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Subaru Impreza's Questionable Style



25th September, 2007

2008 Subaru Impreza RX

Subaru’s new generation Impreza has arrived in Australia offering a new low in unattractive styling.

Each Impreza is lighter and stronger than its equivalent predecessor.

At a time when most small cars are getting heavier, weight savings of up to 48 kilogrammes have been achieved.

Despite added specification, pricing has decreased by up to $950 on some variants while increasing a maximum of $50 on others.

Impreza WRX pricing starts from $39,990 recommended retail price – effectively a $450 saving over the superseded hatch.

Impreza’s interior space is greater, yet exterior length is less.

SPORTSHIFT transmissions are standard in all automatic naturally aspirated (NA) Imprezas.

A new Double Overhead Camshaft (DOHC) 2.0 litre NA engine offers significant improvements in power (+20 per cent) and torque (+7 per cent) over the SOHC engine used in superseded 2.0i and RV, plus fuel efficiency and emission gains.

It is also offers 5.3 per cent more torque than the 2.0 DOHC engine used in superseded 2.0R.

The new Impreza WRX’s turbocharged engine has smoother torque delivery from lower revs, for gains in drivability.

Like many cars, Impreza meets European STEP4 emission standards.

WRX offers performance and comfort, appealing to a broader audience than ever before.

Engine enhancements combine with lighter vehicle weight to produce performance gains in all Imprezas.

Newly developed double wishbone rear suspension optimises Impreza’s renowned constant AWD handling, while reducing cargo area intrusion, to produce a wider load carrying space with easier access.

Among new generation Impreza highlights:

  • New hatchback design – mesh grille for Australian spec RS and WRX
  • Lighter and stronger – weight savings up to 48 kg
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control
  • 2.0 litre DOHC naturally aspirated engines - 20 per cent more power, 7 per cent more torque than superseded 2.0 SOHC; 5.3 per cent more torque than superseded 2.0 DOHC
  • Turbo engine torque kicks in 800 rpm earlier
  • SPORTSHIFT transmissions for all automatic Imprezas
  • Active Valve Control System – all engines
  • Euro STEP4 emission compliant
  • Newly developed double wishbone rear suspension
  • Framed doors
  • Larger cabin, shorter body – 4,415 mm v 4,465 mm previously
  • Wider cargo area
  • Significant improvements in NVH
  • Height and telescopic adjustable steering in all Imprezas
  • Hill Start Assist (manual variants) – forward and reverse
  • Rear diffuser on RS and WRX for added aerodynamic efficiency

Subaru is offering four Imprezas: R, RX, RS, plus the WRX manual.

Improvements have been achieved with Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH) in all Imprezas.

The introduction of framed doors has further refined Impreza’s solidity while also contributing to major reductions in NVH.

The stiffer chassis enhances drivability and safety, which Subaru maintains as key priorities.

Subaru’s commitment to the Australian market has again been underlined by local testing of Impreza to ensure optimum set-up for our road conditions.

Despite a 95 mm longer wheelbase, Impreza’s external length is actually 50 mm shorter – contributing to both its dynamics and spacious cabin.

Cleverly, Impreza offers greater interior space despite its shorter overall length. Cabin dimensions are increased in the key areas of head, leg and shoulder room.

Ergonomic advances mean all key controls are within easy reach of the driver. Impreza RX, RS and WRX have steering-wheel audio buttons. Cruise control buttons are standard across the range.

Access to Impreza is easier, with wider opening rear doors, while front and rear seat cushions are extended for better support. The rear seat back is reclined a further three degrees for greater comfort.

Further improving Impreza’s safety, engines sit 10 mm lower in the chassis, reducing the centre of gravity, benefiting road holding and reducing the risk of vehicle roll-over.


Impreza is an all-new hatchback design featuring a distinctive shoulder line that merges with the front guards to produce a look which is difficult to describe as attractive.

The body is 50 mm shorter than the superseded car while the wheelbase has increased by 95 mm. It is also 10 mm taller. Width is increased by 45 mm to 1,740 mm.

Every Impreza has a rear spoiler with integrated brake light. Computer-aided design and wind tunnel testing have produced a design that allows virtually zero lift, refines high speed stability and reduces the car’s co-efficient of drag around 7.0 per cent. Reduced wind resistance improves fuel efficiency around 1.0 per cent when travelling at 100 km/h.

Radio reception is enhanced by the use of a rear roof-mounted aerial to minimise interference.

Large external mirrors aid safety when manoeuvering.

