New York Auto Show: Subaru's bigger Impreza makes its impression upon NYC [VIDEO]

UPDATE: Video of the live reveal added after the jump!

click above image to view 90 high-res shots of the 2008 Subaru Impreza

After running a few executives across the podium at its press intro, Subaru finally got down to business and pulled the sheet from its refreshed Impreza 2.5i.

The four-door sedan version is exclusive to the US, and is about a half-foot longer than the five-door hatch shown here. Both models are 4.5" wider than the outgoing version, and carry the widened grille and new logo that are supposed to pay homage to Subaru's aircraft heritage. It looks better in person than in photos, but we're not yet ready to commit to, you know, actually liking it. Inside, the Impreza has a roomy feel, but the overall quality left us feeling a bit unsatisfied.

Don't look for significant increases in power under the hood; in fact, the naturally-aspirated 2.5L flat-four is actually down a few ponies at the peak, with a bit more torque and improvements in emissions and fuel economy as a consolation prize. It's still backed by a five-speed manual or four-speed auto. Those in the snow belt, take note - Subaru's commitment to safety is followed-through via the inclusion of the new stability control system, and of course Symmetrical All Wheel Drive is standard.

Keep an eye out for our post on the WRX version coming shortly.

Check out the 2008 Impreza in our photo gallery, the official press release after the jump, and of course there's a detailed list of our other coverage available in our New York Auto Show megapost.



2008 Imprezas Boast All-New Styling and Two New Body Styles
New and More Refined Interior Delivers Improved Comfort, Space and Utility
Available Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC)

New York, NY April 5, 2007 -- Subaru today unveiled the all-new Subaru Impreza 2.5i and its performance icon cousin, the Impreza WRX at the New York International Auto Show. With new, more sophisticated styling and two new body styles, a 4-door sedan and a 5-door model, the Impreza 2.5i and Impreza WRX breathe new life into the compact performance market. The new Impreza models take a giant leap forward in terms of comfort and utility, while delivering the handling, performance and Subaru Symmetrical AWD that made the original Impreza such a success. Also new for 2008, is the availability of Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) on both the Impreza 2.5i and Impreza WRX.

In 2002, Subaru changed the face of the performance market with the introduction of the original WRX, a car that could deliver turbocharged, rally-bred performance in any driving condition. The all-new 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX follows that lead with an all-new breed of AWD performance car. The 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX now rides on a 3.7 inch longer wheelbase (103.1 inches) that improves ride, interior space and utility.

The new WRX is powered by a 2.5-liter flat-four Boxer engine delivering 224 horsepower and 226 Lb.-ft. of torque and is 50 lbs. lighter than its predecessor. The engine has been modified to produce more torque at lower rpm. With its broader and richer torque curve, the 2008 WRX delivers a smooth stream of power, improving drivability and fuel efficiency.

The new Impreza chassis has improved rigidity and ride comfort with the addition of high tension steel at key structural points. The new design results in a lower overall weight for the body while the longer wheelbase allows for improved ride dynamics as well as increasing interior room and lowering levels of Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH).

To further improve handling, the engine is now placed slightly lower in the chassis, lowering the Impreza's center of gravity. In addition, the new chassis improves crash worthiness and provides crisper handling and a stiffer platform. While the new Impreza WRX remains a driver's car, the new WRX represents a better combination of capabilities, maximizing performance, comfort and delivering an advantage over the competition.

In conjunction with the new chassis, the Subaru Impreza and WRX feature an all-new double-wishbone rear suspension. The suspension allows for less intrusion into the cargo area, providing a wider and deeper luggage compartment. The new suspension also delivers improved ride refinement, decreased road noise, and a quieter cabin.

The all-new 2008 Impreza and Impreza WRX are now available in two new body styles, a 4-door and a 5-door. The new 5-door design is clean and elegant, with a sweeping single curve roofline that flows into an aerodynamic rear spoiler. An all-new frontal design features the new spread wing logo design at the top of the widened grille. The new grille creates a connection to the Subaru aircraft heritage and places a focus on the Subaru star cluster logo.

Both exterior designs focus on detail touches such as the new clear rear lenses on the 5-door, distinctive curved fog lamps and an inward sweeping chrome embellishment that flows the grille design into the bumper. An aggressive lower spoiler adds to the sporting character of the design.

