Aimed at tackling market rivals the Honda Civic, VW Golf and Mazda 3, the new Impreza introduces 'iconic' Subaru handling and traction to the class, coupled with torquier, more flexible 'boxer' engines and a roomier five-door body.

Subaru's totally new Impreza - 'an icon reborn' - hits showrooms next month, with the new car's emphasis to be shifted initially towards its base models, the 1.5 and 2.0-litre petrols. Aimed at tackling market rivals the Honda Civic, VW Golf and Mazda 3, the new Impreza introduces 'iconic' Subaru handling and traction to the class, coupled with torquier, more flexible 'boxer' engines and a roomier five-door body.

But while the base models may cause the majority of sales interest, enthusiasts will be waiting on the WRX and WRX STi models. Sold on a limited run in November, the 2.5-litre turbocharged 'boxer' engine provides the WRX with a gutsier response for 'real world' performance, producing 230 hp at 5,200 rpm with torque at 236 lb ft, now generated at 2,800 rpm rather than 3,600 rpm. Performance and pricing for the WRX STi model, forming the basis for the Subaru World Rally Championship entry, will be released nearer to its spring 2008 debut.

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