By a cigarette paper I prefer the Subaru, but that might be a legacy of having been a McRae and Richard Burns fan rather than a Mäkinen supporter back in the day. Objectively, there’s little between them. And while that nostalgic rally connection is undoubtedly a large part of the appeal of these cars, it isn’t the whole story. What’s more significant still is that the Tommi Mäkinen Edition and 22B STi really are the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru Impreza at their very best.
1st, Impreza 22B - Brilliant steering and chassis balance combined with a great turbo engine to devastating effect.
2nd, Evo TME - Incredible agility, a characterful engine and pliant suspension make the TME the best Evo ever.
A Subaru enthusiast's view
Adrian Spencer, owner of the immaculate Impreza 22B STi used in our test, is the founder of Subaru specialist Adgespeed.
The company, based near Manchester, was established primarily to run Spencer’s own ex- Petter Solberg Impreza World Rally Car, but he says: “As a business, it needed to make money, so we also build and prepare rally cars for other competitors, as well as servicing and tuning road cars.
“The Subaru tuning scene is still fairly active. It’s been stable over the past 10 years. The older Imprezas are quite cheap now so we do see lots of cars that have been messed about with. People try to modify them without really knowing what they’re doing. We do lots of remapping, as well as engine rebuilds, fitting bigger turbos and so on.
“In recent years, prices have started to pick up and as the cars get older I think people will want to keep them in original specification. If you want to hold onto an Impreza for it to become a classic, it needs to be standard. I’ve seen people spend £30,000 tuning P1s, for example, and they’re worth less than an immaculate standard car would be.”
Subaru Impreza buying tips
Whichever potent Impreza you’re considering, make sure it has been properly looked after. They all require regular servicing, with oil changes every 6000 miles or so. Transmission and differential oil should be changed every 25,000 miles, while the cambelt should be swapped after 45,000 miles.
The turbo should always have been allowed to warm up and cool down gradually, so ask the seller what his or her driving habits are. The clutch, meanwhile, can wear out in as little as 40,000 miles.
Five Imprezas to buy - for every budget