Saturday, August 16, 2008

2008 Subaru Impreza WRX

2008 Subaru Impreza WRX Hatchback

Pictured above is the Australian WRX (RHD). I drove the US-spec model (LHD). I was surprised when I walked into the Subaru dealership today, the salesman just tossed me the keys and did not accompany me with the test drive. Wow. (The photos presented here have been gathered from other sources).



My impressions with driving the WRX are pretty good. The drive train is really quiet compared to my 2007 Impreza. The 5-speed transmission was a little better shifting-wise, but the clutch was the same. Acceleration was tremendous. I took off from the lot very slowly just to see how quiet the car was - and it was very silent.

However I put my foot down after three blocks and heard the turbo spool up very quickly. The car jerked ahead and I was immediately impressed with the amount of power available to this car. I think the WRX has about 224 bhp, my car only has 173 bhp. So you can appreciate the difference in power and acceleration. I was easily able to pass any car on the highway. I climbed a very steep and twisty grade. I felt very uneasy in the car, I had a sense that if I pushed this car the wheels would break loose and I would "spin out" of control.

I told the salesman about this and key told me the wheels would NEVER break loose. There's not enough power for that to happen, like in the STi. I drove the hatchback model. The car had Satellite radio, which was pretty good but there was no DVD navigation. You only get that in the USA (which sucks because I think we should get that too). The car's seats were very good - comfy recaro-like seats. There wasn't any crazy color combination - just dark black and dark grey. The car is very reserved and attracts little to no attention.



One thing that bothered me was the hood bulge from the top mounted inter cooler. Although smaller than the previous models, I did find it very annoying to look over it. Why couldn't Subaru put a front mounted inter cooler on this car? It would certainly avoid any engine heat soak that occurs after hard driving. But the car is an upgrade from last years model, that is for sure. My beef with the interior is that they are still using that crappy grey plastic in there. It scratches easily and the whole car gets dirty quickly. I'm constantly cleaning my car every other week. Of course my car seats are light grey on dark black - total contrasts to the 2008 Impreza.



The hatchback is a decent car. The rear tail lights are an abomination of altezza and LED's. The rear seats fold forward, something that doesn't happen on my car. I really want an automatic for my next car. I'm a lazy bastard and I'm tired of shifting. I asked the Subaru salesman if the company is ever going to get into the dual-clutch automatics like Nissan has. He didn't know if there were going to do that or not. Apparently Toyota owns about 14% of Subaru now, which means a new joint vehicle will be coming out of the woods in a couple of years from now. You can bet it'll have the Subaru's symmetrical all wheel drive.

The driving impressions were good. I really liked the turbo in the car - it gave it more oooomph in driving. Why didn't I take any pictures? Because most of you have already seen a 2008 WRX in person anyway, so what's the point? I tested out the cars heated seats - which were very comfy btw. An interesting inclusion in the WRX was the fuel economy meter which also doubles as the clock in the center console stack. A beef I have with the WRX is that there is no boost gauge. I know, I know, only ricers get those gauges. But I'd still like to know at least roughly how many PSI I am pushing with the turbo engaged.



So after that driving exercise I headed back home and stopped into Tim Hortons. On my way there I passed a sweet Subaru Legacy Spec. B. That's the 300 horsepower edition legacy folks. The Legacy guy followed me into Tim Hortons and I complimented him on his car. He loves it. It's the perfect sleeper car. Even his wife loves the car. The 6-speed in the car is the same transmission found in the WRX STi. After a brief conversation, I said goodbye and looked longingly at the Legacy.

They're too expensive but damn, I would love to have one!

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