Subaru Impreza STi (2007) uncovered

Published: 21 September 2007

Now that’s a proper hot hatch…

Yes it is. This is Subaru’s Impreza STi and unlike your Golf GTI or Renault Megane R26 hatchback rivals, this is four-wheel drive. And it’ll knock the Audi S3 into touch as well; where the Audi musters 261bhp, the new Scooby has close to 300bhp. CAR Online has caught the Impreza STi almost undisguised at the Nurburgring. It’ll be officially unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show next month but it won’t go on sale in the UK until March 2008. We’ve snapped the car before but these are the clearest shots yet.

Looks aggressive…

It does. Above and beyond the regular Impreza the STi has massively flared and squared wheelarches. There are also big alloys but thankfully Subaru seems to have foregone oversized rims. When we drove the regular Impreza we gave it four stars and said it had a ‘unique range of attributes ideally suited to UK back lanes’. It should do, with its conventional six-speed manual, wide track, and technical innovations to the four-wheel drive system.

Are those quad exhausts I spy?

They are. Subaru showed a WRC Concept at Frankfurt earlier this month that was claimed to be 90 percent true to the production STi. So remove the decals from that car, give it production wing mirrors and rear spoiler, add a few more exhausts and that’s what you have in our pictures. And check out the rear lights – now with ultra-cool LEDs.

So what’ll it do mister?

Is 0-60 in 4.5 seconds quick enough for you? Running a 2.5-litre flat four engine, and with a turbocharger to help things along, the STi will have close to 300bhp. Add in four-wheel drive and a driver-controlled centre differential and grip should be second to none. It’ll also keep accelerating all the way to 160mph, speeds it was well on the way to attaining during this Nurburgring training run.

How much will I have to pay for the Impreza STi?

Around £27,000. We know that’s steep but the new Mitsubishi Evo X won’t be cheap either. And one other detail: check out the air extraction vents in the sides of the front bumper.

Is there still a market for manic four-door rally replicas?

Subaru is certainly hoping there so. The company only sold 3600 Imprezas in the UK in 2006. That was down from a peak of 6000, but 71 percent of those 3600 were turbocharged cars. The STi is also a vital halo car for the forthcoming WRX which is due in November. We can’t wait for our first drive.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy