Subaru Forester

Boldly restyled, the next generation Forester is perfectly equipped to handle a multiplicity of different, fast-changing lifestyles. It makes much more sense than a traditional SUV, bringing the tough practicality of a new generation Sports Activity Vehicle to the all-round demands of anything from track to town and country. A stronger, lighter body uses weight saving aluminium – especially on the upper parts of the body, so the roll and handling vagaries you get in taller 4x4s are kept to an absolute minimum.

That’s true for every Forester – but particularly enjoyable in the latest 2.5 XT. With its 211 PS Turbo power and 0-60 mph in just 6 seconds, this is the most stimulating way to savour Subaru’s legendary combination of flat four Boxer engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

At the same time, Forester also demonstrates Subaru’s all-embracing approach to greater active and passive safety, particularly when it comes to protecting pedestrians and people in other vehicles.

Forester: the ideal combination of performance car handling, estate car capacity and all-terrain ability, in one.



Subaru Impreza

The Impreza’s pedigree of winning performances in the World Rally Championships has made it more of an icon than ever. The range is derived directly from the living legend that has powered its way around some of the toughest terrain on the planet. With its all-new styling, renowned flat four Boxer engines and Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Impreza’s low centre of gravity gives it benchmark handling, matched by astonishing levels of roadholding and active safety. Now, the car that spawned the WRC challenger is better than ever before.

Even the aggressive new styling is performance inspired. Driven by the quest for superior aerodynamics in the WRC car, every shape and curve is purposely designed to cut through the air better. Engine cooling is improved thanks to a bigger bonnet scoop and intercooler refinements on the WRX model. Underneath, extensive chassis revisions for all models, and additions like a rear anti-roll bar and larger alloys (on the 2.0 GX) deliver an even sportier drive, while inside, everything’s plusher – yet designed to echo the overall sporting theme. Whether you choose the saloon or 5 door, this is the perfect way to rediscover driving exhilaration.



Subaru Impreza WRX STi Type UK

AutoCar Road Test:
Don’t be fooled by the unaltered outline: Subaru’s STi has changed. It still has looks that make you a target for every hot hatch in a 10-mile radius, now made more OTT by rear wheelarch extensions and new gold alloy wheels. But this is not a styling overhaul. Those plasticky arches conceal a 15mm wider rear track. The wheelbase has been stretched, too, by 10mm, and those rims are half an inch wider to reduce sidewall flex in the serious-looking 225/45 R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tyres.

Acceleration and braking were never a problem with the old STi. So the Brembo brakes and turbocharged 262bhp all-alloy flat-four engine are carried over, albeit now with a manual intercooler spray. There are also underfloor covers to improve aerodynamics.

Does it feel any different? Absolutely. This is the kind of facelift we like. Most dramatic is the change in ride quality. There’s a bouncing motion on motorways, but it’s smoother around town and on some unusually rutted German lanes it feels utterly composed.

Whether by coincidence or by design, our test route told us why as we passed through the village of Bilstein. The Bilstein boys have done the business on the STi’s shock absorbers. The new dampers’ extra compliance has allowed Subaru to add thicker anti-roll bars, further improving body control. The result is a car that’s much easier to drive quickly than the old STi, allowing you to exploit the huge potential of the chassis more fully and more often.

Revisions continue up front with a raised caster angle, stiffer suspension mounts and a more rigidly located steering rack with a damper to cut kick-back. Gone is the old car’s lethargy around the straight-ahead: the STi now turns into bends almost as eagerly as a Mitsubishi Evo. Steering feedback is also improved, making the Impreza more involving. It feels grippier as well, with less understeer. And a faster-responding helical limited-slip differential at the front means less of a battle with the steering wheel when you apply full power out of a corner.

A small switch beside the handbrake indicates the arrival of the DCCD (driver-controlled centre differential) already fitted to the WR1. This allows you to transfer up to 65 per cent of the power to the rear wheels, at the same time disabling the yaw-rate sensor. Without the WR1’s extra power you don’t get the same potential for opposite-lock exits from slower corners, but it does allow you to apply power earlier without fear of the nose running wide.

Unfortunately there’s still a clock-watching wait for the turbo’s boost to arrive. It’s only when you hit peak torque at 4000rpm that the car feels genuinely fast. The six-speed gearbox is still noisy and notchy – though at least the smaller gearknob makes it slicker to use. Some of the classic Subaru burble is missing, too. Only when charging close to the 7500rpm shift light does it take on a hard-edged, WRC-style roar. On the flipside, you soon appreciate the lack of drone at motorway speeds.

