RE: Subaru Impreza WRX STI Type UK: PH Fleet

RE: Subaru Impreza WRX STI Type UK: PH Fleet

Saturday 22nd December 2018

Subaru Impreza WRX STI Type UK: PH Fleet

Subarus are infamously always modified, and Ben likes to tinker a bit; you can see where this is going...



Fifteen years ago, you could pick up a brand new Subaru Impreza WRX STI for around Β£25,000. In today's money that's more like Β£37,000, but it got me thinking; what car could you buy today for that money that delivers a similar specification and driving experience of my beloved VK53 NCA?

We need to compare apples with apples, so it would have to be 300hp, four-wheel drive, have a manual gearbox, five doors and seat as many people. The obvious choice would be the outgoing WRX STI, although you can't buy one anymore. How about a Volkswagen Golf R? Audi S3 or a Ford Focus RS? I think that's about it.

Every time I get into the Impreza, it feels like an adventure. The little boy comes out in me; hearing the bassy boxer rumble, anticipating the turbo lag, looking out over the bonnet scoop and the sensation of feeling every horsepower being delivered to the road through the four-wheel drive system. There are no piped in induction notes or electronically controlled exhaust farts here; everything you hear is real. There isn't a car on sale today at this price point that can evoke such feelings, and that makes me sad.


Although it's not all doom and gloom. In a sanitised world of numb steering, linear power delivery and the future of electrified cars upon us, there are still manufacturers making great cars. If we forget about four-wheel drive, the FK8 Honda Civic Type R is an absolute belter, ticks most of my boxes and would probably be up there as my top choice. 'My' Peugeot 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport was hilarious good fun at sensible speeds and proves that manufacturers can find their mojo again. Amen to that.

But it doesn't stop me from feeling rather smug that while this isn't my daily car, I can still enjoy just going for a drive in a car that demands to be driven properly and that isn't doing all the work for you. Just as validly, the smile it puts on my face everyday when I look at it has far from worn off.

Determined to release a bit more of that legendary flat four sound, I started researching exhaust options. After hours of reading forum threads and listening to videos on YouTube, I purchased a used Cobra Sport system. I already have a non-resonated centre section so just bolted the back box onto that. While only marginally louder than the standard Prodrive box, it was exactly what I wanted. Bassy enough to be heard at low revs without droning and raucous enough as you climb through the rev range with occasional pops when shifting and on overrun. Perfect.


I'm sure every PHer has a routine when buying a new car; for me it's a good clean, followed by new wiper blades and mats. I do love a fresh set of carpet mats. I had a set saved on my wish list of parts from Scoobyworld, so I ordered a set along with their black mud flaps as I prefer the contrast compared to the OEM blue units. All little touches that would go unnoticed to most, but those things we car enthusiasts can enjoy.

The brakes were starting to judder, so with the front discs well past their best, I fitted a set of new OEM discs and pads all round. Other than that, I'm 3,000 miles in and it's running like a dream. As we're comfortably in those cold, damp and greasy months of the year, I find myself wanting to go for a drive even more to see just how well it holds up. I've never tried Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres before (which were on the car when I bought it) but I have to say I'm very impressed with them and the unrelenting grip, even in the wet. The sidewalls are a bit squidgy but that suits the Subaru's nature and adds to the rally car experience. On a recent run out with a friend we couldn't help but shout pace notes at each other. We can't be the only ones...

I'm yet to set off on a big adventure, but the mountains are calling and I must go. Plus with three PistonHeads Sporting Tours planned for 2019, there'll be plenty of excuses to go for a play.



FACT SHEET
Car:
2003 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Type UK
Run by: Ben Lowden
On fleet since: July 2018
Mileage: 50,340
Last month at a glance: The modifications commence, beginning with an exhaust...

Previous reports:
Lifelong Subaru fan Ben finally gets himself an Impreza




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Author
Discussion

C.MW

Original Poster:

163 posts

14 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
I love everything about your car Ben, from the rally blue exterior shade to the driving experience it offers to the sound it makes. Good on you for picking up one of the nicest examples around and I agree that there is nothing quite like it at any price in today's market. Happy motoring with your special scooby!

Edited by C.MW on Friday 21st December 06:40

borat52

186 posts

153 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
Very nice example.

Had a classic as my first car 15 years ago and am on my 3rd. Not been a day of car ownership that I haven’t had an Impreza.
Really wonderful things, still drive mine weekly despite it being the grunt of the litter these days.

Fitted MPSS tyres a few years ago and find them the best choice personally.

Iceicebsby1980

88 posts

43 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
I went from a e90 m3 . To a hawkeye wrx sti . Not regretting it one bit . The driver involvement in the Subaru even at low speeds is fun .

Ryvita

469 posts

155 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
A fine thing to enjoy, and there is no shame in light, tasteful modification. smile

I always ran Eagle F1s on my WRX and Forester STI. Good tyre, though not perhaps as ultimately grippy as some others, an excellent all rounder.

Another mod to consider: Do some research on the snorkel delete. Some people say it messes with the airflow meter, and can lose you a few HP. It definitely increases induction noise, which you may consider worth the hit.

beanoir

991 posts

140 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
Lovely looking example!

