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Subaru Impreza Turbo: buying guide and review (1992-2000)

Subaru Impreza Turbo: buying guide and review (1992-2000) Classic and Performance Car
Subaru Impreza RB5 Subaru Impreza P1 Subaru Impreza P1 Subaru Impreza P1 Subaru Impreza 22B Subaru Impreza Turbo
It isn’t unusual for a car to earn classic status through its motorsport exploits, but it’s rarer for such success to transform the reputation of an entire brand. The Impreza altered the perception of Subaru from maker of reliable yet slightly bland workhorses to one known for producing one of the biggest giant-killing saloon cars on public roads.
 
With the Legacy achieving only the occasional competitive result in the World Rally Championship, Subaru’s decision to replace it with the more compact Impreza proved to be an inspired decision. Two years after its debut, the Prodrive-prepared Impreza picked up its first manufacturers’ title in 1995, and successfully defended its crown for the following two years. The Impreza’s reputation in the UK was heightened further by the fact that in it earned Britain its only two WRC drivers’ titles, first in the hands of Colin McRae in 1995 and then Richard Burns in 1999.
 
On the road, the sharp handling, four-wheel drive traction and throbbing flat-four soundtrack lend turbocharged Imprezas an unmistakable character. A heavy thirst for petrol aside, the Impreza ownership experience should be fairly trouble-free. Frequently topping customer satisfaction surveys in the late nineties, reliability remains a strong point today. It is very rare to find an example which hasn’t been modified in some way – usually in the form of an increase in power.
 
Which one to buy?
 
First-gen Impreza Turbo production ran from 1992 until late 2000. Model years can be distinguished by the letters A-G after the GC8 chassis number. Several updates freshened the Impreza formula in that time, with improvements to the brakes, an increase in alloy wheel diameter from 15 to 16-inches in 1994, and styling and interior revisions in 1997 among the most significant.
 
The original turbocharged Impreza was dubbed Turbo 2000 in the UK market and WRX elsewhere. It initially produced 208bhp, with final run versions climbing slightly to 215bhp. Japanese market cars had 237bhp. The STI gained blueprinted engines, which vaguely produced 276bhp (depending on how strongly Subaru adhered to Japanese car makers’ agreement which said their vehicles would not exceed that figure) and uprated suspension and transmission.
 
The stripped-out Type RA was the ideal starting point for a Group N rally car. Much of the WRX’s soundproofing was removed, as were the electric windows, the air conditioning unit and ABS system, and an adjustable centre differential and close ratio gearbox were added.
 
Numerous special editions were produced for the UK market to celebrate the Impreza’s World Rally Championship exploits, often worked over by Prodrive. Some, like the Turbo Terzo and Catalunya Special Editions were little more than limited-run colour and trim variations of the WRX, but others featured more focussed changes.
 
The P1 is one such example. Based on the Type RA coupe, Prodrive tuned the suspension on UK roads, and added gunmetal-grey 17-inch OZ alloy wheels. Power stood at 276bhp, and though the RA’s centre differential was removed, ABS and a quickshift gearchange were added.
 
While Prodrive offered the P1, Subaru had already produced the most sought-after special edition of all. The 22B featured a unique body kit which, courtesy of the WRC-inspired flared wheel arches, increased overall width by 80mm. The engine displacement rose to 2212cc and power to about 280bhp, and a twin-plate clutch and Bilstein suspension further singled it out as the most focussed first-gen Impreza ever produced. 400 units were sold, with just 16 officially reaching the UK.
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine 1994cc flat four
Power 215bhp @ 5600rpm
Torque 214lb ft @ 4000rpm
Top speed 143mph
0-60mph 5.6secs
Fuel consumption 27mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual
Insurance group 17
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2520mm
Length 4340mm
Width 1690mm
Height 1440mm
Weight 1235kg
 
Common problems
 
● Any performance car – particularly one so popular with tuners - will be far more desirable with a full service history. Subaru recommends an oil service should be carried out every 7,500 miles or so, but closer to 3,000 miles is preferable. The cambelt should be replaced at 45,000-mile intervals.

