IWOC Listserver Classics - Members Reviews of the Impreza P1

The P1 has had a varied success during its release. Members have had test drives and eventually gone on to become owners.

Subject: [iwoc] P1 - renewed impressions from a New Age GX perspective
From: Steven Breen
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 23:54:02 +0100

They always say that to re appreciate what you have, drive a lower spec. machine for a while. So after just three days of driving a New Age Impreza GX (normally aspirated 2 litre), I went for a drive in my P1. I had not realised how "adapted" I had become to the GX. So instead of a straight review of the GX, I have combined it with my renewed thoughts of the P1. By the way throughout NA=New Age.

I open the door...blimey its big and heavy! The bucket seats wrap around quite snuggly. Shut the door...yes it really is big in comparison to a 4/5 door car. Turn the key, the starter motor stirs the Boxer into life. Something they have to improve on the NA cars is the starter motor. For the last three days I had been thinking I was starting a diesel! This was much better....but what's that? I can hear the engine! Looking around the dashboard looks a bit naff. The instrument console a bit boring. When I first saw the NA console and instruments I thought they looked odd. Now the MY00 instruments look old fashioned in comparison.

Anyway lets drive the thing. I PRESS down the clutch pedal. Blimey its stiff! Into first gear...gosh that went in a bit quick and its very positive, no slop at all. Release the hand brake and carefully release the clutch pedal...that biting point is miles different and the stiffness doesn't help either. The car starts to move forward and I turn the wheel. Hey the tires must be flat? Is this thing power assisted? It was a real shock I can tell you how heavy the steering felt. The GX shares the same light steering as all of the NA models but its amazing how you become accustomed to it.

So into the back streets of Baldock, and I come almost head to head with an oncoming car...apPLY the brakes. mmm although we have Prodrive/Alcons up front their initial bite compared to the NA bigger servo needs some adjusting too. At least my braking leg will get as much workout as my clutch leg! I wonder how easy it will be to control the NA brakes in bad conditions of ice and snow?

Even now the noise level was a lot louder. In fact we are talking quite a crude level of sound deadening. What is really surprising is that the GX I have been driving is a 5 door and it is far far quieter than any old style Impreza. Ouch, just gone over a pot hole. Sorry not a pot hole it was only a crack in the road. This suspension is hard. I had expected this but it was in fact miles harder than what I had remembered.

I was surprised how much low down torque we had. You would imagine the 2 litre normally aspirated to have the edge in the low rpm stakes but the P1 engine is sooo smooth and pulls from almost nothing. I could get used to this ;-) Out on the open road I kept having to glance down to keep it under reigns. That gear lever shift is very slick and takes some getting used to as it is so short. It is almost as if you have changed before you have mentally taken note and hand/arm wants to keep going.

That hard suspension comes into its own as we approach and navigate the first roundabout. Hehehehe smiles all around. Into the countryside and a bit of country lane fun. Although the GX is more "comfortable" it was also a lazier ride. You drove it and enjoyed the scenery, whilst the P1 sucked it in and spat it out. The bouncy 15 in alloys do not help and I am amazed to think my Catalunya and pre 98 Turbos came with similar. It is a lot better than the 14in fitted to the TS mind! You can tell almost exactly what's going on at the tire/road interface. Heck..ouch...you can also FEEL what's going on! ;-)

The view up front is strange too. After a couple of days of looking at a New Age bonnet the post facelift flat bonnet looks positively boring and er...flat! I do not miss the rear view mirror full of head rests though.

Would I buy one? Coming from the GX its interesting as everything is quite crude, lean and raw. Power is something else and mind blowing really. I could imagine the brakes putting someone off as their initial impression is "what brakes?" The steering too could be a bit intimidating being so heavy along with the clutch. No a GX owner would probably say no thanks, I'll wait for the STi8.

Would a P1 owner buy a GX as a second car? Interesting. For me I would have to do something about the ride and then maybe. I'm also left wondering if you can retrofit the NA brake servo to the P1?



Subject: [iwoc] P1 Driving Report
From: Keith Hawkins
Date: Fri, 07 Apr 2000 08:58:32 +0100

Jonathan Rigby and myself had a test drive of a P1 yesterday and he should have posted his thoughts by now, this post contains mine. I have not read Jonathan's post before writing and posting this so that I can avoid being influenced by Jonathan's comments. I wrote this last night whilst things were still fresh in my head.

1) Looks

Oh yes!!!, but then I do like Sonic Blue. :-)
I prefer the slightly tinted rear windows of the P1 to that of the very dark tint of the STi Type R.
Very nice alloys.
The driving lights look good. I consider them a neat solution.

The seat material appears to be the same as the STi Version VI LIMITED pure sports wagon but with a Prodrive logo on each of the front seats rather than the Subaru logo. i.e. standard STi trimming but blue flashes rather than red.

The rear spoiler is nice, not so sure about the allen screws though; might come across some low-life that decides he wants the rear gurney as a souvenir. I also hope that rear P1 badge and the side Prodrive badges are firmly fixed.

There was a SUBARU blanking plate over the radio slot so hopefully they all come with that and you don't have to rush out and buy some ICE straight away.


2) Driving

First I have to say that I am not one for jumping straight in a car, giving it a blast, and then giving a considered opinion. I tend to sit back and reflect afterwards, so driving back home {via the scenic route :-) } after the test drive I was able to think about the relative differences between the P1, my Terzo, a MY99 UK Turbo, and an STi V Type R that I drove last year.

The P1 is definitely quick. This was even with 3 of us in the car, and those of you who know Jonathan and myself will know that we are no featherweights (Hope that's OK Jonathan). I'm definitely of the heavyweight variety.

The P1 also felt very smooth.

The steering of the P1 felt quicker than that of my Terzo and I have to say that any more may well have made the car a bit too twitchy but I haven't driven a Scooby with the 13:1 rack so it is just a feeling. The supplied rack was perfectly OK, after all we don't hear the STi peeps complaining about their racks, do we?

The quickshift was very good and the gearshift snicked into place very nicely.

I did commit the sin of letting the revs drop a fraction, one or twice, and expecting it to pick up quickly. Too used to a standard UK car. :-(

The P1 suspension felt very composed and coped very well with the bumps we encountered. There was only one bump that jarred the car and I think most cars would have had a problem with THAT particular bump.

The roads on which we did our 'spirited' driving were your typically country road and so they were no billiard table surfaces.

The cabin was quiet and the engine and exhaust were not intrusive, in fact it may even have been quieter than my Terzo.

The Prodrive brake upgrade package was fitted to the car and they were good. As for the standard 4 pots, well I didn't have a problem with them on the MY99 UK Turbo and STi V Type R that I have tested, and the STi peeps only seem to complain about them on trackdays, so they should be up to the job.



I was very impressed and I do not think owners of a P1 will be disappointed.

OK. Time to go and read what Jonathan has posted.


Subject: [iwoc] P1 Driven
From: "Jonathan Rigby"
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 18:48:34 +0100

Keith Hawkins and myself have just come back from having a nice long drive of a well run in P1 down some A & B roads.

The following is my thoughts, I know Keith will put his on list tomorrow.

The car looked better in the flesh outside, than at the Motorshow. The carbon fibre on the rear wing is a nice touch IMHO. Keith had a go first whilst I sat in the back. We had both trudled up to see the car in our std UK cars, so three up was going to be an interesting challange for the P1 to handle. (Keith and Myself will not be challenging the Jockeys at Aintree for a ride)

We certainly drove on some challenging roads with crests and dip. My old STI V would certainly not have been able to travel at the speeds Keith was over them. The ride IMHO was more compliant than even my MY00. The acceleration with all three of us in there was as good as an STI (but that was to be expected). Keiths grin at the end said it all.

My turn to have a go. The Steering was certainly sharper than my MY00 and obviously the same as a std STI. I still can't get over how easy it was to drive quickly over rough surfaces. Overtaking could be attempted where I couldn't in my present Scooby and it felt a touch quicker than my old RB5 WR. The handling is certainly the best Ive experienced for ride, turn in and grip. Not sure I had any understeer. Autocar must have been driving at speed well in excess of sanity. I would of liked a touch more feel through the steering wheel, but I not sure you can have everything. I'm sure others on the list will not like the handling, but for me its perfect.

For me the P1 is perfect. Needing to haul clients and vendors around on 2-400 mile round trips. I would trade in being the quickest on the track against a Leda equiped STI for the comfort there and back (although I'm not sure it will be far behind). On A & B roads there cant be anything faster. The Turbo lag didn't seem as bad as I remember on my old STI V ( but that must be me) and gearchanges at high revs were a lot smoother than the MY00 (MY00 seems jerky). It was equally as quiet in the cabin as the MY00, something the STI never seemed to be.

With people on the list waiting for their P1. Its worth the wait and Money.


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Page last updated 2nd July 2001

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