Subaru's new four-wheel-drive hot hatch will look very similar to this WRC concept
15 August 2007

Look past the huge wing and rally-spec front bumper of this Subaru WRC car and you’re looking at the next WRX STi, the car that will hopefully give the awkward new Impreza a much-needed dose of attitude.

Released as a taster of Subaru’s next rally car, the WRC Concept (which will be at the Frankfurt motor show in September) uses a bodykit that will turn up in a slightly toned-down version on the production STi in 2008.

Our spy pictures of the STi testing in Germany show that the two cars share the same blistered wheel arches and front wing design. These are not merely plastic addenda, but fully integrated new panels. Major changes to the standard Impreza body pressings like these would be too expensive for the rally team to do by itself; it’s only financially viable for the production version of the car.

At the rear, the production STi will get quad pipes instead of the rally car’s twin exhaust, but the shape of the rear valance will be very similar. The disguise on the test car’s front wing appears to be hiding an intake similar to the rally car’s. The rally car even wears a small STi badge on the front grille.

The STi will be the most ferocious of the new Imprezas. It will have wider tracks than the standard car, which will help to address its ungainly looks, and should be good for over 300bhp from the flat-four engine.

It will also be fairly expensive, costing around £30,000 in the UK. Subaru will not be importing the WRX Impreza to the UK, making the STi the only turbocharged Impreza available here.

Subaru will also unveil the facelifted Tribeca at Frankfurt. It gets new front and rear styling along with a new 3.6-litre engine and a “more responsive” five-speed auto.

Our Verdict

Subaru Impreza

It may not be an obvious choice for most buyers, but this four-wheel-drive, sub-£20k hatch does have merit

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