The new Cosworth Impreza STI CS400 is the result of one of the most eagerly anticipated automotive collaborations in recent times. The first genuine Cosworth-developed road car since 1996, the latest limited edition Impreza offers performance-car fans the thrill of a lifetime combined with exclusivity – production will be restricted to 75 cars.
The Cosworth-tuned, turbocharged vehicle is one of the world’s most accelerative hatchbacks. The renowned 2.5-litre turbocharged ‘Boxer’ engine is transformed to produce 33 per cent more power, drawing heavily on Cosworth’s extensive Formula 1 experience. The engine, which drives all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, boasts an impressive 400 ps and the new model reaches 62 mph in just 3.7 seconds, going on to cover a quarter mile in 12.75 seconds at a terminal speed of 107 mph. Top speed is limited to 155mph.
The Cosworth Impreza STI CS400 features an extensive range of Cosworth-engineered components in the engine, turbo system, exhaust, suspension, brakes and wheels, plus subtle improvements to the exterior and interior styling to create a truly distinctive high performance car with everyday hatchback practicality.
Marketed exclusively in the UK in right-hand drive form, the Cosworth Impreza STI CS400 is available in a choice of three exterior colours (Spark Silver, Dark Grey and San Remo Red), and is priced from £49,995 on-the-road.
Engine delivers a 33 per cent power hike
At the heart of the new Cosworth Impreza is a heavily revised version of the marque’s famous horizontally-opposed, all-aluminium Boxer engine. The ‘flat-four’ power unit is removed from the car, hand finished, and several internal and ancillary components are replaced with up-rated items, specified by Cosworth.
As with all Impreza ‘Boxer’ engines, the STI Cosworth unit features twin overhead camshafts per cylinder bank (DOHC) plus an Active Valve Control System (AVCS) to deliver variable valve timing and enhance low-speed pulling power.
The focus of the Cosworth engine upgrade was to keep the enhancements simple, efficient and as close as possible to the original equipment design to guarantee reliability and easy maintenance at regular Subaru dealerships.
Internal upgrades include high-performance pistons, which are manufactured using the same methods as those employed to create Cosworth’s Formula 1 pistons. Special features reduce carbon build-up, minimise friction and reduce weight.
Forged connecting rods are made from high-strength 4340 (EN24) steel and the special Cosworth engine bearings boast a unique combination of design, metallurgy and engineering. Heavy duty cylinder head studs, high-performance multi layered head gaskets and a higher-pressure oil pump are also fitted.
The overall result is a huge increase in torque higher up the rev range, and significantly improved in-gear acceleration. This not only makes the Impreza more tractable for day-to-day road use, but also a far sharper tool on the race track.
New turbocharger and ‘breathe easy’ exhaust systems
An all-new Cosworth turbocharging system features a new compressor design and wastegate actuator to supply up-rated boost pressure and deliver increased power.
A unique exhaust system was developed to allow the engine to ‘breathe’ more easily and unleash its full potential. Larger capacity tubular manifolds and increased diameter downpipes speed up the evacuation of hot gases. The first catalyst is a non-restrictive design and larger tail pipes give the exhaust note a unique tone.
After the in-depth Cosworth performance upgrade which includes an ECU re-map, the boxer engine in the CS400 generates 33 per cent more power (400 ps at 5,750 rpm, compared with 300 ps at 6,000 rpm for the standard Impreza WRX STI), and 542 Nm of torque, while remaining within the torque capacity design limits of the original Impreza drivetrain.
Manual transmission and All-Wheel Drive system
To handle the increased power of the Cosworth-tuned engine, the Impreza STI’s six-speed manual transmission has carbon synchromesh applied to the top three ratios and a short throw linkage for quicker shifting. There is also an upgraded single-plate clutch with a revised pressure plate, bearing and disc. The gearbox and final drive ratios are unchanged.
