Subaru’s latest special edition Impreza Turbo - the ‘RB5' - is to benefit from the magic of Prodrive power in the form of an optional 250 PS Performance Package.
It means ‘RB5' owners have the choice of two models - one based on the 218 PS Impreza Turbo AWD saloon and the other fitted with Prodrive’s newly developed performance enhancements, specifically engineered for the latest Turbo which itself gained a power boost for ‘99.
Only 444 Prodrive prepared Impreza Turbo ‘RB5 models will be produced, named after Subaru’s new World Rally Championship driver, Richard Burns, who competes under the Number Five.
The ‘RB5' is the fourth special edition Turbo, following on from the ‘Terzo’ of ‘98, ‘Catalunya’ from ‘97 and ‘Series McRae’ launched in ‘95. All have been eagerly bought by enthusiasts and are now considered collectors’ items, usually changing hands at a premium.
As is tradition, the ‘RB5' features a special paint scheme - Blue Steel metallic - which also graces the side skirts, mirrors and door handles. Other visual highlights are rally-derived, high-intensity PIAA driving lamps with body-coloured covers featuring the ‘RB5' logo. These replace the Turbo’s ‘dinner plate’ fog lamps.
Also immediately obvious are the new 17 ins diameter Prodrive Speedline six spoke alloy wheels featuring a special titanium-coloured finish and fitted with 205/45 ZR17 Pirelli P-Zero low profile tyres. The latest Turbos normally have 16 ins wheels with 205/50 tyres.
Inside, owners will benefit from a shorter-throw Prodrive ‘quick-shift’ gearchange, standard air-conditioning and seats and doors covered in blue Alcantara suede-effect trim. Other distinguishing features include a special graphite finish for the centre console, a numbered ‘RB5' plaque and bespoke floor mats.
Specifically developed for the ‘99 model year Impreza Turbo, which now produces 218PS at 5,600 rpm in standard form, Prodrive’s engine enhancements boost peak power to 240PS at 6,000 rpm. Even more impressive, however, is the 258 lb ft of torque available at just 3,500 rpm, a 20% improvement over the already-prodigious 214 lb ft at 4,000 rpm. Over 221 lb ft of torque is available from 3,000 rpm to 5,500 rpm, providing startling performance in the all important mid-range for overtaking and real world driving.
The changes are effected through a carefully considered combination of induction, exhaust and engine management modifications. Customers choosing the Prodrive option will also benefit from a more dramatic rear bootlid spoiler with integral high level brake light and special badging.
The Subaru Impreza Turbo ‘RB5' saloon goes on sale in April priced at £24,995 on-the-road, with the Prodrive version costing £27,545 on-the-road. The standard Impreza Turbo is available in both saloon and five door forms at £20,950 and £21,450 on-the-road respectively.
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Page last updated 3rd March 2003
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