Buttoned-up engineering, unbuttoned.
BRZ Limited shown
for themselves, the roads off the freeways were worth the trip to California!
Cut into the hills and mountains, they offer no relief from pure driving. Boulders
and walls of dirt and trees line the roads on one side while steep drop-offs border
them on the other. Thread the turns and keep to the right of the center line!
Southern California canyon and mountain roads along with freeway routes to reach
them were the chosen routes for gaining first impressions of a 2006 Impreza WRX
Limited Sedan. A two-day itinerary included I-405 and I-5 from Torrance toward San
Diego, the Ortega Highway from San Juan Capistrano to Lake Elsinore and highways
76, 79, S7 and S6 between Oceanside and Julian.
The first thing I did when I saw the car was exactly what everyone does – go to the front to see how the new grille and hood look. Their design is fresh and well-integrated – the result of fine-tuning by a designer’s pen (or computer) that thrusts forward the Impreza’s design.
Don’t be afraid of the new look; see it in person. It’s worth the trip.
Then, when sitting behind the wheel, see how the redesign affects your vision – even your attitude. The crest of the hood swoops down from the fender lines. It has a new crispness and the visual impact of driving a two-seat sports car.
Feel Its Strength
The Impreza body has more than good looks. It’s also rigid, to which two full days of driving testified. Tight curves, braking, accelerating – nothing perturbed the body’s sense of solidity. Yet there was nothing heavy about the car. It always felt light, nimble and well-balanced.
Attribute excellent body rigidity to a number of contemporary manufacturing techniques, including the Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame structure, hydroformed front subframe and side sills as well as tailored-blank welded B-pillars.
For 2006, all Impreza models have EJ25 2.5-liter Boxer engines, with changes in the 2.5i and WRX engines wringing out greater power. See specifications in the accompanying chart.
Overall, what impressed me most about the 2006 WRX Limited was the flow of power produced from the engine through the drivetrain – its smoothness and the sense of precise engineering that it evokes as well as the slightly audible “whirr” when cruising at freeway speeds. Combining this with the nimble feel of the suspension and the rigid body makes the car truly a delight to drive – all the way from sea level to approximately 6,000 feet.
All This and Comfort, Too
Heading for southern California at the end of July may seem like madness. Temperatures were close to 100° F, and the plan was to spend two days in a car totally exposed to the sun and heat.
Between the climate control system, windows and sunroof, airflow kept occupants cool and alert. Controls are easy to reach.
That being said, driving the Subaru WRX smoothly will demand practice for some. While the clutch isn’t stiff, start-off and then matching engine
and road speeds in any given gear take acclimation because of the power that’s developed under the hood. This is a common characteristic of performance vehicles.
Although the tire pattern and road surfaces made themselves known on occasion, conversation at normal levels was always possible.
The WRX Limited leans more to the grand touring side of performance. It’s the only WRX model that has an available four-speed automatic transmission.
What This Means – Precisely
Under normal driving conditions (albeit on some extraordinary roads!), the Subaru Impreza WRX proves itself far more than capable. It’s astonishingly nimble and has the feeling of precision and balance. You feel like you could thread a needle with it.
Here you have tremendous performance in a package that can be easy and fun to handle. If you practice smoothness and take this automobile’s power seriously, you won’t be disappointed.
|2006 Subaru Impreza Model Line|