The facelifted Subaru Impreza was first shown in Europe at this week’s Frankfurt motor show, despite the car being on sale in Japan since June.
The third incarnation of the five-year-old saloon hits UK showrooms next month at prices marginally higher than that of current models.
Visually, it is the nose that has received the most treatment. Hawk-eye headlamps give the car a more-intimidating stance and the grille wears the new ‘spread wings’ corporate look, most recently witnessed on the B9 Tribeca off-roader. Aerodynamic revisions include vertical air intakes on the front bumpers to aid cooling, while the steroidal bonnet scoops on STi models are replaced with the WRX’s more-modest version due to increased air-stream efficiency.
The STi also benefits from aerodynamic tweaks developed for the forthcoming 2006 Impreza WRC. It gets a roof vane over the rear window and an under-bumper diffuser to improve high-speed stability. The Impreza’s interior also receives an update, gaining the centre console from the new Legacy and Forester.
But the changes are not merely cosmetic – three engines are new to the Impreza range. The naturally aspirated 2.0-litre unit in the 2.0R and 2.0R Sport gets a 35bhp power boost to 158bhp, while the WRX and WRX STi receive a new 2.5-litre engine producing 227bhp and 277bhp respectively. This gives the STi a top speed of 158mph and the next generation Mitsubishi Evo something to worry about.