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by George Skentzos

Subaru has released the official specifications for the all new Australian 2008 Subaru Impreza. Riddled with controversy over its new look, the new Impreza’s reception was less than warm – however not out of the ordinary for a new Impreza – think ‘bug-eye’.

Despite no longer being in the same market as the all new Mitsubishi Evolution, the top-of-line 2008 Impreza WRX has turned into potentially the hottest hot-hatch and with the STi still to come, things are sure to heat up.

The all new Impreza line-up consists of four models – the R, RX, RS and of course – the turbocharged WRX.

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Some notable highlights of the new generation Impreza include:

  • Elegant new hatchback design – mesh grille for Australian spec RS and WRX
  • Lighter yet stronger – weight savings up to 48 kg
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control – class leading safety
  • 2.0 litre DOHC naturally aspirated engines – 20 per cent more power, 7 per cent more torque than superseded 2.0 SOHC; 5.3 per cent more torque than superseded 2.0 DOHC
  • Turbo engine torque kicks in 800 rpm earlier for enhanced drivability
  • All engines more fuel efficient
  • SPORTSHIFT transmissions for all automatic Imprezas
  • Active Valve Control System – all engines
  • Euro STEP4 emission compliant
  • Newly developed double wishbone rear suspension for optimum ride and handling
  • Larger cabin, shorter body – 4415 mm v 4465 mm previously
  • Wider cargo area
  • Significant improvements in NVH
  • Height and telescopic adjustable steering in all Imprezas
  • Hill Start Assist (manual variants) – forward and reverse
  • Rear diffuser on RS and WRX for added aerodynamic efficiency

Colours

All variants:

  • Obsidian black pearl
  • Satin white pearl
  • Spark silver metallic (new)
  • Lightning red (new)

Impreza R, RX and RS:

  • Steel silver metallic (new)
  • Dark gray metallic (new)
  • Topaz gold metallic (new)
  • Newport blue pearl

Impreza WRX:

  • WR blue mica
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Starting off the range at $24,490 is the Impreza R manual which replaces the previous 2.0i. Also available with a SPORTSHIFT automatic priced at $26,490, the R is equipped with a new four-cylinder 2.0 litre DOHC horizontally opposed boxer engine which is also seen across the naturally aspirated models – R, RX and RS.

“We’re confident it presents a compelling case not only for small car buyers, but for medium and large-car buyers looking for a comprehensively equipped alternative.”

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MY08 Impreza R

The NA engine produces 110 kW of power at 6400 rpm and 196 Nm at 3200 rpm – a 20 per cent improvement in power and seven per cent in torque over the superseded 2.0 SOHC engine, and a 5.3 per cent torque increase over the previous 2.0 DOHC unit. Fuel economy is 8.9L/100km for the manual and 0.1L better for the auto – a 9.18 and 8.33 percent improvement respectively over the previous model.
Standard equipment in the R model are as follows:

Safety

  • ABS anti-lock brakes with four-wheel discs and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
  • Automatic transmission lock-out – need foot on brake, key in ignition “on” position, to release lever
  • Brake Assist
  • Child seat anchor points including ISO FIX
  • Constant All-Wheel Drive
  • Curtain airbags – full length
  • Dual front airbags
  • Dual side airbags
  • Four wheel disc brakes (ventilated front, solid rear)
  • Front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters. Double pretensioners on driver’s seatbelt
  • Front adjustable seatbelt anchorage
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Rear door child lock
  • Seatbelt indicator lights – front seats
  • Shock absorbing brake and clutch pedals
  • Side intrusion bars
  • Three-point A/ELR rear centre seatbelt
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control
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Interior

  • AM/FM radio, single in-dash CD, MP3/WMA compatible, four speakers
  • Bottle holders in each door + two cup holders in centre console
  • Cargo area light
  • Cargo hooks
  • Cargo security blind
  • Central locking – remote
  • Cruise control – steering wheel buttons
  • Driver’s footrest
  • Height and reach adjustable steering column
  • Height adjustable driver’s seat
  • Immobiliser security system
  • Manual air conditioning
  • Map lights (2)
  • Power steering, mirrors and windows
  • Rear illumination instrument display
  • Remote fuel lid release – tethered fuel cap
  • Seatback pocket (passenger side)
  • SPORTSHIFT four-speed automatic transmission option
  • Two remote central locking keys
  • Vanity mirror
  • 60/40 split/fold rear seat
  • 12V/120W power jacks
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Exterior

