The Subaru Impreza WRX is a special version of the Subaru Impreza. Other forms of this car include the Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS and the Subaru Impreza Outback.

The WRX is the model based on the rally racing car version. The various models are upgraded from the standard Imprezas by having turbos and fancier suspension. And fancy steering wheels. The WRX can be had in 4-door sedan or 'sport wagon' form. The sport wagon lacks the fender flares, so if you take off the WRX logo, it would make a wonderful Q-ship.

Long available only in Japan and Europe, it is being offered in the USA for the first time in 2000 (which, in car-time is the 2002-model year). Car magazines report they are selling like hotcakes, in many cases sight unseen.

The Subaru Impreza WRX is the natural enemy of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution series.


I want to one up wonko by buying the "special" or "of DOOM!" version of the WRX - the Subaru Impreza WRX STi, when it becomes available. And if they'll sell it in the US, the even-more-special Subaru Impreza WRX STi ProDrive Style.

The STi part stands for Subaru Technica International, the special in-house tuning shop. The difference between the standard WRX and the STi version include:

  • more horsepower - around 280hp
  • reinforced engine block, specially coated pistons
  • more turbo boost
  • 6-speed manual gearing
  • variable center differential
  • numerous minor body and interior details

The ProDrive style is a style package - bigger wing on the back, different bumpers, different gauge package, weird WRC-style roof vent, etc.

It should cost in the vicinity of $30,000.


September 2004 - I have actually purchased a Subaru Impreza WRX STi. ~$34,000. It has around 300hp at the wheels. It has driver-controlled center differential. It is blue, with gold rims. It has a ridiculously large wing in the back.

Some points about the car:

  • no clock. I got a 6-disc Cd changer, but no clock. Silly oversight.
  • The suspension is hard, the tire is performance oriented = ride is bumpy
  • It is fast.
  • Mileage isn't great.
  • It's probably the best car I will ever drive.
A sad note is that the WRX's natural enemy, the Lancer Evo series put out by Mitsubishi, has a hazy future due to Mitsubishi's uncertain future.
The Subaru Impreza WRX is an impressive car to say the least. To go even further and say it's an engineering marvel would still be an understatement. This is without a doubt one of the fastest cars for your money. Car and Driver rated it one of the ten best cars of 2002, and Consumer Reports gave it the top rating in its "fun to drive" category. As if that's not enough, it recieved a "best overall" crash test rating from the IIHS, with optimal results in every safety category.

I'm biased, of course. I bought one. I love it.

To see how much I love it, just look at some of the amazingly stupid things I've done with it.

2002 Subaru Impreza WRX Specs (U.S. Version)

Price as tested: $24,520

General Data
Curb weight........3130 lb
Weight dist f/r....61/39 (w/driver)
Wheelbase..........99.4 in.
Track, f/r.........58.5 in./58.3 in.
Length.............173.4 in.
Width..............68.1 in.
Height.............56.7 in.
Ground clearance...6.1 in.
Trunk space........15.6 cu ft

Engine
Type...............aluminum block and heads, turbocharged 
                   & intercooled flat-4
Valvetrain.........DOHC 4-valve/cyl
Displacement.......122 cu in.
Bore x stroke......3.62 x 2.95 in.
Compression ratio..8.0:1
Horsepower (SAE)...227 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Bhp/liter..........113.8
Torque.............217 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Redline............7000 rpm
Fuel injection.....elect. sequential port
Fuel...............premium unleaded, 91 pump octane

Chassis & Body
Layout.............front engine/all-wheel drive
Body/frame.........unit steel
Brakes: Front......11.4-in. vented discs
        Rear.......10.3-in. discs
Assist type........vacuum; ABS
Total swept area...384 sq in.
Swept area/ton.....232 sq in.
Wheels.............cast alloy, 16 x 6.5JJ
Steering...........rack & pinion, variable power assist
Overall ratio......16.5:1
Turns, lock-lock...3.0
Turning circle.....35.4 ft

Suspension
Front: MacPherson struts, lower L-arms, coil springs,
       tube shocks, anti-roll bar
Rear: Struts, trailing arms, twin lower lateral
      links, coil springs, tube shocks, anti-roll bar
      
Acceleration
Time to speed      Seconds
   0-30 mph........2.0
   0-40 mph........3.1
   0-50 mph........4.4
   0-60 mph........5.7
   0-70 mph........7.8
   0-80 mph........9.8
   0-90 mph........12.3

Time to distance
   0-100 ft........2.9
   0-500 ft........7.8
   1/4 mile........14.4 @ 95.4 mph
   
Braking
From 60 mph........138 ft.
From 80 mph........247 ft.
Control............excellent
Brake feel.........very good
Overall rating.....good

Handling
Lateral acceleration
  200-ft skidpad...0.84g
  Balance..........moderate understeer

Speed through
  700-ft slalom..........62.8 mph
  Balance................moderate understeer
  Lateral seat support...very good

Fuel Economy
EPA city/highway...20/27 mpg
Cruise range.......est 313 miles
Fuel capacity......15.9 gal.

Accomodations
Seating capacity...5
Head room f/r......38.0 in./35.8 in.
Seat width f/r.....2 x 17.8 in./51.5 in.
Front leg room.....45.0 in.
Rear knee room.....22.0 in.

Safety
dual front airbags
front seat side airbags
front seatbelt pretensioners
anti-lock braking
(all standard equip.)
All data is from the Car & Driver 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX Road Test booklet

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