1 Sep 2007
SUBARU chose safety, value and function as the hallmarks of its all-new Impreza III range.
Released in September 2007 and launched as a five-door hatchback-only small car (a sedan followed in late 2008) was more spacious, better equipped, quieter and, for the first time, featured both six airbags and stability control as standard across the range.
And – of course – permanent all-wheel drive was standard across the range – giving the Japanese small car a unique selling point.
Wrapped in a more conservative new bodyshell claimed to be significantly more rigid, the Mk3 Impreza hatch rode on a 95mm-longer wheelbase (2620mm) and was 10mm higher (1475mm) and 45mm wider (1740mm), but 50mm shorter overall at 4415mm. It also weighed around 50kg less than previously.
According to Subaru, it liberated more space, while wider-opening rear doors improved in/egress, extended seat cushions offered more comfort for all passengers and an extra three degrees of seatback recline (to 26 degrees) improved rear-seat comfort.
Subaru said “vast improvements” had been made in terms of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) thanks to the stiffer bodyshell, which was due in part to the fitment of framed door windows for the first time.
Manual versions were fitted with the convenient Hill Start Assist function (which worked in both reverse and forward gears), while all cars received a tilt/reach steering wheel, gas bonnet struts and an engine set 10mm lower in the chassis, while at the rear a new Liberty-sourced double wishbone suspension made the boot 123mm wider and improved handling.
Until the four-door sedan arrived, the range comprised four hatch variants, opening with the base Impreza R that replaced the Impreza 2.0i. Next up the RX replaced the Impreza RV while the RS replaced the 2.0R.
The turbo Impreza WRX was topped by the STi performance hero.
All non-turbo models were powered by an upgraded version of Subaru’s naturally-aspirated double overhead camshaft 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed four-cylinder boxer engine with Active Valve Control System.
It delivered 20 per cent more power (a healthy 110kW at 6400rpm) and seven per cent more torque (196Nm at 3200rpm) than the SOHC four-cylinder engine it replaced.
Standard across the range were twin front, front-side and full-length side-curtain head airbags, ESC, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, ventilated front and solid rear brake discs, five three-point seatbelts, front seatbelt pretensioners, load-limiters, height-adjusters and light indicators, five head restraints and rear child locks. Wheel sizes increased from 15 to 16-inch.
Meanwhile, the WRX was powered by a massaged version of the old model’s 2.5-litre turbocharged DOHC boxer four that delivered the same 169kW at 5200rpm and 320Nm of torque, but this time 800rpm lower at 2800rpm.
The Impreza WRX STi performance flagship hatch hit showrooms in early 2008. Two versions were offered, with the premium version badged STi Spec.R.
With 221kW at 6000rpm available and peak torque of 407Nm at 4000rpm (up from 392Nm), the new STi was the first production Subaru to officially produce more than 206kW, the self-imposed limit set by Japanese manufacturers.
Compared with the WRX, it featured a unique front bumper with large foglights and a specific rear bumper comprising a large aerodynamic diffuser. It also had a hatch-mounted spoiler more subtle that the previous STi's massive boot-lid spoiler.
The flagship Spec.R featured lightweight BBS alloy wheels and Recaro sports seats. Cloaking the new model’s longer wheelbase and wider wheels were aggressively blistered wheel-arches on a bodyshell that shared only the bonnet, front doors, roof and rear hatch in common with the WRX, and which appeared largely unchanged in the World Rally Championship.
In September 2010 Subaru overhauled its turbo Impreza range, bringing WRX and the WRX STI closer while making them both more easily differentiated from the non-turbo Imprezas.
The wide body of the previous STI hatch became shared with the cheaper WRX, while a new wide-body sedan was introduced as both a WRX and an STI. The STI sedan was fitted with whas Subaru described as a ‘massive’ boot-mounted spoiler while the WRX sedan got a more sedate boot-lid spoiler.
Engines are unchanged except in the case of the STI, which got a revised torque map.
Subaru also took the opportunity to improve the suspension set-up of the STI after testing spring and damper rates in Australian conditions.
The suspension was 5mm lower, the spring rate increased, the damping revised and thicker front and rear stabiliser bars fitted.
Subaru also added new aluminium lower arms to the front suspension, while the rear suspension subframe was revised.
The STI received new Enkei 18-inch rims as standard, a combined 7.2kg lighter than those they replaced and there were also new stainless steel exhaust tips.
The interior was updated with a darker instrument panel and door trim as well as Bluetooth and a USB jack.
The front bumper was revised with air vents to help cool the brakes.
The Road to Recovery podcast series
8th of September 2010
Subaru 2010 Impreza WRX range
Subaru pumps up the WRX to make it mean again
4th of December 2008
Subaru 2008 Impreza WRX range
Subaru winds up the performance of its Impreza WRX hatch - and adds a sedan
4th of April 2008
Subaru 2008 Impreza WRX STi 5-dr hatch
Top-shelf STi version takes Subaru's redesigned Impreza hatch to new heights
15th of February 2008
Subaru 2007 Impreza 2.0R 5-dr hatch
Subaru's refined new MkIII Impreza may not suit the WRX, but makes for a neat R
When it was new
10th of January 2011
Subaru scores sportswear tie-in for Impreza XV ‘Mizuno'
Subaru to offer Impreza XV buyers $3000 of extras and $500 of sports gear in March
7th of September 2010
First drive: Subaru Impreza WRX gets STI muscles
Wide-body WRX steps closer to STI as Subaru pumps up turbo Imprezas
1st of June 2010
High-rise Impreza to the rescue
Slow-selling Subaru small car gets reinforcements with Impreza XV
22nd of March 2010
Subaru applies WRX look to Impreza RS
WRX wheels and trim stitching form the basis of Subaru’s new limited-edition Impreza
10th of March 2010
Subaru whips Impreza into shape with leather
R-rated Subaru Impreza gets black leather trim to turn on buyers
5th of February 2009
Subaru cuts Impreza price again
Subaru reduces price of Impreza RS and adds extra gear for other models
4th of December 2008
First drive: Special treatment for Aussie Rex
Subaru toughens up its iconic Impreza WRX hatch and finally introduces the sedan
9th of September 2008
Subaru adds a three-box sedan to its newest Impreza range, but WRX buyers must wait
8th of February 2008
First Oz drive: Slicker Subaru STi still stirs the soul
Comfier, higher-tech and still blindingly quick, Subaru's MkIII STi hits Oz
5th of February 2008
Brisbane show: STi from $60,000
Subaru reveals two versions, a $60K base price and limited stock of its STi stonker
4th of September 2007
First drive: Subaru's Impreza goes mainstream
Subaru widens its Impreza net with a more civilised five-door hatch that fails to excite