Having owned a Subaru WRX in the past, I have quite an emotional attachment to the brand. The July 00 built ‘classic’ shape in WRC Blue. It was the last of the shape to leave the Fuji Heavy Industries docks in Japan before it set forth on its long journey from Japan to my garage.
The WRX was always a fun car to drive, after the many years of owning it, it was always a surprise and joy to drive. Power was always available when needed and the handling for its age would still out manoeuvre many younger cars on the road.
As the sales manager from the dealership threw me the keys, I knew he was taunting me. the 2012 WRC Blue Imprezza WRX was sitting ready for me to take out on the road. WIth a measly 42KM on the odometer, I knew this was going to be fun.
The stance of the car now has really grown up. The Corrolla-esque shape was quickly shaken off the 2011 style. My first thoughts on that design was “oh Subaru.. what have you done?” The new design comes with a wider style bodykit, larger and wider mag wheels with a darker style finsh, more aggressive style front and rear kit with larger bonnet scope. at the time of this review, the new S-spec gives you access to a new rear wing and front diffuser. This car has really grown up and I am so happy to see it.
The 2.5L engine produces 195kW@6000rpm and 343Nm@4000rpm of torque. Enough to throw you in the back of the chair. Its a nice smooth power line and does not feel too violent when you really want to give it the beans. The larger ball-bearing turbo give it more puff to keep the boost pressure up, a sore spot for previous owners was with stock turbos feeling their cars could have gone just that bit harder. Subaru got that memo.
Starting it up, a small blip of the rev counter and the new STi tuned exhaust made its appearance, the meaty trademark burble of the boxer engine made itself obvious. not only has it got the style it has the sound to match.
As my fiancé and I headed off the coast and up the freeway towards the hunter, the car felt solid on the freeway. The 5 speed gear box was smooth working the car upto, *ahem* 110km. The thing I noticed most, was the hum from the motor, sitting at just over 35000rmp, the STi tuned exhaust system let out a beautiful burble for any enthusiast to enjoy, I was surprised to realise I soon got a headache from the note. Maybe the BMW I own now has made me grow older and further away from the modified car scene for too long? uh-oh.
Exiting the freeway, this is where the fun started. The car felt so planted in the corners, it was great to feel that AWD system working its witchcraft as I just planted it into each corner. It held on like it was on rails and not one ounce of understeer, a problem my old girl had quite often in corners.
It takes a while to get used to/trust, but the real tip I can give you with AWD cars is to give it a bit of power IN the corners, the Subaru with all its safety and tech behind it will still remind you occasionally that its you in control, hit a corner too hard and you will start the feel the car become a little loose, but not in an exciting way.
I was pleasantly surprised with the car, but still felt at home with it. any returning Subaru enthusiast will really enjoy the new and improved 2012 model. If you jumped in early and got the 2008-20010, you ARE missing out, this is a totally different car. Subaru lost their way at that stage. I am glad to say they are back.
In town, the car felt like any other. A little rough on the older hunter valley roads, I found myself playing hide and seek with the pot holes, with the sports tuned suspension I was still pleasantly surprised. The drive didn’t end up turning my spine into dust.
The car I tested was the premium, decked out with the leather seats and embodied WRX logos in a nice bright red, Sat Nav which is an in-house software from Subaru and sunroof. the lesser standard model comes with non of the above and cloth.
The Sat nav was a little painful to use, you can tell their focus was building an amazing car so I can forgive them there but the jump of 4k for the pack made me feel a little like they could have done better here. I will stick to using google maps on my phone thanks.
Upon reaching the hunter, I was reminded of my days of performance tuned cars. The fuel consumption. The advertised 10.1L/100km was a little generous, given it a bit more of a spirited drive up there, I will give it that it takes two to be conservative on the fuel, but if I was to work it out myself I would say it realistically is closer to the 12.1L/100KM.
After having such a great drive, heading home was much more relaxed, at a standard pace, the car went well. I noticed fuel was much better and the ride was a bit softer. On the freeway, the drone of the exhaust did get to me slightly but its also a reminder to me of what performance cars are all about, sometimes you need to sacrifice a little comfort to have a lot of fun
After sharing 1000km’s on the car over the time I had it, it was time to say good bye.
Good bye to that particular car anyways, I know I will be back but next time with a cheque.
the old girl