Subaru's high-stepping Impreza WRX sports sedan range gets a 2.5-litre turbomotor for the 2006 model year.
The bigger engine, and styling changes that include a smaller bonnet scoop for the intercooler and a new three-element grille are the major differences in the rally-bred WRX and STi.
The new styling brings aerodynamic improvements across the range. The WRX and STI now share the same smaller, aerodynamically efficient, turbocharger bonnet scoop.
The current body shape debuted in 2000 and was restyled in 2002 as a 2003 model. An all-new Impreza is two years away. Though the road cars sold here will have 2.5-litre motors, the Group N rally WRX STi will retain a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.
The only other Imprezas sold new by Subaru of New Zealand will have 2.0-litre motors. The 2.0R, which replaces the 2.5-litre Impreza RS uses the double overhead camshaft 2.0-litre flat four boxer motor first seen locally in the Legacy 2.0R.
The other naturally-aspirated Impreza sold here will be the 2.0i which will be imported as a limited production model at selected times during the year.
The Impreza line-up is now made up of the limited production 2.0i sedan and hatch in manual and automatic gearbox forms; 2.0R sedan and hatch (manual and auto); WRX sedan and hatch with five-speed manual gearbox, and WRX STi sedan with six-speed manual.
Subaru of NZ chief executive Wallis Dumper says the only non-turbo Imprezas sold in Japan will now be 1.5-litre cars, and those cars will be the versions brought in as Japanese used imports.
The WRX STi's Driver Control Centre Differential (DCCD) has been refined further. The unit allows drivers to shift the amount of drive to the rear wheels, allowing them to tune the amount of oversteer. A mechanical Limited Slip Differential has been added to the DCCD for better handling in corners.
Exhaust system changes improve the efficiency of the 2.0R, WRX and WRX STi engines and make the boxer beat more prominent.
The WRX STi's 2.5-litre motor develops 206kW of power at 5600rpm, and both the WRX and STi have improved power and torque across the engine range.
The 2.0R, WRX and WRX STi have electronic throttle control, and the 2.0i's single cam engine has a flatter torque curve for greater flexibility.
All Imprezas other than the WRX STI introduce side airbags for the first time in addition to the standard dual front airbags. Subaru says the STi's rally seats can't be fitted with the side airbags.
High Intensity Discharge headlights on the WRX and WRX STi have pop-out power jet washers. All 2006 Imprezas get a three-part mesh grille and new headlights. The bonnet is extended, with more efficient inlets integrated on Impreza WRX and WRX STi.
For added aerodynamic performance, the STi adds an aluminium roof vane to direct airflow on to the rear spoiler more efficiently. A rear underbody diffuser also reduces lift.
The WRX gets new design seven-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels. The 2.0R has a five-spoke 16-inch wheel pattern unique to the model.
The re-profiled front bumper includes new compact foglights for all Imprezas other than WRX STI, which features distinctive foglight covers. Naturally aspirated Imprezas add sporty new side sills.
WHAT YOU GET
The WRX has a 2.5 litre turbocharged horizontally opposed, 169kW boxer engine.
It has an alarm system, aluminium bonnet; aluminium pedals; electronic throttle control; High Intensity Discharge headlights with pop-up headlight washers; Momo signature leather steering wheel; rear spoilers for sedan and hatch, and sports interior and bodykit.
It has four-pot calliper front and two-pot rear ventilated disc brakes, Wheels are 17-inch seven-spoke alloys.
The STi adds Brembo brakes - 326mm four-pot calliper at the front, and 316mm, two-pot at the rear.
It has helical front and clutch type rear Limited Slip Differentials; a unique grille, and an instrument panel with large centre STi tachometer with driver adjustable rpm warning.
The intercooler gets a water-spray system, and the 2.5-litre motor develops 206kW.
There is red stitching on the leather steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake lever. Its sports interior, includes bucket seats with STi logo and blue inserts.
A six-speed close ratio manual transmission is fitted (WRX has a five-speed), and the STi gets Sports ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.
Wheels are 17-inch, 10-spoke gold-finish alloys.
SUBARU IMPREZA PRICES
Impreza 2.0i manual sedan, $24,990
Impreza 2.0i automatic sedan, $25,990
Impreza 2.0i manual hatch, $25,990
Impreza 2.0i automatic hatch, $26,990
Impreza 2.0R manual sedan/hatch, $34,990
Impreza 2.0R automatic sedan/hatch, $35,990
Impreza WRX 2.5 manual sedan/hatch, $44,990
Impreza WRX 2.5 STI sedan, $59,990
BRIEF 2006 SUBARU IMPREZA SPECIFICATIONS
Engines 2.0i: 1994cc SOHC 16-valve flat four. Multi-point sequential fuel-injection, Maximum power, 92kW at 5600rpm
Peak torque 184Nm at 3600rpm
2.0R 1994cc DOHC 16-valve flat four. Multi-point sequential fuel-injection. Maximum power, 118kW at 6400rpm. Peak torque, 186Nm at 3200rpm
WRX 2457cc DOHC 16-valve flat four. Multi-point sequential fuel-injection. Maximum power, 169kW at 5600rpm. Peak torque, 320Nm at 3600rpm
WRX STi 2457cc DOHC flat four. Single-toothed belt with auto adjuster. Multi-point sequential fuel-injection. Maximum power, 206kW at 5600rpm. Peak torque, 392Nm at 4000rpm
Front - 2.0i and 2.0R: MacPherson struts with coil springs. WRX and WRX STi: MacPherson struts, coil springs, inverted struts
Rear - 2.0i and 2.0R: MacPherson struts, coil springs. WRX, WRX STi: MacPherson struts, coil springs, inverted struts
Front - ventilated discs
Rear - solid discs (ventilated on WRX and WRX STi)
2.0i - 195/60 R15
2.0R - 205/50 R16
WRX - 215/45 R17
WRX STi - 225/45 R17