1 September 2004

Subaru has given the Impreza WRX STi its most significant overhaul since the 2001 launch. From the outside only new, wider gold 17in alloys and rear wheelarch extensions signal the new model, but underneath plenty has changed.

Power from the turbocharged flat four is unchanged at 262bhp, but aerodynamics are improved with new underfloor covers. In an effort to improve steering response, the front suspension geometry and castor angle have been changed and the steering box features a more rigid mount.

The wheelbase has been stretched by 10mm and the rear track by 15mm. There’s a new helical front differential and the centre diff now has driver control in the mould of the WR1 special edition.

Inside is a revised dash with softer plastics, silvered centre console and a new steering wheel and gearknob. Expect it to cost up to £1000 more than the current car’s £24,995 when it goes on sale in November.

Another range-topper arrives a month earlier. The Forester 2.5 XT will cost around £25,000 and features a 208bhp 2.5-litre turbocharged version of the familiar flat-four. Top speed is 140mph and 60mph arrives in 6.0sec. Kit includes leather trim and sat-nav.

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