Subaru's Best Boxers: The Middleweight Impreza Turbo


Even without the Colin McRae and Richard Burns associations, the Impreza Turbo seemed destined for greatness.

The 'where do we start?' cliche is one that gets bandied around a fair bit in lists of iconic things, but the sheer quantity of legendary Subaru Impreza models meant we genuinely struggled to decide how to start this article off. From the original WRX versions in 1992 to the 400-hp CS400 Cosworth edition and everything in between, there are simply far too many Impreza Turbo models to pay our respects here, so we'll do our very best to commemorate what is arguably one of the greatest performance car series of all time.

Back in the 1990s, the Subaru Impreza Turbo blew everyone's minds. Here was an otherwise humble sedan that, thanks to a thumping turbocharged motor, a great handling balance and one of the world's most advanced all-wheel drive systems at the time, had the legitimate real-world pace to keep high-end sports cars honest, no matter what weather Mother Nature threw at the road surface. Even in the modern day era of 350-hp-plus mega hatchbacks, there's little else at this price point that can match the kick-in-the-back punch of an Impreza Turbo at full chat; rarely a car that can rival the confidence-inspiring handling qualities. Not to mention the throaty, era-defining warble that is a forced-induction Subaru Boxer engine.

When discussing the Impreza Turbo's heritage, though, it's impossible to detach the car from its World Rally Championship exploits.

With exemplary drivers like Ari Vatanen, Carlos Sainz, Richard Burns and the 'if in doubt, flat out' maestro Colin McRae at the wheel, the Impreza would not only go on to become one of the 1990's definitive racing cars, but would go on to captivate an entire generation of racing enthusiasts. The BRAT we featured in an earlier article may have fostered a following, but the Impreza Turbo turned Subaru into a household name across the world. Make no mistake, this brilliant Boxer-powered car is a landmark vehicle.


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