Inside, the cabin feels classier, but without the latest Legacy’s upmarket feel. It’s still resolutely cheap, the dash-top more spongy than soft-touch, but the silvered centre console is attractive and the new wheel easier both on eyes and hands.

With all this tinkering it’s as though Subaru’s engineers felt the car was never quite finished. It is now, with its grown-up noise, better cabin and smoother ride. Best of all, it’s even more fun to drive.

Subaru Impreza WRX STi Type UK
Key features at a glance :

* Brembo ABS brakes with EBD
* Full Time Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
* 2.0litre Turbo-charged Subaru Boxer Engine
* 265 PS. 0 to 62mph in 5.5sec. 152 mph top speed
* Six Speed Gearbox
* Driver and Front Passenger Airbags
* Driver Controlled Centre Differential with Yaw Rate Sensor
* Thatcham Category 1 Remote Alarm and Immobiliser with RAC Trackstar Satellite Security system
* Single CD/Stereo Radio (RDS)/Cassette unit.
* Leather handbrake lever, gear knob and Momo steering wheel with red stitching
* Blue Suede effect STi Branded bucket seats and Door Trim



Subaru Legacy

The latest Legacy saloons have built on their predecessors’ best-loved virtues in a highly characteristic way, dressed in a crisp new shape. With wider bodies comes more driving stability and side impact safety. But that’s only the start…

Their prodigious All-Wheel Drive ability is backed by the most advanced ABS system with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. A dramatically lightened, but even stronger body, with redesigned Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frames also soaks up impacts from any direction.

Reducing weight brings other benefits, too. Performance and fuel economy are both improved, while new exhaust systems and electronic throttle control mean Legacy is more efficient than before, with lower CO2 emissions and better economy. This is everything a prestige sporting executive saloon should be: capable, desirable and involving - yet at the same time tax, safety and environmentally aware.

All Legacy saloons share Subaru’s trademark Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, found on our WRC Imprezas, for natural balance and predictable handling with high levels of active safety. Power and torque are increased in 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 litre Boxer engines, while the latest 3.0R spec.B flat-six model gives a stunningly smooth 245 PS, 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds and 151 mph top speed.

All Legacy models come with driver and passenger dual stage airbags as standardSafety enhancements include front seat belts with pre-tensioners, load limiters and tension reducers, active front head-restraints which reduce whiplash injuries during rear-end shunts, dual-mode front airbags which inflate according the severity of the accident, side airbags, optional curtain airbags and brake and clutch pedals which effectively snap away under severe impact, protecting the driver’s lower limbs. The Legacy saloon provides both active and passive safety in abundance, remaining a true driver’s car whilst providing the safety technology that does the worrying for you.



Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer

As with the saloons, so with the latest Legacy Sports Tourer range. Wider bodies, refined ride, greater performance, driving stability and safety are all there – along with the cavernous carrying power you demand from a luxury estate.

Of course, there’s the same All-Wheel Drive ability, with more advanced ABS and EBD, in a lighter, stronger body. The 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 litre Subaru Boxer engines take full advantage of weight reduction, too – with uprated power and torque, but even better fuel economy and lower C02 emissions.

Active headrests to help prevent whiplash injuriesSide airbags, standard on all Legacys Sports TourersResult? This is everything you’d expect from an executive Sports Tourer, and more: extremely rewarding to drive, highly capable on or off-road, but very friendly when it comes to BIK tax, safety and the environment.

All Legacy Sports Tourers have the same trademark Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system found on our WRC Imprezas, for natural balance, stable, involving handling and the inherent safety of legendary grip.

Now, there’s also the latest secret weapon – the 3.0R spec.B. Its incredible 245 PS flat-six engine produces astonishing performance figures, belying the fact with an interior laden with luxurious standard features that put its more expensive rivals to shame. As with its saloon counterpart, that includes an Impreza STi based 6 speed gearbox, 18” alloys, leather trim, 8-way electrically adjustable front seats and a touchscreen multimedia centre.

Needless to say, all the usual safety enhancements are also on board – from active front head-restraints and dual-mode airbags to brake and clutch pedals which snap away under severe impact. With its charisma, performance and safety combined with superb specification, the Legacy Sports Tourer is a true driver’s car in the classic Subaru tradition.




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