2008 Impreza STI

My friend Tom has just been round to show me his new purchase: a 2008 Impreza STI. Typically I didn’t take a photo of the whole car, but I did take a picture of its brakes.

Ok, so they’re not floating or drilled like the 330d’s, but that is a multipot caliper, so I was pleased. I was significantly more pleased to be given the keys for a test drive. Turning from a T-junction onto a trunk road, let there be no doubt that despite a 100hp disadvantage, this car would ruin the M5. Grip grip grip grip grippy grip grip all the way through 90 degrees to the speed limit all in just a passenger’s gasp. Nice solid brakes, sharp steering, joyous.

It’s got a fancy trick variable centre differential. I tried to molest this in such a way that would, shall we say, make it behave more like the M5. Instead it just got a bit twitchy, and eventually my mechanical sympathy made me stop.  Having calmed down, I decided it’s a lovely place to be, despite not being as opulent as the big 5.

The turbocharged 2.5 litre engine certainly seemed to drink as courageously as the M5 too – around 21mpg for a mixed bag it would seem.

I love the way that the rpm dial takes centre stage on the dashboard, with the speedo as an apparent afterthought. The seats are dead comfy, and the controls are nicely driver focused – I especially liked the short shift gearbox.

The power all lurks relatively high up in the rev range and there is of course some turbo lag, but this is without doubt an extremely fun car, and on the road, undoubtedly a quicker A to B machine than the M5.

So bravo to Tom – it’s been over 7 years since his last Impreza, and indeed about 3 years since Smith moved on his WRX wagon, so I’ve certainly missed these machines.

I wonder if we might see this, the M5, and a certain E46 M3 at the Nurburgring later this year…?

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