Jordan Hillis' Subaru Impreza WRX STi (2011) (MKIV)
Pride. It's something we all have in ourselves, something we do or something we own. In the case of this review, the feeling of pride encompasses all of the above. Taking one perfectly stock 2011 Subaru Impreza - which has enough performance capability right out of the box - and transforming it into a track-ready weapon is enough to instill pride in yourself for creating such a thing, pride in the process of turning it from ordinary to extraordinary and pride in the car itself, for becoming the end manifestation of time, effort and dollars well spent.
Honestly?The first thing you'll notice? Where is the blue colour that Subaru's are so famous for? Surely this can't be right. Well you'd be wrong, because this shade of orange - aptly titled "Tangerine" is available for WRX buyers! You might have to ask about it though, as not a lot of dealers will expect you to want one that isn't blue or red...or even black. Then there's the way the car looks just sitting still. It's low, poised and sporting all manner of subtle hints that this car will tear your face off and suck your eyeballs into the back of your head as it thunders around the track, bellowing its mighty boxer burbling challenge to all comers!
Engine & Transmission:
A lot of this car's beating heart has been left unaltered, and to me that's a good thing. While others might say it needs more oomph to be competitive, I can easily falsify all those remarks as we blast around the Top Gear circuit. The force of the car can be felt everywhere. When Jordan puts his foot down, the turbo spools up with a hiss that is comparable to a pissed off Rattlesnake ready to inject you with a toxin that makes it feel like you're being sucked back into your seat. Of course, the sensation is very real as the power delivery is near instant. An uprated air filter and exhaust system let the car breathe freely (all the while amplifying the car's monstrous sound), while a newly installed oil and cooling system make sure everything is kept running in optimal condition. The transmission has been largely unaltered, aside from gear ratios being adjusted, a new 2-way differential installed and an ultra light triple clutch plate and carbon drive shaft to reduce weight where not needed.
Chassis & Wheels:
Here's where it gets interesting. This car is able to look like it's hurtling along without even moving. Adjustable shock absorbers help the car sit low and keep everything planted as we rocket through the turns. There is minimal understeer thanks to camber and toe being readily adjusted prior to us going out on track. Jordan opted for a stiff setup which would prove a bit of a downside on a country lane, but out on the track it's a godsend. We could feel every little bump in the seemingly smooth tarmac, even ones that we thought didn't exist. The whole body of the car has been strengthened to counter excessive roll and at each corner, the car sports a lightweight set of 18" Advan RGII wheels wrapped in sticky Michelin tyres. To ensure he can stop on a dime, a HUGE set of Brembo discs and calipers hide behind each wheel.
Much of the car's appearance has been left untouched. The rear boot spoiler has been left on to provide some usable downforce while the car is out on track and to keep that rear end stable while going through high speed turns. As previously mentioned, the mainstream blue and gold colour combination has been ditched in favour of a more exuberant, yet somewhat intimidating Tangerine coupled with glossy black rims. The car sports a tow hook on the rear bumper and a rather fetching numberplate which reads "TRACK ME". We had to get him a temporary GB plate for this shoot, as there was a traffic cop just itching to pull him over if he didn't change the Virginia one over...something about ANPR cameras not being able to recognise it. All in all though, this Impreza is a well-oiled machine that can throw down some seriously quick times and Jordan can only be swelling with pride as the last thing we hear departing the track is the roar of this orange beast just waiting for its next challenge.
'Mike Seddon is an avid follower of the car culture and has been present for both the Colorado and Southern Europe Festivals. He also goes trackside whenever possible and - armed with his trusty camera - strives to capture the best moments and cars from every event he attends'.