Automatic For The People?

May 20th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

The current Mrs Grimley has decided that schlepping around in our elderly Nissan Primera is not befitting a woman of her status. When pressed on the subject, she couldn’t make a full and frank description of what exactly this status was, but one thing she was absolutely certain about was that it demanded that use of a Subaru Impreza. A silver one. With a turbocharger.

Being the man in the relationship I was informed that my duty was not to dispute this, but instead release my inner automotive Sherlock Holmes and seek out her dream wheels. And after several evenings of searching, I proudly summoned her into my den and presented a computer screen containing a gleaming example of glorious WRX-ness. It was silver, came with a blower the size of a fat child and in every way met the criteria laid out to me. But instead of skipping around the room, she looked rather crestfallen.



“It does look nice, but I wanted an automatic.”

With great restraint I pointed out that an integral part of the performance car experience is performing your own gear changes. Immersing yourself in the process of ensuring ratios are expertly switched to exactly suit the prevailing conditions helped turn driving from just another activity into a holistic mechanical experience. Why, oh why, would she want to deny herself this joy?

“Well it’s just easier, isn’t it? I’d have to think too much with a manual.”

People have recently been cheering to the rooftops about the raising of the minimum age to hold a driving license, but for the life of me I can’t see why. I know of five year olds whose intelligence would be insulted by driving a modern automatic. In fact I suspect my friend’s dog – and we are talking about an animal which can be confounded by its own shadow – would make a reasonable fist of it.

And trust me, if Ash the moronic Labrador could have a go, then driving a car has become a task that most sane people will find rather easy. And that’s a bad thing. Continue reading “Automatic For The People?” »

Subaru and Cosworth may jointly build a 1.6-litre WRX

June 21st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Both the Cosworth and Subaru brands have some serious cred when it comes to racing history. This year saw the return of Cosworth for Formula 1, and 2012 might be the year Subaru returns to WRC, thanks to a new partnership between the two companies. How is this possible? With a change in the FIA regulations for WRC and WTCC that could see a jointly designed 1.6-litre turbocharged Boxer engine.

It’s an exciting project spawned from the WRC’s plans for next season based on the Super2000 class. The new engine fits in nicely with the Japanese domestic market’s progression toward smaller, greener engines, potentially making a solid case for Subaru to re-enter the sport where it once successfully competed. Due to WTCC and WRC homologation rules, the engine would have to be built in at least some production vehicles. Which is good news for badge fans with cash to burn.

What isn’t clear yet is if the smaller powerplant would slot into a WRX or even an STI for racing and production purposes, or if a smaller car is required like an all-wheel-drive version of the Subaru-branded FT-86. If this new engine does find a home it’s most likely to be in the Impreza platform. Perhaps even the recently-reborn WRX STI sedan.

Power output of such an engine could easily be over 250-horsepower or even more if desired, with the race version pumping out a crazy amount of power. It’s a smart collaboration with Cosworth’s proven engine design abilities and Subaru’s history of developing turbocharged Boxers, together almost anything is possible.

It’s promising news for those who want to see Subarus tearing up the gravel in the WRC once again.

2009 Subaru Impreza WRX here before Xmas

December 8th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru WRX 09 fq

The 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX is arriving here in NZ this month and will be available in both sedan and hatch models. The updated WRX has received some turbo treatment for the 2009 model year and will now use the turbocharger previously reserved for the WRX STI, boost has been increased with power output now at 195kW with 343Nm of torque. The extra power translates to better performance numbers with a New Zealand specification 2009 WRX recently independently clocked at a blisteringly quick 5.31 seconds in a 0-100km/h acceleration test. Subaru is claiming these performance figures and a $46,490 price tag, give the 2009 WRX the “best bang for buck title” in NZ.

Improvements have also been made on the green side and fuel consumption is improved in the combined cycle from 10.7 l/100km to 10.4 l/100km, while carbon dioxide emissions are down from 252 g/km to 247 g/km.

Standard equipment now includes leather upholstery and a sunroof. The latest WRX can be identified with a new mesh grille, with WRX badges front and rear, red brake calipers, wider tyres, red stitch seating and steering wheel and WRX logos on the front seats. A 60/40 split/fold rear seat optimizes cargo carrying options.

The WRX’s intercooler capacity is up, to 14.0 kW, from 12.1 kW in the 08 model.  The bigger turbocharger has maximum boost of 103 kPa, up from 78 kPa. A revised exhaust system provides a 30 per cent reduction in gas flow restriction, to match the new turbocharger performance and increase engine power.  The coil springs, stabilizers and top mounts are stiffened and roll rigidity increased to improve maximum lateral G and turning ability.

Wheels and tyres were chosen to complement the suspension springs, damping and bushing. Tyres are increased in width to 225/45 from 205/50, benefitting grip and handling performance. The 2009 Impreza WRX is fitted with Dunlop SP Sport 01 225/45R17 tyres and 17 x 7 JJ alloy wheels.

The 09 Impreza WRX sedan maintains the five-star rating for occupant safety from the independent Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

Keep your eyes peeled for the new 2009 WRX cruising a street near you soon.

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