2006-07 Subaru Impreza WRX: Future classic

By: Joe Kenwright

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2006-07 Subaru Impreza WRX Club Spec 9 Sedan

2006-07 Subaru Impreza WRX: Future classic
Future classic: Subaru Impreza WRX

 

2006-07 Subaru Impreza WRX

The three different fronts on the second generation Subaru Impreza were a subject of intense debate at the time. The ground has shifted. More than a few Subaru fans are wondering if it was no bad thing to have three Impreza fronts that elicited such emotion. If this thinking becomes more mainstream, the 300 WRX Club Spec 9 limited editions, launched in 2006, might become sought-after.

If nothing else, the second generation Imprezas were all easily recognisable as Subarus. Both sedan and hatch had a standalone presence, something that can’t be said for the models that followed. Each look soon generated a shorthand description. The first is the ‘bug eye’, followed by the ‘peanut eye’ and the final version, the ‘pig nose’.

The bug eye (2000-2002) was seen as too soft for a WRX. Because the peanut eye (2002-2005) marked a return to the attitude that WRX fans expected, the money was on that front as the long-term keeper – but that’s now changed.

Former Alfa Romeo designer, Andreas Zapatinas, allegedly drew on Fuji Heavy Industrie’s aviation heritage to make the pig nose’s front grille look like a plane heading your way. As Subaru’s new corporate look, it was ditched in a hurry. Zapatinas has since been distanced from this design phase.

The new look might have hit the Tribeca SUV with an ugly stick but the fighter plane grille profile had a right to be there on the ballistic WRX. Today’s wilder frontal designs from rivals confirm it was ahead of its time. Combined with a deeper front spoiler and bonnet scoop, it worked at WRX level.

There is another reason to consider a pig-nose WRX. Its engine grew from 2.0 to 2.5 litres, lifting outputs to 169kW/320Nm. Though just one kilowatt and 20Nm more, as the second generation WRX gained 100kg, the 2.5’s easier going nature was a plus at lower revs, though at the expense of high-rpm performance. That said, minor tweaks to the hugely understressed engine will correct that for a desirable all-paw, all-weather fun machine.

And that’s where the Club Spec 9 comes in. The good gear is all there, waiting. In just two colours, blue or black, it brought smart new 18-inch alloys with 215/45 tyres, STI suspension which lowered it by 15mm for better handling but a sharper ride, STI front spoiler extension, STI short shifter and pedals, leather trim, electric sunroof and CS9 badging.

Be warned. Justifying one as a back-up family tourer will only get you into trouble. For that role, it needed more compliant suspension, a six-speed manual and extra sound deadening. No, it was meant for a driver committed to being part of the action. And sitting in the garage, it is almost eye-candy compared to later models. All in all, just over $20,000 is not a bad deal for a milestone this new.

 

*****

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