If you remember well, we have talked about the 2002 Subaru Impreza quite a few times on this site including the presentation of the WRX and the unveiling of the rest of the Impreza line-up at the most recent Chicago auto show. But I have waited for spring to really try out the powerful WRX version. In fact, it is not one but two WRX's that I have driven in the past few weeks.
The first car was equipped by the four-speed automatic transmission; the second was a more convincing WRX with a five-speed manual transmission. Both cars were identical, two blue sedans (the WRX is also available as a station-wagon). In case you forgot, the Subaru Impreza WRX is a small all-wheel-drive car powered by a powerful 2.0-litre 16-valve flat-four engine with a turbocharger that pumps out 14.2 pounds of boost. Logically, such data should correspond to a real rocket on the road. Well...not all of the time...
My tests began with the automatic version. To start off with, I must warn the potential buyer that if he chooses the automatic transmission, he will have to cope with a car that is far from being spectacular at the starting line. In fact, the car is slow in its first few meters. But when this small mill reaches about 3,000 rpm, it then wakes up and accelerates to a point that passengers are pushed against their seat. The engine even reaches close to 7,000 rpm but stays very much controllable.
But when I got the manual transmission car, I could really appreciate the work done by Subaru engineers. Acceleration is a lot more convincing (even if at low rpm's, we still have to wait for the turbo to kick in) because the driver can rev the engine more easily. To reach the 100 kmh mark (61 mph), it takes around than 7 seconds or less. If the automatic transmission allows sure passing speed, the standard shift car is even faster, as long as the driver knows how to use the box (since its shifter is not as precise as we would have liked it to be).
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