For 2008, the entire Impreza lineup has been completely redesigned with crisper lines, LED taillights, more aggressive headlights and a cleaner grille design.
The 2008 Impreza WRX is available as both a sedan and 5-door hatchback wagon, while the WRX STI, which we tested, is available only in hatchback form. The STI nomenclature stands for Subaru Technica International, Subaru's division focused upon the FIA World Rally Championship. The WRX STI has a lightweight fully aluminum suspension, larger fender bulges, quad-tip exhaust and a host of vents and diffusers necessary for rally racing.
The everyday driver will probably never put the WRX through the rigors faced by World Rally Championship drivers, but it's reassuring to know that one has an all wheel drive vehicle with a race pedigree when taking that sharp turn on back roads.
While the look is new for the '08 WRX, the capable and potent engines have been carried over. The 2.5 liter turbocharged-intercooled opposing-4 cylinder, also known as the boxer engine puts out 224 horsepower on the WRX and is tuned to crank out 305 horsepower and 290 pound feet of torque on the STI. Power is sent through choice of 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual on the WRX and a standard 6-speed manual on the WRX STI.
Mileage for the standard WRX is 19 miles per gallon city, 24 highway, while the STI model gets 17 city, 23 highway.
The superb-handling all wheel drive found on the WRX is even more advanced on the WRX STI. A driver controlled center differential splits power to 41 percent front and 59 percent rear.
In addition to these controls, the driver is treated to SI-Drive, which has three engine modes, changing throttle response and engine output. "Intelligent"," sport", and "sport sharp" modes can be operated via a center console knob or button on the multifunction steering wheel.
For the true driving enthusiast, the sporty amber gauges are aligned with the tachometer in the center. An information center in the center of the dash has readouts for time, exterior temperature, and average fuel economy.
In addition to its all wheel drive, safety features include 4-wheel antilock brakes, tire pressure monitor, advanced driver and front passenger airbags, side curtain airbags front and rear, and a ring-shaped body frame designed to absorb the energy of an impact.
Base MSRP for the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX is $24,850. The WRX STI model shown here starts at $34,995. Options such as navigation and the signature gold wheels will bump the cost up to around $42,000.
For those seeking a thrilling driving experience, secure handling, and the versatility of a hatchback, the redesigned 2008 Subaru WRX will deliver, with head-turning aggressive style.