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Tokyo show: Subaru rolls out the Imprezas

Eye spy: Japanese-market Subaru Imprezas will be offered with the brand’s EyeSight crash-prevention technology.

Japan-spec Impreza hatch and sedan share Subaru stand with hot WRX STI S206 special

Subaru logo1 Dec 2011

THREE new-generation Impreza models graced Subaru’s Tokyo motor show stand this week, comprising Japanese-market versions of the new hatch and sedan plus a Japan-only limited-edition WRX STI S206 based on the current model but packing even more power and torque.

They appeared alongside the crowd-pleasing BRZ coupe and the Advanced Tourer Concept that previews the style of the next-generation Liberty and Outback.

Subaru’s thoroughly redesigned Impreza range – which will reach Australian showrooms in January with first customer deliveries arriving in February – goes on sale in Japan on December 20, with the five-door hatch badged Sport and the sedan designated G4 (for genuine four-door).

A new 1.6-litre version of Subaru’s famous ‘boxer’ four-cylinder petrol engine will be offered in Japan alongside the 110kW 2.0-litre version that will exclusively power the Impreza’s three-variant launch line-up in Australia.

Subaru claims the new 1.6-litre powerplant provides acceleration comparable with the previous-generation 2.0-litre Impreza, while fuel consumption is 20 per cent lower than the 1.5-litre engine it replaces.

The first iteration of Subaru’s new flat-four engine design debuted earlier this year with a 2.5-litre displacement in the facelifted Forester.

2 center imageLeft: WRX STI S206. Below: The BRZ and Advanced Tourer Concept on the stand in Tokyo.

Japanese-market Imprezas will also be offered with Subaru’s EyeSight safety system, which uses a pair of cameras to detect and avoid hazards and is now available in Australia on high-end variants of the Outback and Liberty – making Australia Subaru’s first export market to receive this new technology.

The rally-bred, high-performance WRX and even hotter STI variant will continue to be based on the previous Impreza and sold alongside the new model until a replacement surfaces in 2014.

As GoAuto has reported, the next-generation WRX and STI will cease to be based on the Impreza and are expected to be powered by a downsized 1.6-litre turbo flat-four engine – which suggests some serious weight-saving work will be done if performance is not to suffer.

In the meantime, WRX fans will be kept interested by special-edition versions of the existing WRX and STI, like the Japanese-market STI S206 edition shown at Tokyo – of which only 300 will be built.

Featuring an “exclusively made” engine that has been internally balanced to “enhance rev feel” and pumped up with a specially designed ball-bearing turbocharger, engine management upgrade and sports exhaust, the S206 pumps out 235kW of power and 431Nm of torque.

That is a handy 14kW and 24Nm over the already well-endowed standard STI and, while Subaru has not provided official performance figures, it claims a sharper throttle response plus better low and mid-range torque – which should address criticisms levelled at the standard car’s turbo lag.

The extra performance is complemented by suspension tweaks including new Bilstein dampers and S206-specific 19-inch BBS alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.

A front splitter, vents in the front wheelarches and new rear spoiler identify the S206 as a special-edition, while the inside gets a leather-bound steering wheel, Recaro racing seats upholstered in S206 fabric and suede-like Alcantara with dark red seatbelts.

For extra exclusivity, 100 already-sold examples of the production run will feature the NBR Challenge Package, which commemorates the Impreza’s class win in the Nurburgring 24-hour endurance race in June with the addition of a carbon-fibre roof, optional carbon adjustable rear spoiler and black alloy wheels.

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