Subaru Impreza WRX STI arriving in NZ with auto transmission

July 6th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru’s 2011 Impreza WRX STI will be available with a five speed automatic gearbox when it arrives in NZ this September.

It is the first time Subaru’s performance flagship model has been available in New Zealand with an automatic, which will have steering column mounted paddle shifts. Until now the STI has only had a manual change transmission, which will continue in six speed form.

“The introduction of an automatic transmission will generate wider appeal for those in search of high performance and profound stability without compromising everyday driving comfort,” said Graeme Woodlands, the Managing Director of Subaru of New Zealand. “These people spend a lot of time in city traffic during the week and appreciate the auto’s ease of operation.”

And for 2011 the STI will see the return of a sedan model with a large rear wing. For the last three years it has only been available as a hatchback.

In other changes the STI will come with a new stiffer wide track suspension and front bumper which integrates into the front wheel arches. The latest STI will sit on new design alloy wheels.

In the cabin Bluetooth hands free calling and Bluetooth audio streaming will be standard and there will be USB and auxiliary connection for iPod and MP3 players.

There will also be changes to the Impreza WRX for 2011, although it will still only be available with a manual gearbox.

It will have a wider body more akin to the STI to set it apart from the standard Impreza models. Like the STI it will come with Bluetooth capability and USB and auxiliary ports.

Performance of both cars 2.5 litre turbocharged engines will be similar to the current WRX and STI models. Full technical details, specification and pricing will be announced at the time of the launch.

iPad in Car – Scosche Dash Kit for iPad in a Subaru WRX Sti

June 24th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

iPad in Car – Scosche Dash Kit for iPad in a Subaru WRX Sti

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.

Subaru Forester 2.0D Euro Spec 2010 Review

June 18th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Returning us to high school days, you might recall the first day back at school after the long summer holidays. There was usually some kid who during the break experienced a sudden spurt of maturity and returned much bigger and more grown up than ever before. It’s a similar scenario for the third generation Subaru Forester that now only scantly resembles the boxy first model that’s become a bit of a cult favourite here in NZ. Proof that as Subaru strives to be a more mainstream global brand its products are being designed with a broader, more sensible appeal. The new 2010 Forester is also available with a diesel engine option and although Subaru is a late bloomer into diesel power it’s an impressive motor on paper. Car and SUV spent a week with the oil-burning Forester 2.0D ‘Euro Spec’ to measure its growth and mark its report card.

Let’s duck straight under the Forester’s scooped bonnet where the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder diesel engine provides all-wheel motivation. With this new unit Subaru has continued its commitment to a horizontally opposed boxer configuration albeit in diesel form. Power output is rated at 108kW with a muscular 350Nm of torque available from just 1800rpm. It can lay claim to being the world’s first diesel boxer engine and gives the Forester an intriguing character. Off the mark it’s no rocket ship, but once the revs rise on the turbocharged engine there is generous mid-range torque on offer. Unlike some turbo diesels the Forester needs to be pushed and held higher in the rev range to extract its best performance. If you don’t, it can get bogged down, especially if it falls below turbo-range at around 1500rpm. This requires working the gears which makes for a more involving drive.

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Subaru’s “Fastest WRX STI ever”

May 27th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru’s “Fastest WRX STI ever” unveiled at New York Motorshow

Cosworth and Subaru team up on Impreza STi CS400

May 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Cosworth is back tweaking high-performance road cars and details and photos of it’s latest offering have just been released. Named the Cosworth Impreza STi CS400 the car is a result of a joint effort between Subaru and Cosworth. The vehicle is based on a stock Subaru STi hatch which usually generates 304 bhp (227 kW) but Cosworth has given it a thorough working over.

Visually the special STi has a new front bumper, mesh grille, foglights and a replacement rear spoiler. Filling the guards are a set of crisp 18-inch alloys. Exterior paintwork comes in three choices – silver, dark grey or red. The interior features new Recaro buckets, a piano black centre console and tinted glass.

Maximum power from the 2.5-litre turbo mill has been boosted up to 395 bhp (295 kW) while torque has been increased to 540Nm (398 lb-ft). The 0 – 100 kph time is now a supercar matching 3.7 seconds and top speed is a limited 250km/h.

The Cosworth engine upgrades include new pistons, connecting rods, a redesigned head gasket and a new turbo with a new compressor design and wastegate actuator. To get the most from the reworked engine the vehicle’s ECU was tweaked as well.

Suspension has been lowered by 10mm while the front brakes featuring AP Racing discs measuring 355mm. The track is widened by 12mm.

It’s set to be an exclusive ride with only 75 units of the Cosworth Impreza STi CS400 being built exclusively for the UK market. Pricing starts at £49,995 ($107,500 NZ)

Subaru Outback 3.6R Premium 2010 Review

May 7th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

It does seem a touch odd that Subaru’s crossover wagon is named after a flat, dry, straight expansive centre of Australia, when it takes oppositional conditions to reveal its true strengths. But the new 2010 Outback isn’t just about using its trademark boxer engine and all wheel drive system to expertly negotiate twisting mountain passes, it has serious intent as a spacious, family-hauling all rounder. The three previous generations of Outback have developed a reputation of Swiss-army-knife practicality for the new model, so can it raise the bar even higher? Car and SUV opened up the new top-spec Outback 3.6R Premium to check if it has all the tools for success.

Sitting 70mm higher than its Legacy stable mate, the Outback casts a burly purposeful shadow. An increase in width over its predecessor helps negate the raised ride height and creates a balanced stance. A thick strip of black plastic cladding protects the bottom edges of the car and houses silver-ringed fog lamps out front. The winged grille and frowning headlights give the Outback road presence and the 17-inch 6-spoke alloys are a good match despite struggling to pack out the high wheel arches. Aesthetically, the Outback isn’t a natural beauty and has clearly been styled with the American market in mind. That said, it has a modern, clean look that’s well colour-coded and has some nice touches like tinted rear glass, integrated roof rails and subtle use of silver trim.

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Subaru Legacy Sport CVT 2010 Review

April 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Balance is a relative skill and while it’s easy for most of us to stroll down a flat road walking a tightrope is something we leave to the professionals. Creating a successful modern four-door family sedan is another balancing act with pitfalls on either side. Styling should be distinctive but not ostentatious, handling should be dynamic but the ride comfortable and the engine needs strength but to still offer decent fuel economy. Like most carmakers Subaru has at times struggled to perform the balancing act required to appeal to the masses and has instead been viewed as a niche automaker. Now for 2010 Subaru has a new model Legacy that is attempting to appease badge fans while attracting new buyers. Car and SUV spent some time with the Legacy Sedan Sport to take in the show.

What’s immediately noticeable with the 2010 Legacy is the increase in size over its predecessor. Length, height, width and wheelbase have all seen varying increases resulting in a completely new profile. A raked character-lined bonnet pushes into the arched roofline, ending out back in a short, high boot lid. A strip of chrome trim accents the roofline and matched up well with 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels on our tested base-model Sport. Pumped out wheel arches, a chrome grille and XL-sized light clusters finish an exterior look that’s stylishly modern but still rather generic. in fact, it shares little resemblance to the Legacys of old and is closer aligned to the Nissan Maxima. That said, it’s a handsome machine especially considering it’s the base-model and has features often reserved for higher-spec versions like front fog lamps, colour-coded side mirrors and tinted rear security glass.

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