  • 16-inch steel wheels – spacesaver spare
  • Chrome-surround grille
  • Colour-coded mirrors and door handles
  • Headlights auto off
  • Rear roof spoiler with LED brake light
  • Rear roof mounted radio antenna
  • Rear wiper
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Other features

  • Auto hatch unlock on key
  • DataDot security technology
  • Electronic Throttle Control (ETC)
  • Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty
  • 2.0 litre DOHC horizontally opposed boxer engine. 110 kW/6400 rpm, 196 Nm/3200 rpm
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Another level up brings you to the Impreza RX model. Priced at $26,490 for the manual and $28,490 for the four-speed SPORTSHIFT automatic, it is powered by the same NA aspirated engine as the R. Adding to the standard features in the RX model is a six-stack CD with 10 speakers, 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control air conditioning, front fog lights, leather steering wheel with audio controls and a leather gearshift.

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MY08 Impreza RX

Rounding off the list for the naturally aspirated models is the RS which starts at $29,490 for the manual and $28,490 for the SPORTSHIFT automatic. Adding to the list of features found on the RX model, the RS also receives a tail pipe cover, sports bucket seats, sports body kit, privacy glass, different cloth trim, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear diffuser, double locking system, RS badge and mesh grille with optional sat nav priced at $2,990.

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MY08 Impreza RS

Finally, at the top of the range (for now) is the turbocharged WRX. Available exclusively as a manual and starting at $39,990, the all new WRX is powered by a 2.5 litre turbocharged boxer engine which develops 169 kW at 5200 rpm and 320 Nm at 2800 rpm – 800 rpm earlier than the previous model.
“WRX retains its award-winning performance credentials but delivers them through a far more mature and sophisticated premium package that we are convinced will broaden its appeal.”
WRX engine changes include a new oil pump and tumble generator valve for fuel efficiency gains; new spark plugs for both fuel efficiency and exhaust gas performance benefits, and a new intercooler and turbocharger for better output. Fuel economy stands at 10.7L/100km – a 1.83 percent improvement over the previous model.

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MY08 Impreza WRX

On top of the standard features available in lower models, the WRX adds a rear Limited Slip Differential, electroluminescent gauges, 17-inch alloy wheels, self-levelling Xenon headlights with pop-up washers, three year Roadside Assist, alarm system and optional sat nav.

Suspension

Impreza’s new suspension is based on Liberty and has been developed to optimize comfort, stability and driving ease.

The front strut suspension offers high lateral rigidity, improving steering response and cornering stability. Lighter than the previous system, it reduces cabin shock levels over bumps.

All Imprezas have new double-wishbone rear suspension. While enhancing handling, comfort and NVH, this also means less cargo area intrusion.

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Security

All Imprezas are equipped with the latest advanced engine immobilisers and DataDot theft protection.

Impreza WRX has only one double-locking barrel lock, located in the driver’s door.

It also has an alarm system with ultrasonic sensors, which is armed by using a remote function.

All Imprezas have remote tailgate unlocking too.

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Entertainment

Entry level Impreza has a high quality sound system featuring four speakers with AM/FM/CD tuner and MP3/WMA compatibility.

Impreza RX, RS and WRX feature a 10-speaker six-stack in-dash CD system that adds tweeter speakers installed in each door gusset.

An auxiliary terminal is installed in the centre console.

Steering wheel audio controls are standard on Impreza RX, RS and WRX.

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Navigation

The optional navigation system available in Impreza RS and WRX features an intuitive seven-inch touch screen display within easy reach of the driver.

While it removes the six-stack CD changer it includes:

  • DVD/CD player
  • AV input jacks
  • WMA/MP3 compatibility
  • VGA screen for in-car entertainment
  • Bluetooth compatibility
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Whilst the all-new 2008 Impreza may have lost its boy-racer flair, it is still a great package at a competitive price. Don’t rule them out for performance either as Subaru still have an ace up their sleeves with the as yet unrevealed 2008 Subaru WRX STi which is sure to get the adrenaline pumping.

George Skentzos




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