Local Subaru fans may be weeks away from getting their paws on the new Impreza, but until then, take a look at these spy shots of the next Impreza WRX STI.
Although it makes its official entrance at next month's Tokyo Motor Show, these spy shots show off the range-topper in its new hatchback livery.
The performance model is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-litre boxer engine tuned to develop more than 220 kW and close to 400 Nm of torque.
It will initially be mated with Subaru's existing six-speed manual gearbox.
However, it is reported that a new automated manual will be added about a year later to allow the STI to compete more closely with arch-rival Mitsubishi's Lancer Evo X. First units of the Evo only touch down in SA in the latter half of 2008...
Until then, the super Scooby adds a specially developed bonnet and grille, a wider front bumper with bigger air intakes, flared wheelarches housing its 18-inch alloys and a Brembo brake system.
Engineers have reportedly also revised Subaru's legendary all-wheel drive system. A more compact double wishbone rear suspension arrangement also ensures better handling characteristics.
Inside the cabin, this Impreza gets a new pair of bucket seats for the front occupants and overall trim quality is said to be improved too.
Though final dates remain unknown, Subaru's local office has confirmed that its first STI shipments will be arriving in SA early next year.