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Old 10-22-2000, 03:15 AM   #1
Lil Bretto
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Exclamation New Impreza Vs Old Impreza (drive.com.au article)

--> http://www.drive.com.au/news/default...ews/news1.html <--


Suba nova: Original WRX vs sequel
First Published: The Sydney Morning Herald
Friday, October 20, 2000


Weighed down by engineering and expectation, the new WRX has a different kind of star status. It is no longer a nimble slingshot but, says Joshua Dowling it still delivers driver satisfaction.


The most anticipated car of the year is finally here. After years of wild speculation and shock-horror-scoops, it is in showrooms and on the street.

For those wondering what the hype was all about, we're talking about the successor to Subaru's WRX. The pocket rocket, the cult car, the ram-raiders' favourite. Now everyone wants to know: "what'll-she-do-mate? ... is it better or worse than the old one?"

There are almost 10,000 WRXs on Australian roads even though it looks like there are more. Owners are keen to find out if it's worth updating and the rest of the country - including work colleagues and family members who've had to endure gushing stories from gushing owners - is wondering if there will be an end to this madness (hey, Australians love to lop a tall poppy and this could be their big chance).

As with all big-name sequels, expectations are high. Can the latest version (pictured above) ever be better than the original (below)? And whether it is cars or movies, the pundits are quick to pass judgment - even if they've only seen a highlights package.

When the covers came off the new WRX in August, and those headlights first saw the light of day, there was a global gasp. When crucial details began to emerge the tech heads and hardcore car buffs were quick to denounce the car as not only ugly, but slower to boot. This, perhaps, is the more serious crime.

On paper, there was a grim story to tell. The car was 120kg heavier yet had no more power. Cue "what-have-they-dones" by the thousands.

What makes things more difficult for Subaru is that it has a highly specialised, highly educated customer base that knows Newton metres from kilowatts and how they relate to the acceleration of a car, inertia and G forces. These are people who spend thousands of dollars modifying their cars to find fractions of seconds in extra performance and who have had a magnifying glass on the WRX from day one. It never stood a chance.

At least it's in good company. When a new model Porsche 911 comes out, the aficionados ponder whether it has lost "its character, its edge" before belatedly coming to the party.

After driving the new WRX back-to-back with its predecessor, Drive can confirm the changes are radical.

First, the bad news: it is slower. Subaru claims a zero to 100km/h time of 6.2 seconds - but independent testing by the NRMA for Drive showed the best result was a fraction under 7.0 seconds, about a second slower than the figure widely published by motoring magazines.

It's not all bad. What the WRX has lost in straight-line speed it has gained in other areas. The young, brash WRX has been to finishing school. It is more refined, better mannered - and better equipped to tackle the big world.

The big question is: do buyers want a more mature machine? Subaru has bet the farm on it.

In stark contrast to the original WRX of 1994 (a nimble no-frills small car with a big heart), the new WRX is fully loaded.

Extra equipment helps point the car upmarket - and ease the pain of a currency-related 6 percent price hike to $42,990. Climate control air-conditioning, a six-CD in-dash player, remote central locking and power everything is standard. The licence-saving cruise control, however, will probably find greatest favour.

The interior has a quality feel and all buttons and dials are well placed and easy to use. Owners of the current car will notice the compartment on top of the dashboard (otherwise known as the "infringement holder") has been replaced by a digital clock. The seats look familar but are all-new and interior roominess rivals the larger Liberty.

The key to the car's strength is its skeleton; the bodyshell has been designed to be as rigid as an iron girder. With a strong frame, the theory goes, everything else will work better around it. This it does.

No-one ever criticised the grip of the old WRX but the new one is even more sure-footed thanks to the advancements of suspension fettling, big, sticky tyres on 17-inch wheels and a wider footprint. If the old car gripped like a cat on carpet, the new one grips like a cat with eight legs.

The ride is much softer, without losing the car's sporting edge. Occupants need no longer brace for bumps.

The brakes have lost the wooden feel and the pedal is much more progressive, with plenty of bite. The front brakes are carried over but the rears are twin-piston opposed calipers with ventilated discs. Translation: superior.

