Sporty WRX 265 added to the Subaru Impreza lineup

(Sep 24, 2009) - If one were to use baseball slang to describe Subaru's new 2009 Impreza WRX 265, it might be called a 'tweener.' In baseball, that's a hit that falls between the outfielders.

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(Sep 24, 2009)

If one were to use baseball slang to describe Subaru's new 2009 Impreza WRX 265, it might be called a 'tweener.' In baseball, that's a hit that falls between the outfielders.

Similarly, the WRX265 might be called a 'tweener', in that it sits smack dab between the base WRX and the top-of-the-line WRX STi.

It is one of seven variations of the Impreza on the market, and of course all come with Subaru's trademarks – symmetrical full-time all-wheel drive and Subaru's Boxer engine. The 265 is a step up from the base WRX in that it gets 265 hp from its powerful turbo engine and rally-style performance for the driving enthusiast.

Both Impreza WRX models are available in four- and five-door configurations, but the WRX265 is a huge step up in performance thanks to a variety of features, including:

* A turbocharged and intercooled engine that produces 265 hp and 244 lb/ft of torque;

* A new power tilting and sliding glass sunroom;

* Performance-tuned suspension;

* 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with summer performance tires;

* Tilting/telescoping steering wheel with integrated audio and cruise-control switches and

* Gun metal aluminum-alloy sport pedals.

According to Subaru, the WRX265 came to market because of customer demand and to bridge the power (and price) gap between the base WRX and the high-performance WRX STi model.

Even at the entry level, though, the WRX has a lot to offer. Priced at $30,995 ($2,000 less than last year), it comes with Subaru's 2.5-litre DOHC, 16-valve, four-cylinder Boxer engine, turbocharged and intercooled and offering 224 hp at 5,200 rpm and 226 lb/ft of torque.

This is a fine engine that has twice been named International Engine of the Year in the 2.0-litre to 2.5-litre category, including in 2008.

The 265 edition comes with the same engine, but with a high-pressure turbocharger and intercooler to develop the extra power. Both editions come only with a five-speed manual transmission as no automatic transmission is offered on Impreza WRX models for 2009.

Meanwhile, the flagship of the WRX lineup, the 305 hp STi comes only in the five-door body style for 2009 with a six-speed manual transmission and power to spare with 300 hp. It features gun metal-coloured alloy wheels and is priced from $39,995. The STi with Sport Tech Package (moonroof, BBS wheels, navigation system and Bluetooth) has a price tag of $45,995.

Our tester was a 265 in five-door trim. With its big air intake opening on the hood, it has the looks of a performance car before you even start the engine. The WRX265 is no Plain Jane and it's particularly striking in the Lightning Red paint that adorned the test car.

The interior is plain, yet comfortable and well thought out. The rally sport seats are firm and supportive and yes, heated in winter.

They have black cloth upholstery with red stitching and the WRX logo on the seatbacks.

The tilt-telescopic steering wheel has audio and cruise controls, while a three-gauge pod sits front and centre. The audio system is an AM/FM/6CD/MP3/WMA player with four upgraded speakers and vehicle speed sensitive volume. Sirius satellite radio is installed and a three-month trial subscription is included.

Titanium-style accents add a touch of colour to the interior, while at night you get blue ambient lighting in the cabin. The sporty 265 model also has an aerodynamic body colour side ground effects and roof-line rear spoiler with integrated brake lights.

For a performance-oriented car, the WRX265 is much more than just a pocket rocket. It's a car you can live with on a daily basis, but with the power under the hood if you want to use it.

Tromp the accelerator and the turbocharged boxer engine kicks into action mode and puts you back in your seat in no time. There is little turbo lag, but you do get some turbo whine when you accelerate quickly. Thanks to the symmetrical full-time all-wheel drive, the power is split 50/50 between the front and rear axles so all four wheels stay firmly planted on the ground without the torque steer you get in high-powered front-wheel drive compacts. A vehicle dynamics control system and traction control also help keep you on the straight and narrow.

The Dunlop sport high-performance summer tires help grip the road on the hard cornering, while stiffer springs and upper strut mounts, straight out of the rally-inspired STi, also help in the handling department.

When it's time to stop, the large four-wheel discs with ABS do the trick.

So, the 265 is just another example of Subaru doing what it does best– building several variations of the same basic car to satisfy the needs of all buyers.

The 265 fills out the WRX line and adds a 'tweener' model that has more power than the base WRX, but is significantly cheaper than the top-line STi.

It's the best of both worlds.



WRX265 2009

BODY STYLE: five-door hatchback

DRIVE METHOD: front engine,

all-wheel drive

ENGINE: 2.5-litre DOHC horizontally-opposed 16-value, turbocharged four cylinder (265 hp, 244 lb/ft)

FUEL ECONOMY: 11.1L/100 km (25 mpg) city, 8.0L/100 km (35 mpg) highway.

PRICE: $33,995


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