● Earlier models suffer from leaky power steering pumps. Listen for any whining, and feel for inconsistent weighting from the rack

● Later examples are known to suffer from faulty MAF units. Watch out for an unsettled idle

● Take a good look at the tyres – they tend to wear on the inner edges. Get the car on full lock in either direction to check their condition

● The clutch isn’t prone to failure, but many Imprezas have been driven very hard. Excessive wear usually manifests itself as judder at low revs

● Look for dents under the car which suggest, contrary to the claims of the seller, that the car has “never been raced or rallied”

● Big end failure can be a very expensive issue with overly-tuned or poorly maintained examples. Listen for knocking noise lower down the rev range and low oil pressure
 
Model history
 
Nov 1992: First edition of the WRX, codename GC8A, released. Official UK models named Turbo 2000.
Oct 1993: Five-door Wagon debuts
Sep 1994: GC8C model replaces GC8B. WRX gains power hike to 256bhp, and wheels increase to 16 inches in diameter
1996: Series McRae special edition released. Prodrive-tweaked model features “Rally Blue” paint, gold alloys, special decals and Recaro seats. 200 units produced
Sep 1996: Revised styling across range. WRX power output rises to 276bhp. Coupe model debuts, with a lighter and stiffer chassis than the saloon
Mar 1997: Catalunya Special edition released, featuring black paint with red metallic flake and gold alloys. 200 produced for UK market
1997: Interior styling tweaks across the range. Turbo 2000 gains leather interior
1998: Subaru Japan produce 22B. Based on the Coupe, it offers WRC-inspired styling, Sonic Blue paint, a small increase in displacement and Bilstein suspension 
1999: RB5 model released to celebrate Richard Burns’ WRC title. Based on saloon, it featured “Blue Steel” Grey paint with matching alcantara trim inside, a unique bodykit and 17” Speedline alloy wheels. An optional WR Sport Performance Pack upped power to 237hp and a Prodrive suspension kit also available. 444 produced for the UK market
Sep 1999: New wheel designs debuted, colour coded door mirrors/door handles became standard, as did remote central locking. The WRX gained brake upgrades
Mar 2000: Prodrive-developed P1 released. Based on Type R coupe, the suspension is set up specifically for UK roads, while power stands at 276bhp. Finished in the same Sonic Blue pant as the 22B
2001: GC Impreza replaced with all-new GD (saloon) and GG (wagon) models
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
- uk.subaruownersclub.com
- www.grahamgoode.com/subaru.html
- www.scoobyparts.com
 
Summary and prices
 
Thanks to reasonably strong numbers of road legal examples on our roads (around 3,300 currently registered according to howmanyleft.co.uk) Turbo 2000 and STi models are still highly affordable performance cars. A clean, almost original Turbo 2000 with around 80,000 miles could be yours for less than £2,500, and even the most immaculate low mileage examples are unlikely to cost more than £5000. The more practical (but ultimately less desirable) wagons are even cheaper.
 
Special edition models go for a little mode. The RB5 generally costs between £5-£7000, and an imported Type RA in original condition is worth a similar amount. Values for an original P1 are creeping up towards the £10,000 mark, but it’s the 22B which has seen values skyrocket – recent sales suggest values are sitting at between £40,000 and £60,000.

Words: Alex Ingram
Subaru Impreza RB5 Subaru Impreza P1 Subaru Impreza P1 Subaru Impreza P1 Subaru Impreza 22B Subaru Impreza Turbo
Last updated: 22nd Mar 2016
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  • SUBARU IMPREZA TYPE UK AWD

    £20,500 £20,500

    Type: Used Year: 2015 Make: SUBARU Model: IMPREZA Trim: TYPE UK AWD Body: Sedan Trans: Manual Mileage: 17000 Engine Size: 2457 Ext Color: Dark Grey

    • Mileage: 17000 mi
    • Engine size: 2457
    For sale
    £20,500 £20,500
    Sam Jordan Cars ltd
    01283888431 View contact number
  • SUBARU IMPREZA WRX TURBO 2005