All Imprezas have new wheel designs. Impreza R has 16-inch steel wheels with covers, RX has 16-inch 12-spoke alloys, RS 17-inch seven-spoke alloys and WRX 17-inch 10-spoke alloys.

Naturally aspirated Imprezas have projector-type halogen headlights.

Impreza WRX features Xenon self-levelling headlights with pop-out power washers.

RS and WRX also add a sports body kit including re-profiled sills and front bumper lip spoilers plus rear diffuser for added aerodynamic efficiency.

The WRX intercooler air intake is integrated into the bonnet to provide optimum cooling efficiency.

Wide-spray washer nozzles optimise windscreen wiper performance. Low vibration wipers feature a design that hides components and makes them visibly smaller than conventional types.


All variants:
Obsidian black pearl
Satin white pearl
Spark silver metallic (new)
Lightning red (new)

Impreza R, RX and RS:
Steel silver metallic (new)
Dark grey metallic (new)
Topaz gold metallic (new)
Newport blue pearl

Impreza WRX:
WR blue mica


Plastics and seat materials are used in Impreza’s dual cockpit-style cabin, where shoulder and legroom are improved.

Rear headroom is up 3 mm, front shoulder room 41 mm and rear shoulder room 5 mm.

All controls are easily reachable by the driver, including steering wheel cruise control, plus audio buttons in some variants.

An external temperature gauge in the dashboard centre is visible to all occupants.

Impreza’s doors open wider for access while the sculpted door panels aid the impression of spaciousness and seat cushions are extended for improved comfort and leg support.

The rear doors open 75 degrees (60 mm wider) while rear seatbacks have been reclined a further three degrees to 26 degrees to improve comfort.

Distance between front and rear seats is extended 65 mm to maximise legroom.

Double layered door seals and redesigned weather strips improve window sealing and temperature insulation, for improved air conditioning performance and noise reduction.

All steering wheels are height and reach adjustable to ensure the optimum driving position.

The cargo area is wider, offering greater useable space, partly due to no suspension strut intrusion and a deeper floor. Cargo area width is up 123 mm to 1,067 mm.

The cargo door features gas dampers that sit between the pillars and door frame, removing obstruction for loading or unloading.

A 60/40 split/fold rear seat optimises cargo area flexibility.

Double stitched seat fabrics underline the car’s quality feel while every door includes a cup holder.

Impreza R and RX are available with a choice of ivory or black interior trim.

Manual air conditioning is standard on Impreza R, while RX, RS and WRX get climate control.

Maximum air conditioning airflow volume has increased by around 10 per cent. This also reduces engine load. Combined with air conditioner compressor weight reduction, fuel economy is enhanced.

Dust proof filters are used on all Impreza air conditioners.

A sub-cooled compressor is also used, reducing the quantity of coolant and enhancing cooling performance.

Impreza WRX adds electroluminescent gauges and alloy pedals, while both RS and WRX have sports bucket seats and privacy glass on rear passenger and back windows.

Steering wheel diameter is reduced from 385 to 375 mm, for easier handling.

If lights are left on with the key in the ignition, a buzzer sounds when the driver’s door opens. Lights now stay on until the key is removed (they previously turned off when the ignition was switched off).

For enhanced visibility in rain, if the rear wiper is set to intermittent when reversing, it automatically changes to continuous mode. The rear wiper is also speed sensitive.

All Imprezas have large centre console boxes with capacity for seven compact disc cases, plus a 12-volt power outlet.

Front and rear passenger doors feature bottle holders, with two additional cup holders also in the front centre console.


Impreza is built on a new chassis that has enabled a stronger body design and sophisticated suspension.

All Imprezas are lighter, while using high tensile steel at key structural points to enhance rigidity, safety and ride comfort.

Impreza MY08 hatch weight (kg)
Impreza MY07 hatch
Weight decrease
R, RX, RS manual 1,340
2.0i manual 1,355; 2.0R 1,388
15-48 kg
R, RX, RS auto 1360
2.0i auto 1,365; 2.0R 1,398
5-38 kg
WRX manual 1,395
WRX manual 1,430
35 kg

Weight reduction has been achieved in several areas, including elimination of the sub-frame and simplification of the body side structure, saving around 20 kg.

Bumper thickness is reduced by around 10 per cent. The bumpers also feature a new beam, improving impact absorption and lessening pedestrian injury.

Design of body joints has been reviewed to optimise strength, while use of high tensile steel plate avoids excessive increase in rigidity.

Every automatic Impreza features standard SPORTSHIFT.

The intelligent SPORTSHIFT system takes into account cornering, braking and acceleration rate in making optimum gear selection and constant All-Wheel Drive torque split.


