Yes, the four-wheel drive, 'Boxer' flat-four engine and boxy saloon shape were all still there, but so were a pair of googly 'Bugeye' headlights. If the original Impreza had been a slightly bland car made good with functional addenda for the performance versions, the Bugeye was just, well, a bit ugly.
Subaru cottoned on to this as fast as it could and a hasty restyle for the start of 2003 introduced a more normal headlight style that quickly became known as the Blobeye. More power also joined the fray at the same time for the standard WRX, going from 218hp to 225hp. The STI had 265hp until the 'Hawkeye' facelift of November 2005 raised that to 280hp, while a UK-only special edition RB320 came with 320hp.
The GB270 remains one of the most expensive second generation Impreza WRX models, with prices for low mileage pampered versions as high as £23,000. At the other end of the scale, an early Bugeye WRX in standard trim starts at around £3,000 for reasonable condition cars, while an early STI costs from approximately £6000.
Second-gen Impreza at a glance:
2000-2002 WRX, 218hp (225 from 2003-on), 0-62mph 5.7 seconds, 140mph
2001 WRX UK300, 245hp, 0-62mph 5.5 seconds, 143mph
2002-2005 WRX STI Type UK, 265hp, 0-62mph 5.2 seconds, 152mph
2004 WR1 special edition, 325hp, 0-62mph 4.3 seconds, 155mph
2006 RB320, 320hp, 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds, 150mph
2006-2007 WRX, 230hp, 0-62mph 5.4 seconds, 140mph
2006-2007 WRX STI, 280hp, 0-62mph 5.0 seconds, 158mph
2007 GB270, 270hp, 0-62mph 5.2 seconds, 143mph
"I'd recommend a 2.0L WRX wagon with the factory PPP kit. They are becoming hard to get a good one now, but well worth searching out."