Whether it rallied its way into your heart or hooked you during Baby Driver’s opening car chase, the Subaru Impreza WRX is an icon.
Like the original, the second-generation example is without a doubt a future classic. If its awesome looks and incredible performance have you in a trance, then get one for reasonable money while you still can.
Arriving in 2000, the Mk2 Impreza was popularly dubbed the Bugeye, due to its odd headlight design.
The WRX (available as either a saloon or an estate) has a five-speed manual gearbox and a 2.0-litre flat four making 215bhp, while the WRX STI (exclusively a saloon in the UK) has a six-speed manual and a 261bhp version of that engine, plus quicker steering and a limited-slip front differential. Four-wheel drive is standard for maximum traction.
The Blobeye took over in 2003, so called because of its bulgier face. The output of the WRX rose to 221bhp, but the WRX STI’s stayed the same.
The third and final iteration is the Hawkeye, sold from 2005. Its sharp and aggressive face matches the improved performance from its punchier (although arguably more fragile) 2.5-litre boxer. The WRX rose to 226bhp, the WRX STI to 276bhp.
As if there weren’t enough revisions to remember already, the last of the Blobeye cars is referred to as the STI 9. Some reckon this is the best of the breed, because it uses the Hawkeye’s running gear and later models’ switchable Driver Control Centre Differential (or DCCD, which allows the driver to send 65% of the power to the rear wheels) while retaining the 2.0-litre WRX STI engine.
The Hawkeye also gets a wider track, hence you will sometimes see examples listed as ‘widetrack’ cars.
No matter which variant you go for, though, performance is plentiful: 0-60mph takes 5.6sec in the Blobeye WRX and 5.2sec in the Hawkeye WRX STI, for example. Even the least powerful version, the Bugeye WRX, is unlikely to see the tail-lights of many hot hatches.