreza WRC. The instructions given by Prodrive boss David Richards were alleged to be "[to make a car that] looked like it was doing 100 mph, even when it was standing still in a car park".

A series of low-volume versions with even greater power and grip were built by Subaru's in-house modifier, Subaru Tecnica International (STi). STi versions of the Impreza, which produced 280 PS (206 kW) from new, are often raced, largely unmodified, in the Group N class in various rally championships to great success. Introduced in 1994, the STi has proven to be a very popular high-performance machine in the Japanese domestic market.

The second generation Impreza arrived in the Japanese market in 2000, and was available for export markets the following year. Power in the Japanese home market was 250 PS (184 kW), but due to emissions regulations it was detuned to 218 PS (160 kW) in Europe and 227 hp (169 kW) in North America, with a maximum torque of 294 N·m (217 ft·lbf). While the new model was more refined and handled better, it was not as popular with enthusiasts since its greater weight (1410 kg, or 3084 lb) hampered performance slightly, although 0-100 km/h acceleration time takes 5.9 seconds. In addition to the sedan model, a 5-door wagon was offered, and met with brisk sales.

The exterior "bug eyed" styling was widely regarded as somewhat unattractive, so Subaru introduced a mild facelift of the frontend in the 2002 Paris Auto Show, as well as improving power in the European version to 225 PS (165 kW). To celebrate the debut of the STi in the European market, 1,000 special "Prodrive" models were produced with exclusive Prodrive interior items designed by Peter Stevens. The Impreza WRX was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 2002 and 2003.

A third update was introduced in mid-2005, including the performance models, with the controversial "jet intake and wings" grille first debuted on the Subaru R1 keicar, along with new headlights, taillights, and bumpers. Subaru states that they chose this style to go back to their heritage, paying homage to their grandfathered company, the Nakajima Aircraft Company, while others believe it is an interpretation of the Alfa Romeo grille originally designed by now Chief Designer at Subaru, Andreas Zapatinas. Another modification with the new facelift was the adoption of a 2.5 L engine for all export markets. The bigger engine is available with AVCS and produces 230 PS (169 kW) and 320 N·m (235 ft·lbf) of torque. However, these numbers are likely underrated as shown by multiple dynomometer tests. Japan retains the more powerful 2.0 L motor.

The Subaru Impreza WRX is used as the basis for the Saab 9-2X Aero. It is manufactured by Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd.

In 2006, the turbocharged engine was awarded International Engine of the YearInternational Engine of the Year Award - 2.0L to 2.5L categorySubaru Australia's announcement of winning the International Engine of the Year award. This engine is also used in the Subaru Forester XT, as well as the re-badged Saab 9-2X.

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