The Subaru Impreza Turbo is a car that most people would not even notice, if it was parked next to you. If you was blown into the weeds, you will soon take note, and then you will discover that the only car that is better would cost you over £100,00 which would buy you 10 Impreza Turbo's if you could only get hold of them.
Performance car magazine (subscription hot line 01858 435337) had the following to say abount this remarkable car.
Lets not beat about the bush here. We adore the Impreza Turbo. Every year Subaru makes it even better and yet the price hardly twitches. For twenty grand nothing can touch it as an all-out, balls-out but completely practical package.
This Scooby has got a throbby, growly 2.0 litre flat four turbo motor and total-traction four-wheel-drive chassis that we know and love.
Every drive in the Impreza is special, from the moment the first slug of turbo power hits you in the kidneys, to the sound of the engine, brakes and exhaust ticking and pinging long after you've arrived at your destination.
Subaru has obviously learned a great deal from Prodrive because the standard car is now closer than ever to the Banbury-modified Imprezas. Early factory cars used to suffer from power understeer and remain neutral at best, but now the balance is fluid and adjustable. There's still understeer, but it only comes as a warning at McRae velocities, and with a little help from the brakes on turn-in you can set the Scooby into a highly entertaining tail-slide. Certainly not average four-wheel-drive behaviour, but then the Impreza isn't your average car.
On-paper performance isn't the Impreza's bag, though 208bhp, 144mph and 6.4sec from 0-60mph don't look too bad. If anything we reckon Subaru is being a bit shy about the Impreza's true power output. We reckon 230bhp is nearer the mark. Whatever, there are few cars that will get from point A to point B quicker. Throw in a wet or unfamiliar road and the Scoob is all but unbeatable.
One criticism that could be rightly levelled at Imprezas of the past is that they were a bit Spartan inside. Now even that weakness has been remedied with a pair of overtly bolstered, highly supportive race-style front seats. They're about the only things that grip harder than the car and they improve the whole driving experience immeasurably.
The Impreza will flatter the most and give the biggest confidence boost. The combination of enormous traction, Velcro grip and fierce overtaking power helps you exploit the smallest opportunity, while its viceless nature helps you out if you overcook things.
If you still mourn the passing of cars like the Escort Cosworth and Lancia Intergrale then it's time to throw off those widow's weeds. The Impreza has it all, and more. The street-cred of the Cossie and sheer heart of the Intergrale, all with reassuring Japanese reliabilty.
Like we say, the Impreza's a hero, a car so good that once you've driven one you lie awake at night thinking of ways to raise £20K.