All Impreza engines offer improved torque curves for better off-the-mark acceleration and overall drivability across the operating range.

Engines sit 10 mm lower in the engine bay, producing a lower centre of gravity for safety and balance benefits plus noise reduction.

Naturally aspirated Imprezas have a new four-cylinder 2.0 litre DOHC horizontally opposed boxer engine that offers significant improvements in power, torque and economy while reducing emissions.

It features the Active Valve Control System (AVCS).

The NA engine produces 110 kW of power at 6,400 rpm and 196 Nm of torque at 3,200 rpm - a 20 per cent improvement in power and seven per cent in torque over the superseded 2.0 SOHC engine, and a 5.3 per cent torque increase over the previous 2.0 DOHC unit.

Among the many changes are a revised combustion chamber shape and newly designed intake port, for better output, fuel efficiency and exhaust gas performance.

Fuel efficiency is also aided by coolant flow control, a variety of low friction technologies, plus elimination of the secondary air system, with a weight saving of 4 kg.

Impreza MY08 hatch Fuel consumption Litres/100km Impreza MY07 hatch Per cent improvement
R, RX, RS manual 8.9 2.0i, RV manual 9.4; 5.31
2.0R manual 9.8 9.18
R, RX, RS auto 8.8 2.0i, RV auto 9.3; 5.37
2.0R auto 9.6 8.33
WRX manual 10.7 WRX manual 10.9 1.83

A newly designed intake manifold benefits engine output together with a tandem catalytic converter layout exhaust system, which also optimises exhaust gas performance.

Also equipped with AVCS, it produces 169 kW/5,200 rpm and 320 Nm/2,800 rpm. Peak torque is produced 800 rpm earlier than the previous model. This results in a broader torque curve to improve drivability and fuel efficiency.

WRX engine changes include a new oil pump and tumble generator valve for fuel efficiency gains; new spark plugs for both fuel efficiency and exhaust gas performance benefits, and a new intercooler and turbocharger for better output.

Liquid filled engine mounts also enhance NVH and ride comfort while achieving major weight savings.

All Imprezas have Electronic Throttle Control (ETC).

Gas bonnet struts mean that when it is open between 30 and 50 cm, the struts take over to complete a smooth operation. No prop is needed to hold the bonnet.

Active Valve Control System

Both naturally aspirated and turbocharged Imprezas feature the Active Valve Control System (AVCS), to increase engine power and torque output, while at the same time gaining improvements in fuel consumption, exhaust emissions and idling stability.

By controlling the intake valve timing and lift to suit the engine load and speed conditions, AVCS optimizes the engine volumetric efficiency and combustion process. Active variable valve timing is achieved by rotating the intake camshaft relative to the camshaft sprocket, within a maximum range of 50 crankshaft degrees.


Impreza transmissions match the increase in low to mid-range torque.

The four-speed SPORTSHIFT automatic features active torque split, for optimum grip in all conditions and reduction in torque loss.

The active torque split system constantly monitors the movement of all four wheels plus engine output via the car’s onboard LAN system, accurately detecting changes in the road and driving conditions.

Torque distribution to front and rear wheels is delivered smoothly and quickly, to suit driving environment and style so that each wheel always receives optimum power.

In D-range the gear change points have been set to match lower speed, helping improve fuel efficiency.

Impreza five-speed manual transmissions offer improved shift feel, clutch operation and fuel efficiency.

A ball-type key is used for first and second gears while the key groove has been changed within the third and fourth gear sleeves.

A weight saving of 15.0 per cent has been achieved in the propeller shaft, while a new collapsible design also improves safety in heavy collisions. Propeller shaft accuracy is also improved through use of friction welding on the contact surfaces of bearings.

The WRX rear differential is now a conventional-type, benefiting high revving and engine responsiveness. The lighter weight also helps fuel efficiency.

Impreza MY08 pricing

The recommended retail prices do not include dealer and statutory charges.

Impreza R manual (replaces 2.0i) $24,490 (previously $24,440, +$50)
Impreza R SPORTSHIFT automatic $26,490 (previously $26,440, +$50)
Impreza RX manual (replaces RV) $26,490 (previously $26,940, -$450)
Impreza RX SPORTSHIFT automatic $28,490 (previously $28,940, -$450)
Impreza RS manual (replaces 2.0R) $29,490 (previously $30,440, -$950)
Impreza RS SPORTSHIFT automatic $31,490 (previously $32,440, -$950)
Impreza WRX manual $39,990 (previously $40,440, -$450)


Satellite navigation (RS and WRX) $2990

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