    £5,995 £5,995

    SUBARU IMPREZA WRX 2.0 ;;2005 REGISTERED ;;ONLY 99,000 MILES! ;;FULL SERVICE HISTORY ( JUST BEEN SERVICED ) ;;MOT - 12 MONTHS MOT ;;3 MONTHS WARRANTY ;;DELIVERY AVAILABLE ANYWHERE IN UK ;;COMES WITH A FULL SERVICE AND HEALTH CHECK ;;RESERVE THIS VEHICLE TODAY WITH A DEPOSIT OF GBP 250 ;;2 KEYS ;;Stunning spec with awesome power, stage 2 clutch, light weight alloy wheels, upgraded head angel head lights, huge rear wing, remapped to 300bhp, tinted glass, upgraded exhaust , STi-SPEC, upgraded, intercooler, k and n air filter , carbon parts, upgraded oil caps, adjustable coilovers lowered , upgraded sti oil, boost battery, gauges, short shift gearbox, dump valve, upgraded silicon pipes, up graded bonnet scoop, much much more, 2 keys, Sports Seats, Alloys Front Foglights, Air Conditioning, Remote Alarm and Central Locking, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Xenons. Absolutely Fantastic Original condition and a Credit to Last Owner. ;;MOT, SERVICE HISTORY, ALL OWNERS HANDBOOKS AND KEY PRESENT ;;FREE INCLUSIVE 3 MONTHS MECHANICAL WARRANTY APPLIES TO THIS VEHICLE FOR COMPLETE PEACE OF MIND SUPPLIED BY WARRANTY ASSIST - THE UK'S LEADING AUTOMOTIVE WARRANTY SUPPLIER! ;;ALL MAJOR CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS ACCEPTED** ;;ALL VEHICLES HPI CLEAR, V CAR ;;VIEWING POSSIBLE ANYTIME BY ARRANGEMENT ;;GENUINE INTEREST ONLY PLEASE ;;PART EXCHANGE WELCOME! ;;PLEASE NOTE THIS CAR IS IN (EDINBURGH) SCOTLAND DELIVERY CAN BE ARRANGED ANYWERE IN UK

    • Mileage: 99000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.994
    For sale
    £5,995 £5,995
  • SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI Type UK 2009

    £11,495 £11,495

    Subaru Impreza 2.5 WRX STI Type UK 5dr;FINANCE AT MOSTONS.COM;2009 (09 reg), Hatchback;65,000 miles;Manual;2500cc;Petrol;BEST COLOUR COMBINATION, 6 MONTH AA WARRANTY INCLUDED, Black interior, Four wheel-drive, Air-Conditioning (Automatic), Climate Control, Alarm, Alloy Wheels (17in), Electric Windows (Front/Rear), In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD Autochanger/MP3), Upholstery Cloth/Leather, Air Bag Driver, Air Bag Passenger, Air Bag Side, Air conditioning, Alloy wheels, Adjustable Steering Column/Wheel, Airbags, Anti-Lock Brakes, CD Player, Body Coloured Bumpers, Central Door Locking, Central locking, Electric door mirrors, Electric windows, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Cup Holder, Clock, Front Fog Lights, Gear Knob Leather, External Temperature Display, Power-Assisted Steering, Radio, Remote central locking, Power steering, Mirrors External, Leather seats, Sports seats, Steering Wheel Leather, Traction control, Lumbar support, Head Restraints, Folding rear seats. 5 seats, Blue, APPLY FOR FINANCE ON OUR WEBSITE MOSTONS.COM , FULL DEALER FACILITIES. P/EXCHANGE, OPEN 7 DAYS, GBP 11,495

    • Mileage: 65000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.457
    For sale
    £11,495 £11,495
  • SUBARU IMPREZA WRX 2.5ltr PRODRIVE GB270 AWD ESTATE LTD EDITION 016 2007

    £8,995 £8,995

    As an approved RAC dealer all our vehicles are supplied fully prepared inc , ;;12mths MOT;Full engine lubrication service;Documented Recent timing belt kit fitted;Brake inspection / service;;RAC warranty;12mths RAC breakdown cover ;;Nationwide uk delivery is available ;;016 of only 100 limited edition prodrive GB270 sport wagons;A very rare vehicle in such nice original condition and this one has the even rarer factory leather with GB270 stitching ;;Correctly maintained and clearly very well loved by its previous owners;This vehicle has been brought up from the south of England where it has been all its life and as such has not suffered from the usual corrosion seen in many , used but definitely not abused , as nice as they come.;;Prodrive set about it with the following performance upgrades as standard equipment on these mica grey metallic limited editions.;;Prodrive aero kit;Prodrive 270hp engine Ecu;Prodrive / eibach lowered suspension;Quick shift gear lever;Momo gear knob;Prodrive exhaust ;18" Prodrive gloss black alloy wheels;Tinted rear windows;Wire mesh bumper and grill protectors ;Factory leather interior with GB270 stitching ;GB270 interior no:16 plaque and rear badging;;Genuine 84,622 miles;Full service history ( 12 service stamps );;A very solid everyday usable investment, only likely to increase in value as the years go on.;;Please ask for extended RAC warranties and low rate finance deals ;;

