IWOC Listserver Classics - Members Reviews of other marques

Members have tested other cars, and some been very lucky in being at the the right place at the right time...

Subject: [iwoc] Book Review - Subaru Impreza Turbo 1994-2001 Limited Edition Extra
From: Steven Breen
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 23:58:02 +0100

With reference to "Subaru Impreza Turbo 1994-2001 Limited Edition Extra" found on Amazon

It is published by Brooklands Books, costs 12.95, 136 pages, black and white throughout including the covers. The Limited Edition Extra part of the title comes from the fact that this book is actually a limited edition run, printed in smaller quantities due to the restricted market the book will appeal to.

Basically the book is a collection of 32 articles from the motoring press from around the world covering the Subaru Impreza. The material is sourced from Autocar, Autosport, Car, Car and Driver, Car Australia, Car South Africa, Cars and Car Conversions, Motor Sport, NZ Classic Car, Open Road, Performance Car, Top Gear, What Car? and Wheels. It is nothing more than a reprint of those articles into a soft covered A4 book.

The first test dates back to 1993 with the newest being from February 2001 of the STi7 from Autocar. Models covered include the RB5, P1, 22B, various Prodrive upgraded cars, standard turbos (from various different World wide perspective), STi7 and STi4 Type R.

Here's the contents page list of articles...page, article title, magazine and date:-

5 Silent Stormer First Drive - Wheels Dec 1993
8 Subaru Impreza WRX Road Test - Car Australia Mar 1994
14 Subaru Impreza 2000 Turbo Road Test - Autocar Apr 6 1994
18 The Chosen Phew - Performance Car June 1994
22 Pure Genius - Car June 1994
28 Subaru Impreza Turbo 2000 4WD Road Test - Motor Sport July 1994
32 Forest Flier 12,000 Mile Test - Autocar Mar 15 1995
36 Subaru Impreza WRX Specialty File - Car & Driver Dec 1995
38 The Impreza Perfects - Performance Car Feb 1996
44 Subaru Impreza 2.0 GT Road Test - Car SA Feb 1996
48 McRae's Mean Machine Subaru World Rally Car - Autosport Nov 7 1996
54 Subaru's Hyperactive Rally Champ Takes It on the Chin - Car Dec 1997
59 Lie of the Land Five Door Long Term Test - Top Gear Feb 1997
64 Viscous Coupling Subaru Impreza vs. Lancia Intergrale Comparison Test - Motor Sport May 1997
70 Subaru Impreza 2.0 Turbo 4WD 4dr vs.Volvo S40 T4 Comparison Test - What Car? Dec 1997
72 Raw Like Sushi - Subaru Impreza WRX vs. Mitsubishi Evo V Comparison Test - Car May 1998
80 Subaru Impreza WRX Classic Pick - NZ Classic Car Aug 1998
82 Subaru Impreza WR Prodrive Road Test - Autocar Sept 9 1998
84 Wide Rally Clone STI 22B - CCC Oct 1998
89 Cult Friction Subaru Impreza Turbo vs.Audi TT Comparison Test - Car Jan 1999
92 Subaru Impreza Buying Guide - Autocar Apr 21 1999
96 Burning Sensation RB5 Limited Edition - Top Gear June 1999
98 The Impreza Legacy - Subaru Impreza Turbo RB5 vs.Subaru Legacy RSK Comparison Test - Car Aug 1999
102 Subaru Impreza STi 22B Road Test - Open Road Dec 1999
108 Subaru Impreza P1 Road Test - Autocar Apr 5 2000
114 Chasing the Dragon P1 Road Test - CCC July 2000
119 Magnum P1 - Car Oct 2000
120 Subaru Impreza WRX Road Test - Autocar Oct 25 2000
126 Scooby does it WRX Road Test - What Car? Jan 2001
128 Impreza bit of Kit WRX - CCC Jan 2001
132 Subaru Impreza WRX STi - Car Jan 2001
134 STi of the Storm - Autocar Feb 14 2001

Its a shame that it is only black and white, and that there are no articles from EVO as this would then have made the book the definative collection of articles (from the UK perspective) anywhere. True if your magazine collection is quite extensive, as mine is, you will have a fair number of these but to have them all in one book is a great bonus. It also misses out on the Autocar SCOOP! features which are always good for a laugh.

We do though, get to see a shot of Mike Wood circa Feb 1996. ;-)

Whether its worth the 12.95 for what ammounts to basically a published set of photocopies is down to whether you are sad like me and like reading old articles. The Australian, US, NZ and SA viewpoint of our cars plus the historical reading in the period I (and the rest of the world) was not aware of the Scooby is worth the price of the book IMHO.



Subject: [iwoc] Noble M12 GTO review and P1 comparison
From: "Cameron Leask"
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 21:03:42 +0100

I had the privilege of turning up at Knockhill on Friday afternoon in my P1 to take the Noble M12GTO for a test drive. I thought it might be worth posting my thoughts here (it's a long email, so you might want to grab a coffee before you start ;)

(For those of you not familiar with this car, see http://www.noblecars.com)

John Stewart also managed to get a drive in the Noble this weekend, so I've taken his comments and augmented them with my own thoughts.

JS: The Noble was quite an awesome experience! Think of wheelspin at part
throttle on stick S-03 tyres (yes S-03, not S-02s!) at 60mph in a straight
line in 3rd gear as you gently squeeze the throttle and the turbos spin up.

I had a couple of short drives in the car and sadly, no real opportunity to "max" it out. However it is clearly capable of what John describes - although the car felt utterly planted throughout my drive and I found no suggestion that the car even felt like it would break away. The S03s looked like the mutt's nuts and certainly seemed very sticky. Apparently they were "on loan" from Bridgestone... not sure how that works with tyres, I'm not quite sure how much of them would be left after the hard work of this weekend!

JS: Steering is very direct and responsive. Feels like it accelerates from 90-120mph, like my car does from 40-70!

Understatement of the century. The steering is very, very, fast - and consequently very direct when combined with the grip the car develops. This is a positive attribute IMHO although some journalists seem to have objected to the steering feel. It makes cornering *very* easy although I must admit that on tighter hairpins you would need to prepare to take the racing line (outside on entry-apex-outside on exit) because the turning circle is appaling. This could be tricky in some public highway situations I suppose.

Even turning out of a road junction with (roughly!) 60% angle (rather than your normal 90%) was awkward and involved a bit of action on the other side of the road. Again, car felt planted through corners and over bumps at all times. I'm sure, though, that with a suitable amount of power applied from 2nd gear when cornering, the back end could be brought out. Very Quickly. Might need to hire an airfield to learn how to do it properly if you were to buy one!

JS: 0-100mph in under 10 seconds apparently, and 0-60 in under 4, and as fast as a 911 GT2.

yep, there is no doubt as to its speeding ability. Interesting comparison: "old" touring cars (ie last year) were doing knockhill in roughly 56 secs. A warm (not hot) lap round knockhill by the dealer on Friday was (unofficially) timed at 61secs. Compare the stripped-out racer with road-legal "supercar"!

Stopping ability was also good - I'd rate it on a par with my Prodrive/Alcon brake setup on the P1. This should perhaps not be too surprising since the Noble-branded calipers on the M12 also bear the "Alcon" name! Drilled/vented discs front and rear (not grooved like the Prodrive versions for subarus...)

JS: Very good build quality (compared to TVR, Lotus and other cars about the same price), and superb value for money, even if it is 45k!

Finishing wasn't quite up to the TVR leather-and-chrome standard IMHO but certainly the car was well made. The car has 4-point harnesses *and* standard seatbelts (nice touch I thought) and the only rattle I can recall was the unbuckled harness straps while I was driving with the seatbelt on.

The worst aspect of this particular car was the fact that it has now done in the region of 32,000 miles - journalists on tracks mainly - and as a result the gearbox (specifically the gate) was completely shagged. I found this made it difficult to change gear quickly (Car magazine reported this problem too iirc). But with a clean gearbox I am certain the 'box will be a delight - the throw is *very* short - much shorter than the P1, for example - and when you got the shift right, it was very, very sweet. Also a very satisfying "thunk" when selecting 1st before moving off!

In comparison to the Delfino Feroce I drove last year (which was in a similar pre-production "only example" phase at the time) it was *much* better finished. No contest! (But in fairness the Noble is on the point of production now, the Delfino was, at that time, still very much in development.)

I gather the production model Nobles will have air-con and the exhausts will exit in the centre at the rear of the car. It needs the aircon (was getting warm in there!) and the central exits should be a cosmetic improvement too imho.

JS: Huge amount of road presence. People will literally pull right over as soon as they see you coming in the mirror, just so they can see you pass (in a blur).

oooooh yes. And you can sense the road presence from inside the Noble!

JS: Sounds good as well, for a F**d derived engine.

hehe - a resounding yes. There was a real "racer roar" when the power was applied... the V6 howl, the induction noises, lovely :)

I too loved the stereo effect of both blow-off valves venting at slightly different times

There was something very endearing about this. Almost cute in fact! When lifting off, the twin turbos make *3* vents, in stereo, right-left-right (iirc). So under power the car sounds like raaaarrrrrrrrr tsch-tsch-tsch raaaaaarrrrrrrrr tsch-tsch-tsch.... etc

This was a very different noise to the sort of thing you hear on rally cars - and the overall sound effect, in full stereo, was sublime!

I actually had two short test-drives (rather than one long one :( ) and during the "gap" I went for a brief drive in the P1, just to compare. The comparison was a very interesting one, although it probably gives the results you might expect...

The P1 felt a little slower off the mark (no surprise there, 4.6 secs 0-60 plays 4.0 secs) and once underway, throttle response was noticeably slower (the Noble's torque seemed to make it less necessary to change down when overtaking for example). This is the story of the bhp per tonne numbers I imagine!

On bumpy tarmac (stretch between Knockhill and Powmill if you know it) the P1 seemed -gasp- to wallow over the bumps -gasp- where the Noble took a much more direct approach. You could feel the bumps in the Noble - the ride wasn't harsh but the car was telling you it was going over them - whereas in the P1 the car was telling you that it was smoothing them out for you. Comprendez?! (btw, despite being very low, the Noble didn't ground out or chin the front spoiler during my drives)

(Subjectively it was the Noble that felt more composed at speed. This is probably due to the spoilers and the flat undertray, as well as the suspension setups.)

In the corners, the P1 can be thrown in, and then with early throttle, power through and out, you move on to the next one. The comparison to the Noble shows up the natural tendency of the Impreza to understeer... Yes, in comparison with the Noble, even the mighty P1 feels like it's going straight on for a moment or two. Again the difference is probably one of communication - you tell the P1 to corner and you can see the effect and vary your steering input accordingly. The P1 just goes where you tell it to. You "aim" the P1 and it goes. Tell the Noble to corner, however, and there is an immensely satisfying sensation of grip provided through your seat and the steering wheel, all the way through the bend. As a result you feel like you are working WITH the Noble, rather than having it work FOR you.

In terms of practicality the P1 is clearly the sensible choice. But the Noble does at least come with Noble-branded luggage - two suit carriers (behind the seat backs), and four packs (two behind the headrests and two strapped to the floor under your knees). Unlike (eg) the Elise there is no attempt to provide a boot, but hey!, who cares...?

The conclusion...? Well, bearing in mind that I was limited to about 30 miles' worth of driving...

It's a 45k toy. A big noisy shiny fast toy. You can use a P1 as an everyday car, take it to the office, park it on the street, sling your junk in the boot, etc. The Noble is a different beast entirely and although it would work fine through the town (the clutch is very well balanced) I doubt that you would feel comfortable leaving it in the multi-storey car park, and I suspect you'll need a double garage to squeeze it into when you get home (it's very wide!). It's the sort of toy you can imagine driving to expensive country hotels in, crunching up the gravel drives in, getting the valet to park it while you stroll inside. The sort of car you would *really* want to get up for at 4am in the summer, to get the quiet roads. The sort of thing you would sprint across country in, while your luggage goes in the support vehicle. And the sort of car that really, really, engages your imagination and your excitement, every time you drive.

And as a toy, it's a wonderful, wonderful thing to play with.


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Page last updated 16th September 2001

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Copyright of page 2001 Steve Breen