What is it?
It’s the Subaru Impreza Litchfield Type-20, a Subaru Impreza STi made to go faster. But with a bit of a difference.
Specialist importer and tuner Litchfield’s Type-20 is based on the Japanese domestic version of the Impreza and it’s meant to compete with the fastest variants of Mitsubishi’s Evo X. It generates 394bhp.
Because the Type-20 is based on the Japanese Impreza rather than the UK one, it has a 2.0-litre engine rather than a 2.5.
Despite the 2.0-litre unit’s smaller capacity, it is very over-engineered and can actually deliver more power reliably than the 2.5.
The 2.0-litre unit forms the basis for Subaru’s WRC and Group N rally cars. Litchfield has previously had a 2.0-litre race car delivering 600bhp; that sort of output would melt the 2.5.
Litchfield’s modifications to make the Type-20 hit its 394bhp and 375lb ft run deep. There’s ECU remapping, a new induction system, a modified exhaust and a brand new bespoke turbocharger.
There are also a raft of suspension changes, aimed at sharpening the Impreza’s responses and releasing some of its potential, without ruining the comfort.
What’s it like?
It’s really very good. The suspension changes are evident straight away. Japanese-spec Imprezas get a faster steering rack anyway, but it’s the modifications that make it feel much, much sharper than the standard UK car.
Litchfield has specified firmer bushes, there’s also a front strut brace, lighter wheels and increased castor angles. The springs and (adjustable) dampers and anti-roll bars have also been uprated.
The effect is startling. The STi is firmer and much better controlled, without any great loss in comfort. The whole thing feels drawn-in and tightened.
The steering is direct, has good feel and pleasing accuracy. There’s still some body lean, but it’s more tightly contained, there’s good grip, little understeer and even a touch of line-tightening throttle adjustability.