    • Mileage: 84622 mi
    • Engine size: 2.457
    For sale
    £8,995 £8,995
  • SUBARU IMPREZA GX SPORT 2004 Petrol Auto Silver

    £1,500 £1,500

    Outstanding Service History 16 Recorded Services with Supporting Invoices Cambelt Replaced @ 122201mls May 2013, Mot`d Until 7th December 20181 Only 1 Advisory, Only 2 Private Owners From New, Gearbox Works As It Should, 15" Alloys with 4 Good Tyres, All 4 Electric Windows Work As Does The Electric Mirrors, Air Conditioning, Rear Load Cover, Roof Rails, Radio/CD, Twin Front Airbags, Momo Leather Steering Wheel, Immobiliser, Don`t Make Cars Like This Anymore

    • Mileage: 164403 mi
    • Engine size: 1.994
    For sale
    £1,500 £1,500
  • SUBARU IMPREZA WRX S 2010

    £6,000 £6,000

    2 Owner SUBURU IMPREZA WRX S in great condition which benefits from Full Main Dealer Service History and has a MOT till November 2018. Supplied with 12 months AA Cover, 1 months warranty and 2 keys, this car is HPI clear. Finance arranged and part exchange welcome. Most vehicles have additional pictures and specification information on our website www.nuneatoncarsales.co.uk Our showroom in Nuneaton is open 7 days a week. The majority of our vehicles qualify for the same day delivery service, finance can usually be arranged within an hour or you can apply online by visiting the vehicle directly on our website www.nuneatoncarsales.co.uk, then go to the finance section at the bottom of the page. Our vehicles are price checked daily nationwide, so you don’t have to. Nuneaton Car Sales is an AA accredited dealer giving you extra piece of mind. ;;SERVICE HISTORY;06/12/2011 6288 MILES CROSS ROADS SUBURU;30/11/2012 10555 MILES CROSS ROADS SUBURU;19/11/2013 16422 MILES CROSS ROADS SUBURU;13/03/2014 24905 MILES CROSS ROADS SUBURU;01/08/2014 38047 MILES CROSS ROADS SUBURU;19/02/2015 49005 MILES CROSS ROADS SUBURU;07/08/2015 61963 MILES CROSS ROADS SUBURU;01/12/2015 73146 MILES CROSS ROADS SUBURU;02/03/2016 80399 MILES CROSS ROADS SUBURU;05/07/2016 89787 MILES CROSS ROADS SUBURU;17/10/2016 96627 MILES CROSS ROADS SUBURU;06/11/2017 119566 MILES CROSS ROADS SUBURU

    • Mileage: 119566 mi
    • Engine size: 2.457
    For sale
    £6,000 £6,000
  • Subaru Impreza

    £6,995 £6,995

    4x4 WHAT A STUNNING EXAMPLE WE HAVE TO OFFER......... CRACKING CONDITION FOR ITS AGE AND MILEAGE. UNMODIFIED............ Only 2 previous owners and LOADS OF SERVICE HISTORY INCLUDING CAMBELT CHANGE. Serviced at 1137, 9812, 20079, 30441, 40154, 20071 and 59452. We will be supplying this car with a FULL SERVICE AND MOT. Two keys and HPI clear. Call our sales team on 01484 654577 to arrange a viewing.ABS, Air Conditioning, Alarm, Alloy Wheels, Body Coloured Bumpers, Drivers Airbag, Electric Door Mirrors, Front Electric Windows, Front Fog Lights, Headlight Washers, Heated Door Mirrors, Height Adjustable Drivers Seat, Immobiliser, Passenger Airbag, Power Steering, Radio/Cassette, Radio/CD, Rear Electric Windows, Remote Central Locking, Side Airbags, Sports Seats, Steering Wheel Rake Adjustment, Trip Computer

    • Mileage: 72504 mi
    • Engine size: 2457
    For sale
    £6,995 £6,995