From Adrian Kirk-Burnnand [ 27/09/2002 ].
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The 2003 model of the Subaru Impreza was relaeased at the Paris Motor show yesterday. Oh No! More controversy, a revised design just when everyone (well most) was getting used to the bug-eyed look and had a range of nick-names for it... Once again there will be immediate haters and likers of the new design. This aint no hoax either, its the real deal. The car was unveiled by Tommi Mäkinen as well as a prototype in Subaru Impreza World Rally Car form - the WRC2003. It's the earliest design revision in Subaru's history.
Personally I'm not too sure about the new design. Like when the last model was released I didn't really like what they'd done to start with, but this one has some nice features, and I think it'll grow on my quicker than the last one.
The revised bonnet scoop is very neat and the slim rear-view mirrors a nice addition. Being an out-and-out Subaru Liberty/Legacy fan I do like the similarities in the new front design to this car, a lot of people will see this as a downfall however. The problem is that I also see similarities between this and the latest Lancer.
Photo courtesy of Subaru Australia, www.subaru.com.au
In Japan, Holiday Auto magazine says: "While the new look is definitely interesting and fresh, we think it makes the WRX look bloated and fatter than the original. And just as we were starting to get used to the current model too." The facelift, it says, makes the Impreza look too much like the Liberty.
Let us know what you think on the Subaru message board using the link below or on the navigation bar on the left.
With revisions to the engine, roll-cage, body panels and aerodynamic package, the prototype is the latest evolution of the Impreza model, the first version of which made its WRC debut in 1993 on the Rally of Finland. The latest car is the result of a new integrated design process between Prodrive in the UK and Subaru in Japan, which uses common design and manufacturing systems to harness the engineering skills of both organisations.
"The WRC is now more competitive than ever before and winning rallies demands the very best at every stage. As far as I'm concerned this prototype represents another significant step forward in the development of the Impreza - it is absolutely on the cutting edge," explained 555 Subaru Team Principal David Lapworth. "We've been working on the project for around a year now, and have been involved with our colleagues at Subaru in Japan more closely than ever before. The design of the new road and rally car has been a two way process, with ideas passing backwards and forwards between our design teams. The result of this tandem approach is that changes have been made to the road car which in turn will help us win WRC events."
"The prototype features a number of improvements over the current model, for instance the bodyshell is lighter and stiffer, the aero package uses the air in a far more efficient way and the reduced frontal area makes the whole package more aerodynamic. There are many more improvements under the skin, but until the design is finalised we're remaining tight-lipped."
"This prototype is the first full-scale example of the car, and we plan to begin testing work very soon ahead of next season. We expect to begin using the WRC2003 car for the first round of next year's season, the Monte Carlo Rally."
Can't wait to see it in Monte Carlo.