The 5-door features a distinctive character line that sweeps upward at the rear, giving the car an agile look. The short rear overhang, new clear rear taillamp lenses and a vertical chrome bar combine to integrate the side character line into tail.

The 4-door Impreza and Impreza WRX are unique to the North American market. The new 4-door is 4.5-inches longer than the previous sedan and 6.5-inches longer than the new 5-door models. The extra space provides for a much larger trunk that can accommodate three Tour-size golf bags. The rear seats feature a 60/40 rear split folding mechanism that further enhances cargo capacity. On new 5-door Impreza models, the wide and flat load floor can accommodate two Tour golf bags with the rear seats in the upright position

The design of the 4-door models creates an improved road presence, with a wider and sharper front design giving way to a crisp side body crease. The rear of the 4-door Impreza is set apart by red lamp lenses and a chrome strip below the trunk line that visually widens the tail.

On WRX models, a new available aero kit denotes the WRX rally car heritage. The 5-door WRX features a rear under body diffuser and single chrome exhaust pipe. The 4-door WRX features dual chrome exhaust tips and a rear trunk spoiler.

The interior design of the 2008 Impreza places a new emphasis on comfort and space. The new sweeping twin cockpit embraces occupants and brushed aluminum look insets flow into the center stack. The center console shape adds to the airiness of the cockpit design, aided by the sculpted door panels and improved headroom. The door panels house molded recesses that can accommodate 24-oz. soft drink bottles, as well as loose items.

Despite retaining the same exterior width as the previous generation Impreza, the new 2008 Impreza features an interior with two inches more front shoulder room than before.

An available navigation and information center is the focal point of the center console. In addition to an input for MP3 players, the center console also includes video jacks that can accommodate portable gaming devices that can be displayed on the navigation screen when the vehicle is parked. The navigation screen is placed at the top of the dashboard for improved visibility and functionality. The interior of the new Impreza was designed to provide a feeling of quality with special emphasis placed on double-stitched fabrics and high-grade interior plastics.

New for 2008 are framed windows that allow for improved body rigidity and provide for a quieter interior with better sealing for the windows. Larger door openings provide improved ingress and egress and the rear doors open 75 degrees to allow for better rear seat access. The rear seatback angles have been reclined for improved rear comfort. Rear seat legroom is also significantly increased.

The 2.5-liter and 2.5-liter turbocharged flat fours have been modified to improve both emissions and fuel efficiency while maintaining the same high performance standards delivered by the current Impreza and Impreza WRX. Modified torque curves on the both engines are tuned for improved low-rpm acceleration and improved drivability.

The new 2.5-liter normally aspirated engine delivers 170 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 170 lb-ft. of torque @ 4,400 rpm. Low end torque and fuel efficiency for the 2.5-liter normally aspirated engine were improved by the addition of a new intake port. Improved emissions were realized by a new catalyst system that optimizes catalyst efficiency.

The 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four Boxer engine in the WRX delivers its maximum torque and horsepower earlier than the previous model, with 224 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm and 226 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2,800 rpm, a full 800 rpm earlier than the previous generation WRX. Low end torque and fuel efficiency was improved through the addition of a new intake manifold, intercooler and turbocharger.

The 2008 Impreza continues Subaru's legendary safety and crash worthiness record. New for 2008 are standard side-curtain airbags and available Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) . Also standard is the Subaru Advanced Frontal Airbag System (SRS), with front seat head / chest side impact air bags (SRS) and a driver's side front air bag that deploys according to the driver's proximity to the steering wheel, as measured by a sensor on the seat track. In the passenger side front seat, a sensor module detects weight on the passenger seat – first determining if it is occupied, and if so by a child or adult – to control air bag deployment. As part of the system, the dashboard features a new "Airbag" indicator light.

The new 2008 Impreza utilizes the Subaru Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame Body Structure with front and rear crumple zones. The new 2008 Subaru Impreza also incorporates 3-point seatbelts for all seats (height-adjustable for outboard positions); front seatbelts with electrically triggered pre-tensioners and force limiters, 4-channel/4-sensor Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and active front seat head restraints (Not available on WRX Performance Seats) to help reduce whiplash injury in a rear collision.

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