Subaru Impreza WRX STi at Tokyo

Published: 25 October 2007

Hang on, I thought the Impreza had got even uglier?

In non-WRX form it is a despicably hideous beast but this is the STi and it looks cooking. Ok so it’s no longer a super saloon but a hyper five-door hatch, which means Subaru has jumped straight into the ring with VW (Golf), Audi (S3) and Ford (ST) and many others. Saying that, Subaru claims the body style with short overhang excels in creating downforce and aerodynamics. Is it us or does the rear look suspiciouly like a BMW 1-series?

What makes it look so tough?

STi hallmarks like the flared and vented front wings, wider rear arches, tailgate spoiler, gaping bonnet nostril and M-Sport style quad shotgun tailpipes. Those swollen arches compensate for the wider track (up by 40mm at the front, 45mm rear) and stop those average looking 18-inch alloys from sticking out. Thankfully BBS rims will be on the options list. There are seven STI colours to choose from, which make or break this opinion-dividing body style. Go for metallic grey – it oozes menace.

There’s still a thirsty boxer under the lid, right?

But of course – and it’s mounted 22mm lower for better road holding. The Tokyo display cars were Japanese domestic market models, featuring 2.0-litre (1994cc) 16v boxers with a twin scroll turbo and Dual AVCS (Dual Active Valve Control System). The result?Over 300bhp. According to Scooby UK however, the Brit spec STi cars will arrive with a 2.5-litre boxer that develops more torque lower down but – sadly – slightly less power. Just under 300bhp for us. Mind you, it should sound awesome through quad pipes and be more manic with a conventional turbo.

Is the interior still a bit rubbish?

No, it’s actually very well appointed. Subaru has put a lot of thought into its materials and it shows. A swoopy dash with (in the STi’s case) Alcantara and leather clothed Recaros, STi branding, LED door step lights and a DCCD torque indicator. Result? The most handsome Subaru cockpit to date.

What’s DCCD for crying out loud?

Driver’s Control Centre Differential. It’s far too complicated to explain in a few words, but basically it lets the driver choose automated or full manual modes for the central diff in the legendary AWD system, depending on the terrain and your bravery. It’s one of the gadgets that justifies Subaru’s marketing message with the new Impreza – it’s coined the phrase Subaglue to advertise the Scooby’s sticky roadhandling. The STi also has a front LSD which offers three enjoyment modes, and you can knock off traction control, or VDC as it’s known. The tight-gated throw in the six-cog transmission confirms that this will be an uber-focused driving machine. We’re driving the new STi soon out in Japan, so come back to CAR Online for our first full test.

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