New-Look Impreza Now On Sale | Part Three

More Power, Better Handling

Big news for WRX fans is an increase in power from 218 PS to 225 PS at the same 5,600 rpm. This turbocharged 2.0 litre ‘boxer’ engine also produces more torque which grows from 215.4 lb ft at 3,600 rpm to 221.3 lb ft at 4,000 rpm.

Top speed rises by 3 mph to 143 mph for the WRX 5-door, while the saloon now reaches 144 mph. Both versions have quicker 0-60 mph times with the saloon recording 5.6 seconds and the 5-door 5.8 seconds.

The WRX engine has been retuned to run on 98 octane fuel but efficiency gains mean improved economy. For example, the car now gives 39.8 mpg on the Extra Urban Cycle and 30.7 mpg Combined – improvements of 4 mpg and 3 mpg respectively. However, the WRX can still be run on 95 Octane fuel.

Equally important is improved throttle response thanks to revisions to the exhaust manifold aimed at smoothing the flow of exhaust gases, increased boost pressure and a new engine management system. Both the valve gear and exhaust system have been modified for even better durability during conditions of extreme heat.

Meanwhile, the cooling performance of the 265 PS STi engine has benefited from a change in the shape of the intercooler water spray nozzle and the air baffle plate installed inside the air scoop.

The STi also has improved front suspension thanks to strengthened mounts for the transverse linkages and new cross-performance rods. As a result, handling and steering response are even better thanks to a reduction in geometry change during hard cornering.

Both the WRX and naturally-aspirated 2.0 litre Impreza also have crisper handling characteristics, with increased steering precision – already highly praised by road-testers and customers alike.

Also helping sharpen handling are sophisticated new shock-absorbers featuring multiple-layer valves. This means damping forces are optimised in various speed ranges, with enhanced ride comfort as an added bonus.

All new-look Imprezas also have revised steering. Now with a variable-capacity steering pump, the system combines even greater straight-line stability at speed with a lighter, more sensitive feel during low-speed manoeuvring.

continues... | Part Four
Published 5 January 2003 Melanie Carter

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