Subaru Impreza WRX

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2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi

Subaru Impreza WRX
Production:1992– (Japan)
1994– (Australia, Europe)
2002– (U.S.A.)
Body Styles:4-door sedan
5-door wagon
Shares components with:Saab 9-2X
Subaru Forester
Competitors:Audi S4
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Volvo S60R
This article is part of the automobile series.
WRX redirects here. For other meanings, see WRX (disambiguation).
For the high-performance version of the Impreza WRX, see the Subaru Impreza WRX STi

The Subaru Impreza WRX is a high-powered, turbocharged version of the Subaru Impreza, a small all wheel drive sedan. The WRX has become a popular choice for automobile enthusiasts wherever it is sold for its high performance, excellent grip and handling, practicality, and relatively affordable price (approximately $45,000 Australian, or $25,000 US).

Originally introduced in 1992 in Japan, then shortly afterwards in Australia and Britain, the WRX had a turbocharged flat-4 2.0 L engine producing 155 kilowatts of power (208 horsepower). Compared to the base Impreza, the WRX had wider low-profile tyres, larger brakes (further improved in later versions with the fitment of four-piston calipers and larger discs), and firmer, higher quality suspension components. Offering the performance and handling of vehicles of far higher cost, it rapidly became popular with enthusiasts worldwide. Indeed, it gained a reputation as a popular getaway car for robberies because the car's precise, yet forgiving, handling meant that even inexperienced drivers were able to handle it at high speeds.

The current WRX is based on the Peter Stevens designed Subaru Impreza WRC. The now famous instructions given by Prodrive boss David Richards were 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 produces 300 horsepower (224 kW) from new, are often raced, largely unmodified, in production car circuit racing and stock classes of car rallies to great success. Introduced in 1994, the STi has proven to be a very popular high(er)-performance machine in the Japanese domestic market.

In the 2002 model year, an all-new version of the car was released, finally appearing in the United States, with an engine rated for 227 hp (169 kW) and 217 ft·lbf (294 N·m) of torque. 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.

While the new model was more refined and handled better, it was not as popular with enthusiasts since its greater weight (approx 3100 lb or 1400 kg) hampered performance slightly. A higher-powered engine (310 hp or 230 kW) fitted to the Japanese market version remedied that problem somewhat. In addition to the sedan model, a 5-door wagon was offered, and met with brisk sales. Even so, the exterior styling was widely regarded as somewhat unattractive. As a result, in an unusually early revamp, Subaru updated the style again for the 2004 model year.

In the 2004 model year, Subaru began selling the highly performance-tuned WRX STi in the United States, with a 2.5 L engine with AVCS producing 300 hp (224 kW).

The Subaru Impreza WRX is used as the basis for the Saab 9-2X.

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