Subaru Impreza STi spied (2008)

Published: 03 July 2007

Subaru Impreza STi caught on camera

We've already published our artist's impressions of the new Subaru Impreza STi - and now our man with the long lens in Germany has snared the first shots of the rabid hot hatch testing around a rain-lashed Nurburgring. It's still taking a little while for CAR's eyes to adjust to the Impreza's new five-door bodystyle, but these photos confirm the details of our scoop: the humdrum hatch look will be enlivened by a gaping bonnet scoop to feed the turbocharged engine, and a rear spoiler and front aero pack will help glue the Scooby to the track, even in the wet (although the driver isn't exactly kissing the apex in this shot...).

So what's under the bonnet?

Subaru engineers are honing a development of the existing car's 2.5-litre turbo flat-four; we hear it will push out around 300bhp, meaning that the STi will be as rabid and rapid as ever. The launch to 60mph will take a scant 4.5sec. Our spies at the Nurburgring report that this lightly disguised prototype was hammering around at some lick; Subaru's latest four-wheel drive system naturally provides exemplary traction in all conditions.

Hmmm, still not sure about the looks. How much will the STi cost?

We hear it will set you back around £27,000 when sales start in March 2008. That's getting worryingly close to the prices of some desirable German machines, but Subaru is confident the creep upmarket will be justified. It has worked especially hard to improve the ambience inside the new Impreza; CAR Online has sat in one and, while it won't be causing nightmares in Ingolstadt quite yet, it's certainly a move away from the homage to Lego that went before. And that hatchback shape makes for a more practical family device for many users, says Subaru.

So what'll the STi look like under all that disguise?

We've still got a little longer to wait to see the finished car; it'll be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet