Steering Column 08.08.08
Scooby on steroids
FANS of high-performance Subarus, and there are a lot of them in Shetland, will be impressed with the fact there are now three versions of the Impreza WRX hatchback available to buy, with a fire-breathing top of the range version waiting in the wings to see if there’s enough interest in it.
The new-shape of the four-wheel-drive pocket-rocket hasn’t won many fans, but you can’t quibble with the performance on offer at the top end of the range.
The “base” model WRX has been built on to make the WRX-S. It gets £4,500 worth of extras for a £2500 premium, the most important of which is the power boost from 228bhp to 250bhp. This is mainly done by reprogramming the engine control unit and modifying the exhaust. It will clip through the 0-62mph sprint in 5.5 seconds and sells for £22,495.
If all that sounds a bit boring and staid, there is therapy available for you. Alternatively you could dig out another £7,500 and get yourself a new-version WRX STI. It has a 328bhp flat four engine burbling at the world through massive twin stainless steel exhaust pipes. A huge torque boost over the old STI, and all that extra power means it’ll whip through the 0-62mph timing lights in 4.4 seconds.
And finally to the king of the heap which Subaru is waiting to see if there’s any interest in before it proceeds with production. Revealed at the London International Motor Show has been a 378bhp verson known as the WRX STI 380S.
Although it is officially a one-off concept car, the company is saying it could be in showrooms within six months if there’s enough interest from potential buyers. If that does happen, each car will be hand built to order with a complete engine rebuild by those performance wizards at Prodrive and a rake of uprated components. Performance figures are yet to be released.
Early views of even the new 330 are reassuringly attractive. The wheelarches are much more bulgy than even on the WRX-S and with its air-dams, skirts and big air scoop on the bonnet, it actually looks like a proper performance car . . . thank the Lord.
Darling diddy diesel
Back here where everyday economy driving is perhaps more important, it’s interesting to see Toyota adding a new, small diesel engine option to its popular Auris TR hatchback range.
Described by the company as lightweight, smooth and highly efficient, the 1.4-litre D-4D engine slips in under the existing two-litre diesel option and alongside the petrol options of a 1.4 or 1.6 VVT-i. Toyota says its new 1.4 diesel offers great fuel economy and low emissions.
You get a very useful 89bhp and 190Nm of torque fed through either a five-speed manual gearbox or a MultiMode automatic transmission. It’s no racing car, taking 12 seconds to reach 62mph from a stand still, but it will turn in an average 56.5mpg fuel economy and it coughs out only 132g/km of carbon dioxide.
Prices for the Auris with the 1.4 diesel engine begin at £14,145 for a three-door model with a manual gearbox, and rise to £15,195 for a five-door with the MultiMode auto box. They are available now.