The compact Subaru Impreza was introduced in 1993 and has been motoring ever since. It challenged the likes of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, but one of the Impreza’s unique selling points was that it offered all-wheel drive. This worked well with the traditional Subaru flat boxer engine, minimizing body roll and providing first-class handling and roadholding.
There were three models in the new range — a two-door coupe, four-door saloon and five-door estate. Trim levels were LX, GL and Sport, though widespread distribution saw different names used in different markets. Likewise there was considerable variety in the engines used for the Impreza over time. The most powerful, though not the largest, was the 2.0 litre turbocharged and intercooled motor — marketed variously as the Impreza 2.0 WRX, Turbo 2000, 2.0 Turbo, 2.0 GT or 2.0 GT Turbo. The Turbo had wider tyres, bigger brakes and firmer suspension than the base model.
This was the innocent-looking four-wheel drive saloon or station wagon that inspired a generation of petrolheads after taking the world by storm in the mid-1990s. Despite the fairly basic interior finish of dull grey plastic and uninspiring seating trims, the Impreza Turbo’s performance caused all that to be forgotten in the few seconds it took to blast past 60 mph (97 km/h). Endless variants (about 15) were produced before the chassis was uprated in 2001, since when another 25+ (and counting) have been offered, depending on the market.
There couldn’t be a better budget performance car for the aspiring boy racer to go looking for. It has become a cult car for good reason, being reliable, tough as old boots and fast as the wind. An Impreza isn’t cheap to run, but the earlier models offer more boom for the buck than anything else in the same price bracket boots and fast as the wind.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1,994 cc Flat Four Turbo
Depended on variant – typically a top speed of 137 mph (220 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.8 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
There have been numerous special editions of the Impreza Turbo, many attracting a good premium for their rarity value and superior internal finish. UK examples to look for include the RB5, Series McRae, Terzo, Catalunya and Prodrive WR Sport.