The Cosworth Impreza’s full-time All-Wheel-Drive transmission with front and rear limited-slip differentials, features a 50/50 front to rear torque split as the default, however, the torque split is varied electronically according to changing conditions. The multi-mode Driver Control centre differential with viscous coupling senses which axle has the better grip and varies the split ratio in milliseconds to distribute torque accordingly, thus maximising traction and minimising the possibility of wheelspin.
Improving the Cosworth Impreza’s handling, steering feel and driver feedback – without compromising ride comfort – was a primary target for the development team.
Retaining Subaru’s original suspension layout and major components, Cosworth and a team of chassis engineers collaborated with Bilstein and Eibach technicians to tailor a ride/handling/steering package that was ideally matched to the new model’s increased performance.
Special Eibach coil springs and new Bilstein inserts, featuring unique damping characteristics, were manufactured to Cosworth’s specifications. The ride height was lowered by 15 mm at the front.
The benefits of this fettling are twofold. Firstly, there is a big improvement in ride quality generally, making the Impreza easier to live with on a day-to-day basis. Secondly, its on-the-limit behaviour is more focused and composed. The damping upgrades mean that there is less pitch and roll when turning into corners, meaning that keen drivers can get back on the power earlier and make the most of the car’s Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system.
Upgraded ‘racing’ brakes enhance stopping power
To match the new Impreza Cosworth’s supercar pace, Cosworth commissioned AP Racing to develop more powerful front brakes. Larger diameter (355 mm) ventilated front discs were adopted, with motorsport-style six-pot callipers featuring bespoke pistons operating on larger brake pads.
The difference in performance is immediately noticeable. The harder pads help to minimise fade, meaning that drivers can count on the AP stoppers for effective retardation time and time again.
The standard Impreza WRX STI’s rear brake discs, overall brake balance and original ABS system have been retained.
‘Stand-out’ looks, plus new style wheels
The outstanding performance of the Cosworth Impreza is reflected in its ‘stand-out’ appearance and standard Xenon headlamps. The lowered ride height and wider track give the car a whole new stance, which is reinforced by a front bumper that now incorporates fog lights, a new front lip spoiler, and upper and lower mesh grilles. Also added is a new rear boot-lid spoiler.
Discreet Cosworth badging is carried on the lower grille, front seats, brake callipers and floor mats. Individually numbered plaques are fitted on the engine and door sills. Each Cosworth Impreza STI CS400 is supplied with a numbered certificate of authenticity.
Although the new model’s alloy wheels are a similar overall size to those of the regular Impreza WRX STI model – 18 x 8.5 inch – they are lighter and stronger. Called ‘Pro Race’ and finished in anthracite the latest wheels from the Team Dynamics range were selected as compatible with the Subaru’s five-stud design. These wheels have a 43 mm offset (the standard STI wheel’s offset is 55 mm) and extend the track by 12 mm – improving handling and filling the car’s wheel arches more effectively for a more aggressive stance.
The new wheels are fitted with high performance, low profile Michelin SP3 tyres chosen for their dry- and wet-road grip, durability, and low noise levels. Tyre size is 245/40 R18 and the tread pattern is directional.
Interior modifications and generous premium equipment
Inside, the sporty new Recaro front seats, the rear seats and steering wheel are all re-trimmed in Cosworth-branded black leather. Also distinguishing the CS400 are Piano Black centre stack and trim accents, and the fitment of privacy glass.
Standard features carried-over from the WRX STI model include: LED (light-emitting diode) tail lamps, front and rear electric windows, 10-speaker, six-disc radio/CD player, satellite navigation, Smart-entry and push-button start, plus front, side and curtain airbags.
Full ownership benefits
The new Cosworth Impreza STI CS400 comes with the reassurance of a three-year or 36,000-mile warranty, plus 12-year anti-corrosion cover and three-year paintwork warranty.
This is in addition to three years’ membership of Subaru Assistance – a comprehensive home and roadside repair and recovery package throughout the UK and Europe administered by The AA.Published 27 May 2010