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Prodrive's new 275kW Impreza

2008-07-24 08:59
Prodrive WRX STI 380S

Prodrive WRX STI 380S

Impreza WRX a little staid for you? Prodrive has a preponderance of powerful new versions available.

Prodrive, the good folks who prepare Subaru’s WRC rally cars and nearly stumbled into F1 a while back have taken the Mitsubishi Evo X threat to Subaru’s street racer reputation frightfully seriously.

With an established reputation of extracting the utmost performance from Impreza boxer engines, the three new Impreza WRX performance models showcased at the British motor show in London have delighted Scooby acolytes.

Of the three vehicles show – WRX-S, STI 330S and the 380S – only the WRX-S and STI 330S are customer production certainties. The 380S could come to market within six months if customer demand is justifiable, which is Subaru’s euphemistic way of saying, ‘limited supply, inflated pricing.’

Small scoop of Prodrive Scooby

The Prodrive range of upgrades start with the WRX-S, essentially a ECU tweaked, tarted up Impreza WRX producing 187kW and 390Nm.

Beyond liberating the 2.5-litre boxer’s latent power, a new exhaust enhances the flat-four burble so characteristic of WRX – and especially Prodrive fettled WRX – products.

Exterior tweaks are in dubious taste, which is not surprising considering the latest Impreza shape is aesthetically challenging to start with. The front and rear spoilers are STI spec items, whilst the wheel arches are now properly filled with 18-inch anthracite GT1 alloy wheels shod with 225/40 tyres.

You get Subaru’s fabled WRX all-wheel drive handling security aided by a rear limited-slip differential too, and with the hike in power the 0-100km/h sprint time dips under the six second barrier too.

For many, this is exactly what the factory spec Impreza WRX should have been like when it was launched last year…

Medium scoop of Prodrive Scooby

In the middle of the range is the first of two STI modified Impreza models: the STI 330S. It receives a similar set of technical upgrades to the WRX-S – a reprogrammed ECU and new exhaust system.

With regards to the 330S exhaust system modifications, they have as much acoustic value as performance. The kit is essentially a twin 90mm stainless steel job; just the ticket to announce to the entire neighbourhood when you are leaving for work in the morning.

The net result is not awfully significant, a 21kW hike in power to 242kW; yet the revised torque figure of 470Nm at only 3 400r/min should yield savage slingshot acceleration out of corners.

Prodrive endowed 330S upgrades over and above the standard STI include leather-covered Recaro front seats, satellite navigation and the most useless, yet requisite performance car feature: a push-button starter.

Visually, the 330S sports new five-spoke 18 inch alloy wheels wearing 245/40 R18 tyres. The 330S will be available in the full range of STI colours – which should thrill those more intent on colour coordinating their 330S than driving it…

Large scoop of Prodrive Scooby

Prodrive’s piece de resistance is the STI 380S ‘concept’ – a true spiritual successor to the formidable 22B, even if it has four-doors.

Subaru has cagily referred to it as a ‘concept’, yet in a tremendous bout of Orwellian double-speak they admit specification will be finalised pending customer input and 380S models could be hand-built to order within six months.

A complete engine rebuild by Prodrive with many up-rated components – no doubt owing their existence to Prodrive’s experience running the Subaru WRC team – should reliably boost power to 275kW.

Improvements over the standard Impreza WRX STI will include uprated suspension, revised damper ratings, a booming exhaust system and the regulation enhanced Scooby body kit – in dubious taste no less.

Other visual changes will be the option of either gold or silver-coloured 18-inch alloy wheels from BBS – it’s a Prodrive, what else did you expect? - rolling on 245/40 tyres.


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