UPDATE: Andrea Zapatinas was not the designer of the Alfa Romeo-inspired nose that found its way onto the last generation Impreza. Zapatinas was not dismissed, he chose not to renew his contract with FHI.


Peter Lyon, one of Inside Line's contributors from Japan, just wrapped up a first drive of the new JDM Impreza WRX S-GT on the eve of its sales launch, and his review is pretty much exactly what we'd expected.

The new styling direction for the Impreza centered on toning down the aggressive (and awkward) aesthetic of former models in an effort to appeal to a larger audience. That, coupled with the removal of the Alfa-esque grille, has left Subaru in a design limbo. But we've already been there and done that, so lets move onto the stuff that matters -- how it drives...

[Source: Inside Line]

The Japanese market will be getting a two-liter version of the turbo'd boxer, producing 248 HP at 6,000 RPM, and 246 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,400 RPM. When the WRX goes on sale later this year in the States, we'll be getting the Legacy-pilfered 2.5-liter boxer that gets modified intake ports, combustion chambers and a newly developed twin-scroll turbo. Despite the bump in displacement, our WRX will only be making 224 HP and 226 lb.-ft. of twist. That said, the new car weighs almost exactly the same as the outgoing model, so performance should be on par with its predecessor.

According to Lyon, the two-liter version he sampled does little to excite the senses, with power that comes on smoothly and progressively, but it lacks the kick-in-the-pants of previous models. It's quick, but not compelling.

As for handling, it sounds like this is one of the few places the new car shines. With double wishbones finding residence in the rear, the new suspension arrangement has limited roll, yet takes to uneven surfaces with ease. Trace amounts of oversteer can be had if the limits of adhesion are tested, but the VDC system, along with Subaru's legendary AWD, make corrections and control a snap.

We're waiting patiently for our first go-round in the next Rex, but in the meantime, you can read the full review here.

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