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1998 Subaru Impreza WRX STi version V

GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS


STATS
Year: 1998 ```````````````````````````` Type: Wagon or Sedan
 
Country: Japan ``````````````````````````` Host: GT2
 
Price as Tested: Prize Car worth $25,200
 
 
Length: 171.25" // Width: 66.5" // Height; 56.7"
Wheelbase: 99.2"
Overhang: 6'
Track: 57.9" {F} 57.4" [R]
Ground Clearance: 6.1"
Weight: 2,888 lbs.
Layout: Front Engine / 4-Wheel Drive
Tires: 205/50R-16
Suspension: strut / coils / anti-roll bars / shocks
Brakes: vented discs
 
Engine: 2.0 liter DOHC Flat 4
tested HP: 287 @ 6,600 rpm
tsd torque:
253 @ 4,500 rpm
 
 
Lbs. per hp: 10.0
Hp per Liter: 143.9
Credits per HP: $
 
Aspiration: Turbo w. Intercooler
Fuel System: Multi Point inj.
Valves / Cyl: 4
Bore x stroke: 3.62 x 2.95"
Compression: 9.0:1
Redline: 7,000 // RPM Limit: 8,000
Transmission: 5-Speed Automatic
 
0-60 mph: 5.9 seconds
0-100mph: 15.2 seconds
 
400 M: 14.758 @ 98 mph
1 KM: 26.177
(mph not recorded)
Test Track: 1:42.810
 
Top Speed at Redline
1st: 39 mph
2nd: 66 mph
3rd: 96 mph
4th: 127 mph
5th: 168.74 mph @ 8,000 rpm 
 

----------------------EXTERIOR--------------------

“Honey, did you remember to put the kids on your new list?”
 
Your loving wife of eight years has just called to you, interrupting your couch-nap (as wives, even the best of them, so often do). Your current daydream, in which you were leading a pack of hungry Ferraris and McLarens around Lime Rock in a GT1 fantasy car, has been destroyed. You love your wife, your two kids (Princess and um....Anthony), and you relish coming home to your suburban air-conditioned palace to have the family sheep dog nearly knock you over.
 
....But somewhere deep inside, the inner race-driver, the guy you thought you would become when you grew up, rebels. This isn't how it was supposed to be.
 
When you were twelve, you never dreamt of becoming the tax accountant you are now; never imagined you'd spend most of your adult life poring over divided assets and joint bank account records while Earl (your sanctimonious partner) concocts a never-ending stream of bad "travelling salesman" jokes. Juanita, your impatient, redheaded secretary, has called out sick yet again with a case of mono. THIS isn't how it was supposed to be!
 
Anyways, the "list". What your wife was referring to in our imaginary scenario is the new ‘responsibility chart’ the two of you have lately agreed to. Oh, the marriage has been rolling along smoothly enough, but she has complained anyway, even tho she doesn't work (she ‘volunteers’ down at the Amway), and doesn't add to the family cash pie. Three marriage counseling sessions and one ‘Group Encounter Therapy Workshop’ later, you're both on your way to ‘Making your Marriage Work’...becoming a unit, all that Dr. Phil jazz. Hence the responsibility chart thingie.
 
Three days a week, you are to pick the kids up from school. You are also assigned to do all the grocery shopping (since you're the ‘fun’ parent, and the kids gravitate towards your oddball behaviour as you push the shopping cart around those aisles making vroom-vroom noises). And finally, any ‘home-improvement’ schemes are now fully your domain, while wifey spends her time taking tennis lessons from Josť the Dominican stud.
 
...But a month later, that inner race-dude keeps pestering. “This isn't how it was supposed to be, bro” he reminds you. “We were supposed to get an old Camaro after you aced your finals at BU, remember? Fix it up, tweak it. What's this station wagon crap?” he says, referring to the newsed '98 Subaru Impreza sitting in your garage...the sportiest compromise you could come up with under the circumstances of your suburban predicament.
 
Finally, you give in. You can't take it anymore.
 
So you're doing better down at the law firm, tax place, whatever. You're bringing home extra dough, squirreling it away safely for your kid's college, whatever. And you can't help but notice your next-door neighbor Stan ‘The Man’ has just put a new blower in his Lancer GSR. OH the jealousy!! You give in!
 
Not to be outdone, your wife barely notices when you have an Edelbrock turbo stuffed under the hood of your Impreza wagon, raising its horsepower from 287 to just under 340. When you got shiny new Yokohama wheels, she questioned your judgement but gazed in awe, anyways. It was when you forgot the kids...left them stuck at Little League practice one day...THAT'S when the trouble started!
 
From there it was all down hill. Mrs. Fuddlemyer down the block became the new designated carpool lady for the kids after ‘their father’ was deemed too irresponsible. Next came the trip to “Wonder Wagon”, a chop shop 200 miles away devoted to turning boring station wagons into hot rods. The Impreza was lowered. Stock shocks thrown away for rough-riding but more road-responsive Bilsteins. Your wife was furious. Threatened divorce when the tow truck
 
DEVOTED WEBSITE READER: “DAMN Parnelli!! Get to da point, man, we're dyin' out here! WHAT IS THIS CRAP? Yo, I come here to read about cars, not some soap opra bullshit. I got other shit on my agenda: like I could be strokin' it rite now on BustyBabes dot net and Growin up Gotti comes on in half an hour...”
 
PARNELLI: Duly noted. Alrite sir, here's your dumb review, enjoy.
 
That guy has a point, I should just stick to writing about cars in my fictional-but-reality-based automobile game. And I gotta start getting out of the house a bit more. Starting to talk to myself, I am.
 
What we have here is the '98 Subaru Impreza WRX STi...otherwise known as the ‘Version 5’. Up above, I was writing about the wagon, but the WRX also can be snatched up as a sedan or coupe, depending which game we're talking about, and all three get an A on their report card for their excellent handling and power for a low price.

Imprezas are (no surprises here) extremely nimble cars. Weight reductions? Don't really need them right away. The racing body for this year isn't very striking, but it's useful. For the most part, the Impreza is well-behaved and you'll only see their worst behavior (understeer, stability issues) when the car is fully powered. And even then it's not that bad.
 

--------------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN----------------

Subaru's famous flat-4 engine. There it is, look at it and gaze with satisfaction. Shed a tear if you like, for it will net you many a win. There's several things we can do with it, but the list is not overwhelming. It's fed by an intercooled turbocharger and there are a total of three stages of power to buy in most games.
 
Stage 1 maxed will gain the car up to 381 hp, a huge jump from the stock 287, and for an affordable amount of credits, too. Stages 2 and 3 don't seem quite as dramatic, but it's nothing to cry about. All told, they net 431 and 479 hp each in GT2, and peak power varies from the high sixes to 7,300 rpm with these parts.
 
The 5-speed transmission rarely disappoints (unless you were expecting a 6-speed). Stock gearing is tall, and gets taller as the car gears from 1st to 2nd to 3rd to 4th, oddly. Finally, the hungry 2.0 maxes out at just under 170 mph, assuming your motor is still stock. I just did an event generator race and got the Test Track....got nervous because my car was equipped with full Stage 2 tuning, and therefore was grouped with a Viper, a Venturi, an R34 Skyline, and some other JDM car I'm forgetting. A Tom's Angel lagged far behind and didn't matter. Why was I freaking out? I didn't have the racing gearbox! Dangit. Luckily, I won by a hair by drafting the Venturi out of the end of lap 2, carefully timing my game so that the Impreza didn't max out on revs.
 
Incidentally, it got to about 188 mph tops with stock gearing...a good note for future reference. In another race with the same power at Autumn Ring, I of course had the cornering advantage. And considering there's like 13 or 14 corners and turns on that track, I got a nice lead even tho my car was only equipped with hard slick tires. Did I win? Does a rooster crow and a cow moo?
 
Finally, the drivetrain. Messing with it is great, and will only make these cars faster. Wheelspin is rare no matter which flywheel, driveshaft, or clutch you use. No real surprise here. You can use the limited slip unit on tarmac tho I find it unnecessary unless I'm rallying. Next.
 

-----------------CHASSIS / HANDLING----------------

“Look ma no hands!” we used to say when we were kids on our bikes while our parents smiled, trying not to freak out. And guess what? Well I don't know about you, but I STILL say it.
 
Just now I was doing a practice run around Grand Valley East reversed and got sideways in the famous hairpin. Beautiful stuff, man. The Prezzy was in a full drift while I manipulated the accelerator without my thumb on the steering mushroom. “Look ma, no hands!” I said all proud. Naw, I didn't really say it, but I thought it.
 
What I'm trying to illuminate here is the excellent handling of the Impreza WRX version V...tho really this applies to any Impreza, be it a sporty wagon or a Type R coupe. This is a car that does what you want it to, be it drift sideways thru a corner or grip it with superb control. Unless you're new to Gran Turismo, you already know how famous Subaru's handling is and how easy it is to manipulate these machines into doing what YOU (the customer) wants.
Stock tires with unmodified brakes under the stock suspension have near-excellent cornering capabilities in a car with less than 310 hp even as the speed gathers up in the 70's. As your velocity keeps rising and the tires lose their adhesive effect, the car starts sliding, yet control is still amazing. Light understeer into corners turns into a beautifully-mastered power slide as the brakes are forced to their max and the rear is swung out.
 
Add the sports suspension and not much changes. You just see a bit less tire smoke is all, but the actual cornering SPEED doesn't go up much. Use of sports tires is recommended during races before the engine is modified with a Stage 1 turbo. Use of racing tires at this level, even the Hard slicks, will of course kill most of the sliding (not that here was much to begin with), making the Impreza rock-solid; but also diminishing it and changing the car from tossable and exciting to tossable and uneventful. I mean, you can do whatever you want. I prefer my replays to have a bit of smoke and sweat. I want to see ACTION, so I tend to go with lesser tires.
 
Once we've got a Stage 3 turbo, things begin to change. Slicks begin to become more and more necessary. They'll get their turn, too. The WRX is still incredibly nimble, but vicious understeer starts to appear along with alot of nervousness that'll either need to be dumbed down or tolerated.
 
....But you already know all this, more than likely. I'm inclined to say just leave the car as it is...it's so damn perfect...but of course eventually it'll need upgrades. More power = better tires, suspension and other gear. Bla bla bla. The Impreza WRX handles like a dream like the sun rises in the east.
 
Not exactly ground-breaking ‘STOP THE PRESS’ sort of news, so here's where this review leaves off. :)
 

 

PROS

1. Affordable. This is also one of the few cars in GT2 that can be won or bought from the used car lot.
 
2. Exciting, garish looks (for instance... gold wheels, fog lamps, and hood scoop come standard). Racing equipment available as well for the wagon, coupe, and sedan, tho it isn't all that shocking as far as looks are concerned.
 
3. Of course the All Wheel Drive system is ready for action and does amazing things with corners. Depending on which tires & suspension setup you use, you can acheive many shades of behaviour here. Great for rallying of course.
 
4. Intercoolers & turbo upgrades available.
 
5. Stellar acceleration & speed. The credit to performance ratio can't truly be measured in this regard.
 
6. Excellent brakes. Controller feels optional, not absolutely necessary right away.
 
7. Also the limited-slip, traction controls, and grippy tires aren't needed to win many races.
 

CONS

1. Yet another instance of ‘too many repeats’. In GT2, 3, and 4, there are so many versions of the Impreza, do we really need them all?
 
2. The '98 WRX can be bought as a used car, which makes winning one not so special.
 
3. Stage 2 & 3 turbos don't really add much overall horsepower. They're not a waste of money, but they're not gonna take you to the top, either. For this, you'll need the million-credit Rally Impreza, perhaps.
 
4. Not a huge criticism: generally great handling, but as the power rises, the Impreza loses some of its rock-steady stability and becomes more skittish.
 
5. Stock gearing a bit tall--not balanced for pure racing. Again, this isn't a huge issue.
 
6. Acceleration starts great but tapers off just below 100 mph.
 
7. Some drivers complain about the lack of a 6-speed.
 
 

Originally Published: September 23rd, 2005
 

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