When Subaru came up with the current generation Impreza, the Japanese automaker wanted to distance themselves from their once infamous boy racer image in favor of a toned down more mainstream appearance that would not distract a wider audience of new car buyers. Subaru wants to become more than just a niche vehicle for Northeasterners, who appreciate the beauty of all wheel drive; or tuners, who see great bang for your buck in the company’s turbocharged vehicles. The automotive arm of Fuji Heavy Industries is looking for a larger share of the market.
In doing so, the Impreza has grown up. Our $28,000 Satin White Pearl Suabru Impreza GT is fun to drive with its 2.5 Liter turbocharged boxer engine sending 224 HP to all four 17 inch wheels wrapped in low profile 205/50 tires and a comfortable, yet cloth, interior that was just as aggressive as the ride, but the best part is, how the Impreza GT flies under the radar and stays between the lines.
The Exterior of our Impreza GT is deceiving; at first glance it looks like any other car, to the untrained eye it could be a Toyota or a even a Honda, the body is distinctly Japanese. Subaru’s design team intended to make this next generation Impreza blend in amongst a sea of new cars, their hopes is that the more mundane styling won’t turn away shoppers like in previous years.
Don’t be fooled by the talk about the Impreza being toned down. Despite the toned down bulges and Civic like shape that make the Suabru look like a tamer beast, the hood scoop hints at something more underneath. From the back end, the new taillights and dual exhaust confirm what you suspected from the power bulge. The ten spoke 17 inch rims are the perfect touch to put the GT over the top, the only thing we’d like to see are a set of those red four piston Subaru brake calipers underneath. Whereas the chrome grill doesn’t work with the STI, the GT wears the blue Pleagus badge and shiny surround like a shield of upscale honor.
From the outside, the Suabru Impreza GT definitely appeals to a wider, more sophisticated audience. The vehicle combines classic cues from the rally car with a 21st century shape that you would be proud to park with at a valet.
The Impreza GT has the same familiar interior complete with easy to use center stack that you have come to expect from Subaru. The gauges are bright and in your face, just like the hood scoop, they illuminated numbers and dials remind you that this car is boosted. One of our favorite touches on the interior was the dash trim. On the passenger side there is a brushed metallic piece that cuts the dashboard in half, but the way it bites down like a fang on the center stack adds a whole other level of visual aggression. The same finish was applied to items like the gearshift, center stack, window controls and the steering wheel. Speaking of the steering wheel that is one piece that Subaru has always done right, ever since the first U.S. spec WRX got a Momo, the directional controls of their cars only add to the sports car feel. The seats are also bolstered and grippy.
Overall the Suabru’s interior is everything you could ask for, comfortable, spacious, sporty … the adjectives could keep coming. The only drawback to our Suabru Impreza GT’s interior is that it’s covered in cloth. If someone were buying this much car, they would be expecting leather, at an additional cost of course. The only thing about the interior that our Top Speed design team would change is the location of the a/c vents, putting the 6 disk CD changer above makes the unit seem slightly bulbous. Maybe this way the hot electronic equipment won’t warm the already chilled air.
From the moment you turn the ignition and watch the glowing red dials sweep back and forth across the rev range until you finally put the car in park and unbuckle your seatbelt, you will be having fun in the Impreza GT. That is mainly thanks to the company’s 224 HP 2.5 Liter turbocharged flat four under the hood connected to a symmetrical all wheel drive power train. The rally inspired machine goes like the dickens and has handling to match. It is only when you get behind the wheel that you realize why Subaru had to make the GT. This car packs all the performance of a WRX into a much more user-friendly package that is also easier on the eyes.
You don’t have to worry about being able to heel-toe in the GT, although you could have some fun trail braking. That is because of the car’s four speed automatic transmission. It does seem a little low that in this modern time of 8 speed automatics, that Subaru doesn’t offer at least a five speed; but what you have to remember is that a turbo motor takes every gear and turns it into two, one with boost and one without. Fourth gear in any turbo car feels quite different once the compressor has gotten up to speed and it working at maximum capacity. The four speed gearbox works just fine in the GT, and if you want to feel more engaged, move the shifter over into sport mode.
Why to Buy:
If you want to have a vehicle that is as fun as the WRX but want to avoid the attention attracted by an oversized rear wing, the Subaru Impreza GT will let you fly underneath the radar. If you want to experience 224 turbocharged horses and the beauty of all wheel drive in a car that gets 19 MPG in the city and 24 MPH on the highway and can go from 0 to 60 MPH in six seconds, then the Impreza GT is for you.
The Subaru offers a conservative shape that sticks out with its Satin White Pearl finish and 17 inch rims. The car offers all the fun of sportier models with the comfort and convenience of an automatic transmission.
Why Not to Buy:
The only conceivable reason why not to buy this Subaru is because you just can’t live without leather seating, aside from that the GT is great. Our car’s $28,143 price tag puts it out of the range of ordinary Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas, but those cars are nowhere near the Subaru’s equals. Audi offers a similar package of turbocharged four cylinder all wheel drive with their A4’s 2.0 TFSI engine and Quattro drive train. If it is truly the sporting attitude that you are after, then shop the Lancer Ralliart. However if you just want all wheel drive fun on a budget, go test drive the Suzuki SX-4, you might just have fun.
If you feel the need for speed and don’t care what people say about your rally wing or light pod, then the GT isn’t for you, what you need is a Subaru Impreza WRX STI. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that
Top Speed Final Verdict:
The Subaru Impreza GT is a wonderful automobile. This turbocharged automatic Impreza is effortlessly fun to drive and even better flies under the radar while doing it. Gone is the boy racer charm that captivated the Playstation generation and made people like Collin McRae and Richard Burns legends, but what is left would still make those rally racers proud. Even though the Japanese automaker has decided to pull out of international rally competition, the spirit of the WRC car lives on. From the subtle power bulge feeding air onto the turbocharged flat four making 224 HP to the bolstered buckets and 6 disk CD changer the Impreza GT comes equipped for everything you need to have a good time and look equally as well doing it.