2008 Subaru Impreza WRX Reader Review

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2008 Subaru Impreza WRX Reader Review

Price: $39,990

Performance: 169kW - 320Nm - 0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds

Our reader review of the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX comes from Mr Dan Brown, a long time Subaru and WRX enthusiast. As the former President of the WRX Club of QLD, Mr Brown is a known and respected figure in the WRX community. He has recently taken delivery of a new MY08 WRX and we caught up with him to find out what he thinks of his latest Subaru.


I would have to admit that I am a bit of a Subaru person. When the MY08 WRX arrived in my garage a few weeks ago, it became the fourth WRX that I have owned and the sixth Subaru (previously owned a GT and XT Forester).

When first pictures of the new WRX appeared on the net, I felt the same as the rest of you, the car did nothing for me, the once mighty WRX looked too conservative and it seemed nothing like Subaru’s traditional shapes.

The car I test drove was a WR blue demonstrator and I immediately warmed to the car once I saw it in the flesh. The front was a definite improvement and the whole package was much more appealing. The initial test drive left me so impressed that I came back to discuss a deal. Following some discussions I was pleased to confirm my purchase of a WR Blue MY08 WRX.

Driving along in 5th gear the car cruises at just a fraction over 2500 RPM at 100km/h (very similar to the ratios of the old Classic GC8 WRXs). This makes for a much more pleasant highway driving experience.

The gearbox has also improved. It has a more precise shift-feel and generally seems more confident. One fault I have to mention is the fly by wire electronic throttle control. Since its introduction in the Impreza range in 2006, it hasn't done much for true enthusiasts. Infact, I believe it's a hindrance to the WRX.

Bring me back a good old fashioned cable any day! The system also creates a number of issues for tuning as throttle inputs to the ECU are not linear.

There is no denying the MY08 WRX is very quiet. The exhaust design has changed significantly. Instead of the old straight through system, the new system now twists from the cat back to be perpendicular to the rear of the car. The cat at the centre of the system is huge and there is virtually no noise from idle what so ever.

What has impressed me most of all, is the handling dynamics of the new rex. The car is definitely the softest WRX yet. It rides bumps like no other rex I have owned and no longer rattles. This has, obviously, compromised handling a little with noticeable body roll.

Nonetheless, it's a good compromise between comfort and handling and perhaps shows the rex has grown up a little bit. I know some view the WRX as an enthusiasts' day to day car, but it seems with the new range, Subaru has left all the hardcore bits for the new STi and aimed the WRX for those looking for a balance of comfort and performance. Either way, I have been pleasantly impressed with the car’s handling capabilities so far.

This oversteer will particularly occur if you were to lift off mid corner. The MY08 also comes with VDC (ESP) as standard. The “off” button is underneath the steering column on the driver’s side. Like similar ESP systems, you can push it hard into a corner and the car brakes for you as well as cutting throttle input when it detects traction loss. But if you were going to go for a mountain run, you'd turn it off!

Moving on to the brakes, although a slight downgrade from previous model, the brakes feel confident and good enough for the everyday owner, but if you were serious about performance, you'd upgrade. It is disappointing that Subaru has gone cheap on the brakes by going back to unfinished callipers instead of the nicely painted Subaru ones we had on the previous generation.

The interior is quite different to the previous model with some subtle changes. The car definitely doesn’t have the same interior class as the Liberty and continues to be a little disappointing in this regard. The seats for this model are very thin in the back and very high backed. They are comfortable, but nothing like the support of the original shape. It has been a disappointing decline over the generations.

There is noticeable improvement in the interior width of the car and in particular, much more leg room in the back. Finally there is a telescopic steering rack! But boot space is rather disappointing. There is very little space available and with some child restraints in place, I doubt there will be enough space left for much else.

Subaru has finally ditched the god-awful Brandt alarm system in the new WRX. Meaning there is no longer any key pad for you to punch in your PIN code. There are now three immobilisation positions including one behind the instrument panel to make it even harder for thieves to take away your baby. I am just pleased to not have to worry about the anti-hijack mode ever again!

There is a key pad mounted to the inside of the fuse box which can be used for programming. There are some pretty cool functions if you are interested.

Overall I have been very impressed with my new beast. It is quick, nimble, but also presents that balance of comfort and performance that many owners are seeking. Plus it has many pleasing feature improvements over the old model.

Being the Subaru enthusiast that I am, I have already made plans for the car, such as wheels, springs, exhaust, UNIQ, Cold Air Intake and Blow Off Valve. I am sure you will hear about that in due time.

I am pleased with my purchase and looking forward to seeing the true potential of the new car , more so, I am keen to see what Subaru has planned with the upcoming STi, but for now it’s up to Tin Can Bay!

Dan Brown