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2002 Subaru Impreza WRX: The WRX Effect: Turbo, limited-slip, awd make this Subaru a super hero

Time:2018-02-12 07:44Turbochargers information Click:

tur Subaru 2002 effect Impreza



Turbo power

Solid chassis

Tons of grip


Thin paint

Brakes fade

Wants more gears


IN THE GLOVEBOX OF EVERY SUBARU WRX sold in America is an application for a free membership in the Sports Car Club of America. In any other compact four-door passenger sedan or wagon, that might be pretentious marketing overreach. In the WRX it fits like a glove. Of the 4399 WRX wagons and sedans sold from the car's March 17 launch through the end of May, more than 1000 owners have joined the SCCA. Rallying never had it so good in America.

Nor have drivers looking for a fun car that doesn't cost as much as a house and still carries some practicality. That's the WRX. In strictly marketing terms, the WRX is Turbo/201205/21/2718.html">Subaru's tie-in with its World Rally and its SCCA Pro Rally cars. In engineering terms, the WRX is an Impreza with a turbo and some bodywork. In driving terms, the WRX is just a whole lot of fun.

The engine redlines at 7000 rpm but the tach, perhaps too proud to admit its limits, continues on up to the heady 9000 rpm. The liquid-cooled flat four has an aluminum alloy block and heads surrounding 1994 cubic centimeters of displacement. The belt-driven dual-overhead cams operate four valves per cylinder. And that hood scoop actually scoops air, for the intercooler. It's a relatively inexpensive and very efficient unit.



0-30 mph: 1.70 sec

0-40 mph: 2.95 sec

0-50 mph: 4.35 sec

0-60 mph: 5.82 sec

0-100 km/h (62.1 mph): 6.15 sec

0-80 mph: 10.03 sec

0-quarter-mile: 93.6 mph, 14.40 sec


20-40 mph (second gear): 3.1 sec

40-60 mph (second gear): 2.9 sec

60-80 mph(third gear): 4.2 sec


80 mph-0: 217 ft

60 mph-0: 122 ft

30 mph-0: 31 ft


EPA combined: 23.15 mpg

AW overall: 21.38 mpg


490-foot slalom: 46.0 mph

Lateral acceleration

(200-foot skidpad): 0.83 g


Idle: 50

Full throttle: 75

Steady 60 mph: 66


0-60 mph: 5.7 sec (R&T)

SS-quarter-mile: 14.40 sec (AW)

60 mph-0: 122 ft (AW)

Skidpad: 0.83 g (AW)


The engine produces 227 peak horsepower at 6000 rpm, but, as with many turbos, you pay the price for the extra top end with a little bit of turbo lag at the low end. All this in a car that weighs just 3085 pounds with the five-speed manual, a mere 80 pounds more than the stock Impreza.

As you might expect, that made for fast times at the test track. Zero to 60 mph came up in 5.82 seconds. When you look down the list of cars we've tested to see where that fits in, it gives you an idea of just how quick the WRX is: The Porsche Boxster S got 5.74 seconds, the Audi S4 got 5.62 seconds and the Honda S2000 got 5.75 seconds. Granted, the WRX is not as nicely integrated as those much more expensive cars, nor does it carry their cachet, but it can run with them when the light turns green.

It is slightly less impressive when the light turns red, though. Four-wheel disc brakes with twin-piston calipers clamping 11.4-inch front rotors haul it down from 60 mph to zero in 122 feet. Most of the cars we just mentioned do better by about 10 or 15 feet. And the WRX took more space to stop when the brakes were hot, as much as 32 feet longer on one run.

Given the car's Impreza roots, we half-expected the WRX to plow around the slalom cones like a tractor, but it excelled as much there as it had at the drag strip. Its speed of 46.0 mph through our 490-foot, eight-gate slalom was exactly the same as the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and the Boxster S, and better than the S4 by more than a mile an hour. That we hadn't expected. True, some credit has to be given to the optional 17-inch aluminum BBS wheels and the Bridgestone Potenza RE011 P215/45R tires on our test car. But the standard tires are 205/55R-16 Potenza RE92s, which aren't so far off the tires we had and with which you can avoid the $3,035 price of the RE011s. Credit also the WRX's limited-slip differential, which takes the normally open rear differential and routes torque to both rear wheels. Indeed, with all-wheel drive and the limited-slip, we heard almost no squealing tires at all during the day's testing.

If only there was a winter ice course at the California Speedway.

But there wasn't. All we had at the end of the day was a choice of two routes home, Interstate 10 through the slow freeway death that is suburban Los Angeles in rush hour, or over the wonderfully squiggly Angeles Crest Highway, 65 miles of unpopulated dips and whoop-de-dos between Wrightwood and La Canada. Given the sporty potential of the WRX, we chose the latter. It didn't disappoint.



Unibody four-door sedan


Wheelbase (in): 99.4

Length/width (in): 173.4

Curb weight (lbs): 3085


Front:Independent, coil springs, struts, antiroll bar

Rear:Independent, coil springs, struts, antiroll bar


F/R:Ventilated discs/discs, ABS


Alloy P215/45R-17

Bridgestone Potenza RE011


Fuel (gal): 15.9

Cargo (cu ft): 11.0


Front-longitudinal, horizontally opposed, turbocharged intercooled

2.0-liter/122-cid four-cylinder

Horsepower: 227 @ 6000 rpm

Torque (lb-ft): 217 @ 4000 rpm

Compression ratio: 8.0:1

Valvetrain: dohc

Fuel delivery: Sequential multiport fuel injection

Fuel requirement: 91 octane


All-wheel drive

Transmission: Five-speed manual

Final drive ratio: 3.900:1


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