The new WRX is quieter, too. There is virtually no tyre roar on coarse surfaces at freeway speeds and the body slips through the air without the bustle of the old car.

There is more sound deadening between the engine and driver - the whoosh of the turbo can barely be heard - and the "Rex rumble" from the exhaust is audible only if the window is down. For some, this may come as a disappointment.

Only in Japan does the WRX get the new 184 kW engine to offset the body's weight increase (a byproduct of improvements in size, strength and safety); Australian buyers get a revised version of the previous car's 160kW engine. Subaru has yet to develop the 184kW engine to run on Australia's lower-octane fuel.

Subaru claims the torque curve is flatter and that the car pulls from lower in the rev range. This we can confirm, with the WRX having an almost seemless surge of pulling power. This also helps once on the move but cruising at 60km/h is still more comfortable in fourth gear than fifth.

The old car had a very solid steering feel, the new car is overly light and sensitive which makes the car feel as if it wants to wander at freeway speeds. This, apparently, is an easy fix with a new calibration for which Australian buyers will have to wait until next October.

Some idiosyncracies live on. The gearbox, although improved, is still notchy. Selecting reverse can sound like someone's hitting the gearbox with a spanner. When down, the window rattles as the door is closed. And the clutch needs finessing when engaging gears.

Some deft touches remain. WRX owners who got excited about the droplets of water on the back of the bonnet scoop in driving rain will go dewy-eyed again - the airflow still forms a vortex of droplets at freeway speeds.

The problem here: Subaru has to get drivers behind the wheel to see over the bonnet (which, as a weight-saving gesture, is made of aluminium). For evidence that the new car's styling is still an issue, take note that it is now possible to test-drive a WRX - with the predecessor, it was easier to meet the Pope than take a WRX around the block.

Now the dealers are bending over backwards for potential buyers. Expect sales staff to tell you, while you wait for a drive, how good they think the car looks.

Already, Subaru is boldly claiming it has 450 paid-up deposits. Only time (and sales figures) will truly tell.

So, is it still a WRX? Yes and no. Hardcore buyers will miss the raw, nimble slingshot they know and love. But Subaru says it is prepared to lose these buyers to gain those wanting more refinement.

The WRX has lost some of its sting but, in a strange way, it delivers a different kind of driver satisfaction. The previous model was in your face; in the new car, sensations need to be teased and pursued.

Significantly, the new car still exhilarates on a winding road. Which is a good thing, because that's what lies ahead.


In the flesh
In a major coup, Subaru's World Rally Car was unveiled at the launch of the new WRX on the Gold Coast on Monday afternoon - days before the British debut (Subaru's rally team is based in the UK) and almost a month before the Japanese will see one in the flesh.

A third $1.1 million "prototype is testing in Finland. The Australian car will stay for the Sydney Motor Show in November.

Click on image to enlarge.


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Old 10-22-2000, 03:26 AM   #2
Hoopster
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Good to see that they are fixing those little problems early on, that way the WRX will be reliable by the time we get it !

Oh yeah, one other thing, if the article is correct Aus/Europe didn't get the "full power" WRX solely because of the fuel. Probably the same for North America then.

[This message has been edited by Hoopster (edited October 22, 2000).]
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Old 10-22-2000, 04:53 AM   #3
IsraelGT
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As for the "just under 7 sec o-60",
NRMA tested the car and so I went to thier site and they also managed a poorly 6.7 sec for the current Impreza turbo,
while "Top gear", "Performance Car", "Car", "Autocar" and "evo" all managed to sprint it in less than 5.5 sec.
I alredy sent them a feedback and waiting for their answer.
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Old 10-22-2000, 04:58 AM   #4
IsraelGT
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Oh and they managed only 7.4 sec on the S4!
http://www.nrma.com.au/Page/Public?PageId=RT542P
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Old 10-22-2000, 05:15 AM   #5
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Thanks for the followup with NRMA, Israel GT. I am concerned now. Many of us have said, "Looks be damned as long as he is a goer." Maybe she's neither. Oh no.

