Remember, the WRX didn't arrive in the US until 2001.
Since 2001, if you wanted a rally-inspired street-legal AWD compact sedan, the Subaru WRX has been the way to go. Of course, we don't want to neglect to mention the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo which, sadly, is no longer in production. But it's because of this the WRX and WRX STI have now become their own unique breed of performance cars. An all-new generation for both isn't too far away and it's very possible each will adapt hybridization to some degree. Looking back, however, there was a time when the WRX was not sold in the US; it was overseas-only.
Although US buyers were well aware of that unfortunate reality, they still had another performance-influenced option from Subaru available, the Impreza 2.5RS. Unlike today's WRX twins, the 2.5RS was a coupe.
Subaru wanted to test the waters in the US for the turbocharged WRX in the late 1990s and did so by showcasing a test model of sorts, dubbed the 2.5RX, at car shows across the nation. It then decided to sell a non-turbo version, the 2.5RS, beginning in 1998. It came powered by a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter flat-four with a respectable 165 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque. That power was routed to all four wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox.
To further emphasize its improved performance, Subaru gave it some visual styling cues directly from the WRX, including hood vents and hood scoop, and a rally-like rear spoiler. Subaru updated the engine slightly in 1999 which resulted in a bit more torque. A front bumper with the JDM-spec WRX's fog lights was added.
Silver wheels instead of gold also became standard and the interior received a general upgrade. It wasn't until 2000 when the sedan version went on sale. The 2.5RS is still a blast to drive and how often do you come across an old Impreza coupe? Today is that day.
Up for sale on Cars and Bids is this 1999 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS Coupe, finished in Silverthorn Metallic with a charcoal cloth interior. Its exterior paint shows some wear tear, as does the interior. The good news is that it's accident-free and has been regularly serviced. The only modifications made include the addition of an aftermarket sound system and amplifiers. As of this writing, the highest bid is $3,100 but the auction won't end until next Monday.