I picked up a 2005 Blobeye STi a couple of months ago to take over winter duties from the M5. I’ve ended absolutely loving the thing, far more engaging to drive than I ever imagined it would be. I think they’re great value at the moment if you can find a decent one.


greenarrow

1,720 posts

62 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
What a fabulous car. Just the right machine for the current constant wind and rain and a reminder that no matter how good current FWD hatches are, you cant beat a proper4wd system for British Winter driving.

I've got Goodyear Eagle F1s on my Insignia btw and they're brilliant tyres in the wet. A bit squidgy as you say, especially I found this summer when it was 28 deg C most days. In the wet however they just seem to find grip when you feel sure there shouldn't be any. Helped of course by good ride compliance, which was always a strong point in the Impreza. Modern hot hatches have got a bit too stiff, which I don't think helps wet weather road performance.

Edited by greenarrow on Friday 21st December 08:47

alorotom

6,752 posts

132 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
After a few years of scoobys being particularly nonexistent round my parts I have noticed a few very clean examples pooing about recently

I do still adore them and wish I had bought an STI Hawkeye when I test drove it rather than my RX8 - I just struggle a bit with the image of them as they have gone from twenties boy racers to (mainly) balding overweight fellas who are clearly enthusiasts in their 666getup, maybe one day

DuncB7

331 posts

43 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
Wonderful example. The youth in me would see a set of coilovers and gold Speedline Turini wheels on there but there is something to enjoy in that unmodified exterior.

Ran a P1 as a daily for 5 years - I don't think I'll ever get that level of engagement from a car again. Glad I did it, the cost of a buying a good classic (or even a pre-2008 Impreza for that matter) has become a touch prohibitive.

GravelBen

13,796 posts

175 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
I do like those smile Occasionally think about chopping in the GTB for an STI, but the extra space and comfort keeps winning... must be getting old.

ahghafoor

17 posts

146 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
Phwoar sounds so dirrrttty

big_rob_sydney

2,359 posts

139 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
Love Subaru's. Had 4, with the last one being a 22B which I ran as a daily for 7 years (but daily including a 2km trip to the kindergarten each day, just to keep things ticking over).

Definitely heart over head, but who cares? You only live once, so JFDI.

Ahbefive

11,651 posts

117 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
I loved my Scooby, what great cars. I haven't driven the non-widetrack dccd STi of this generation so would be interested to hear if there is as much noticeable difference as the price suggests.

ajmit1

28 posts

107 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
This just made my lunchtime at work remembering all the fun I had in my previous Classic Turbo 2000, Blobeye 305 & RB320, how I miss that last one.....

Krikkit

15,987 posts

126 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
ahghafoor said:
Phwoar sounds so dirrrttty
This, the perfect exhaust for it. Not too bean can loud, but good and sonorous.

soad

30,315 posts

121 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
ahghafoor said:
Phwoar sounds so dirrrttty
Didn't realise there was a video clip. cloud9

neil1jnr

1,275 posts

100 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
Stunning example. Always fancied a blob eye. thumbup Think I'd be hard pressed to buy one over an Evo VIII or IX MR (albeit they are probably more expensive).

Lovely sound, but it would have to be a Blitz Nur Spec R for me... wink

It is sad though, I haven't driven a modern 4WD hot hatch or saloon that has that feel and overall experience of an Impreza or Evo. The sounds, the lag, the smells and the driving experience! cloud9

Edited by neil1jnr on Friday 21st December 12:58

neil1jnr

1,275 posts

100 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
big_rob_sydney said:
Love Subaru's. Had 4, with the last one being a 22B which I ran as a daily for 7 years (but daily including a 2km trip to the kindergarten each day, just to keep things ticking over).

Definitely heart over head, but who cares? You only live once, so JFDI.
Hats off to using a 22B for daily for that long, I can't have imagined much people would use a 22B daily. Each drive must have been a pleasure. My P1 only sees April to September!

pilotdan

34 posts

136 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
Love the way these look and whilst 15 years ago these were still the cutting edge of all wheel drive performance, a modern Golf R or S3 will run rings around one of them AND give you 40 mpg on a motorway run.

Not for me anymore, but then we all grow up over time.

PaulD86

861 posts

71 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
This is making me miss my old Blobeye.... which is currently for sale - https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/201...

A beast of a car that really kept you on your toes. Modern stuff is so bland in comparison. And to the people who think modern stuff will run rings round these... I'm not so sure. That car covered ground so alarmingly fast when you grabbed it by the scruff of the neck that you were going faster than was ever even vaguely sensible long before the car gave up. On a track, maybe, on a typical Scottish B road... I'll take some convincing.

The lack of any driver aids was nice too. Mine had 'sports ABS' which was sort of the opposite of intrusive. It did kick in eventually.

After I sold it, it ended up with a lad who lives 2 mins walk from me. Drove it not long before he sold it and back to back with the Cayman R I replaced it with. Fascinating day out. Two completely and utterly different approaches and both great fun. Wish I still owned both!

rossub

2,252 posts

135 months

Friday 21st December 2018
quotequote all
pilotdan said:
Love the way these look and whilst 15 years ago these were still the cutting edge of all wheel drive performance, a modern Golf R or S3 will run rings around one of them AND give you 40 mpg on a motorway run.

Not for me anymore, but then we all grow up over time.
No we don’t. I’m 42 and have 2 Imprezas in my garage (not my Pistonheads garage)

You can keep your dull German white goods smile