Perhaps they tested on a very hot day, at very high altititude, on a very sticky surface, with aftermarket slicks, a fresh motor, and a hamfisted driver.
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Old 10-22-2000, 05:57 AM   #6
T-WRX
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Thumbs down

Decided to dig a little at NRMA as well.

Integra Type R ---- 8.5 seconds
Boxster S --------- 6.7 sec
911 Carrera ------- 6.2 sec
Honda S2000 ------- 7.6 sec
Celica GTS -------- 9.6 sec
BMW Z3 1.9 -------- 10.5 sec

I think it is safe to say that this site does not believe in launching the car hard. They probably take their foot off the brake, and ease it into first gear with no wheelspin, and then mash the gas.

But NRMA is owned and operated by an INSURANCE company. Should we be surprised at the results?
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Old 10-22-2000, 09:24 AM   #7
matt7184
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Comon, they could squeeze off some worse times to drop our insurance!
I was worried about what they said on power, but this has taken my worries away.
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Old 10-22-2000, 09:24 AM   #8
matt7184
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Also, how much HP does OZ get?
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Old 10-22-2000, 09:25 AM   #9
IsraelGT
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Same as Europe, 218/5 hp.
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Old 10-22-2000, 09:27 AM   #10
IsraelGT
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They also got the STI in the old shape with 276hp, but the new one is only 218hp for now.
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Old 10-22-2000, 01:06 PM   #11
IsraelGT
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So think at it this way the new Impreza is faster than the S4 with an avarage driver in the driver's seat.
and in the 0-60 times we are used to read about in magazines it should be below 5.5 (what the S4 does).
I think its fast enough!
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Old 10-22-2000, 01:15 PM   #12
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"So, is it still a WRX? Yes and no. Hardcore buyers will miss the raw, nimble slingshot they know and love. But Subaru says it is prepared to lose these buyers to gain those wanting more refinement."

OK for those who notice, I am not against of the new WRX. Tho I have some qualms of the front lights, I still welcome it cus that's wha tI want in a car. However The above statement from Subaru sorta turns me off. I am quite satisfied with my current inpreza interior quality. If I want refinement I'd get a Bimmer. What I love abuot hte Impreza is that it's a point and shoot car no fuss no complains. I would sorely hate to miss out the nimble responsive nature of the older WRX if this new one has los tthat characteristics due to refinement.
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Old 10-22-2000, 02:24 PM   #13
T-WRX
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Gambit - I see you are keeping with the double post nature of this thread!

I think that article was total BS. Until someone lines up the cars side by side and does a shootout, the answers won't be known. The author is simply feeding on the intense interest in the new car, i.e., he's a tease!
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Old 10-22-2000, 08:20 PM   #14
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Doh! hehehehe thanks for telling me bud!
Actually that's how I raise the number of post! But I will have to triple, quadruple post to catch up to 8C!!!
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Old 10-23-2000, 12:16 AM   #15
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To get factory claimed 0-60 numbers from the integra type R, celica gts and s2000 you gotta drop the clutch at 7500 rpm.
Drop the clutch at 4500 rpm and you get an 8 sec 0-60 s2000. Drop it at 7500(this is where the 153 ft/lbs of torque is) and you get a mid 5 0-60.

Basically the numbers that the NRMA gives are those that "average" drivers will get and not performance hungry freaks

[This message has been edited by shabby (edited October 22, 2000).]
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Old 10-23-2000, 12:33 AM   #16
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I dont know that i can agree with that. I would imagine way too much wheelspin would occur.

anyone else know?

matt
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Old 10-23-2000, 12:49 AM   #17
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A local paper reviewed the s2000 a month or so ago and when they dropped it at 4500 rpm, the car bogged and got to 60 mph in 8 secs. When dropped at 7500 rpm, it did spin the wheels but it didnt bog at all like it did when launched at 4500 rpm.

Remember, these little honda/toyota engines make no torque until they hit the redline.
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Old 10-23-2000, 06:37 AM   #18
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Well stoplight racing is fun and all, but only one quote made me more happy I'm getting the new Rex:

Quote:
If the old car gripped like a cat on carpet, the new one grips like a cat with eight legs.
Shane Kullman
'98 RS Red
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