1994 Subaru Impreza WRX sedan

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Year: 1994 ```````````````````````````````````` Type: sport sedan

Country: Japan ````````````````````````````````` Host: GT1 & GT2

Price: $13,983 (GT2)

Construction: unit steel
Length: 170.8" // Width: 66.5" // Height: 56.7"
Wheelbase: 99.2"
Track: 57.7" // 57.3"
Overhang: 5 feet 9 inches
Ground Clearance: 6.1"
Weight: 2,799 lbs. 
Tires: 205/50R-16 front & rear
Brakes: vented discs front & rear + ABS
F. Suspension: MacPherson struts / coils, anti-roll bar, shox
R. Suspension: struts + trailing arms / coils, anti-roll bar, shox

Engine: 2.0 liter DOHC Flat-4
Aspiration: turbo
Fuel System: multi-point fuel injection
Valves / Cyl: 4
Bore x Stroke: 3.62 x 3.95"
Compression: 8.5:1
Horsepower: 216 @ 6,100 rpm
Torque: ````````
206 @ 3,500 rpm
Credits per HP: $62.42
Pounds/Power: 12.96
HP per Liter: ```108.32

GT2 Redline: 7,750 // RPM Limit: 8,000

Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Differentials: (real-life) limited-slip center & rear
Layout: front engine / all-wheel drive

0-60 mph: 6.8 seconds
0-100mph: 18.3 seconds
400M: 15.478 @ 91 mph
1 Km: 27.825 @ 119 mph
Test Track: 1:48.351

Top Speed at Redline
1st: 37 mph
2nd: 62 mph
3rd: 89 mph
4th: 119 mph
5th: 156.32 @ 7,600 rpm (GT2--aerodynamically limited)


I got bored with Gran Turismo the first before I could try the Impreza. At the time, I didn't know much about the automotive world. I knew nothing about the Subaru Impreza, the sporty WRX, and the sportiest STi version. I had previously been a role-playing, adventure-type gamer, you see...and was out of touch with what was happening in the world of cars. So I had alot to learn with this one. This was back in March of 2004, now. GT2 had been sitting in my CD rack for three months and I finally had enough with GT1. Honestly, the Impreza didn't intrigue me much. But things have changed!

The '94 model of this review is a WRX -- not the fastest STi...just so you know. Subaru actually started production of the WRX in 1992. At first, it was a Japan-only model, but soon the WRX was being sold in other parts of Asia, and Australia as well.

Stories on the 'net tell of this car being fast while handling like a dream, and they are absolutely true. Somehow, Subaru has managed to make this car lighter than most sedans; it weighs in at about 400 pounds less than some other popular "sport" sedans like the BMW 3-series, despite the fact that the WRX has (one would think) a heavier all-wheel drive drivetrain.

This car can be found in the Subaru used car lots of GT1 or 2 in several colors, but WRXs cannot be found in games later than this...instead, GT3 and 4 only present us with STi versions. With its wing, air scoops, and alloy wheels, some may find the WRX something to drool over; others may find it odd, gaudy, or even grotesque. 

The car's weight in GT1 falls to an amazing 1,935 pounds once it has the racing kit. In GT2, it falls to a respectable 2,491 pounds once Stage 3 is bought, and a dashing racing body can also be bought in 2 colors (one of them is easter-egg purple!) and this weighs 2,409 pounds. 

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

Gotta love the sound of this engine--which resembles the tapping of a Volkswagen Beetle, since both the Beetle and the Impreza feature flat engines. These are also known as "boxers". If you were to look at the pistons in action, they'd resemble a 1-2 punch over and over since these flat-4s run sideways .  

In either game, the '94 WRX only accepts two levels of intercooled turbo-charging, but it is fast nonetheless; mostly due to the great traction that can be attained in these cars. Fully stocked with racing parts and intercooler, the WRX has 404 horsepower in GT1, and 370 hp @ 6,900 rpm with 305 ft-lbs. of torque @ 6,100 in GT2. At this level, the WRX can just about keep up with the typically popular GT autos: Vipers, NSXs, RX7s, Corvettes, and many others that are found in many races. Since the WRX has better, more consistent traction than these sports cars, it can blow them away out of corners, despite the fact that it is a 4-seat, 4-door sedan rather than a 2-seater with 2 doors.

Unfortunately, the WRX can't go any faster since there isn't a Stage 3 or 4 turbo available, so the World Cup, GT300, and other series will have to wait till you've got a racier Subaru. Still, valuable lessons can be learned in a heavier, less-powerful WRX that can later be used later, once we're behind the wheel of an STi. 

The transmission is smartly geared: the first four speeds are basically set with close ratios, and will carry to about 119 mph in under 28 seconds. 5th speed is much taller. It will make it to 156 mph; the tach needle gets about halfway thru the redline area at the test track while the car is still stock, and can't get any faster. This is good because the RPM limit isn't met, so at least no speed gets knocked. The WRX really starts to slow once it nears redline in 5th. This is mostly due to its boxy aerodynamics, and is not 100% a gearing or power issue, although since revs get higher and higher at this point, there is less power being produced than there would be when the tach is in its peak area. This gearbox can be used for many races, even with the engine fully modified. Or, it's possible to switch to a close-ratio unit for tracks like Seattle, Grindelwald, or Autumn Ring. Either way, it's possible to never hit this car's RPM limit while shifting, unless you get sloppy. 
Peak power is located far below the redline, so manual tranny users can often shift early. Automatic drivers, on the other hand, are at a slight disadvantage. Since they can't shift as early, they'll miss out on some of the Subie's proper power band at times, which peaks anywhere from 6,100 to 6,900 rpms depending how much power is being made and which parts are in place. Redline is therefore 1,650 to 850 rpms later than these peaks in horsepower.

The turbo on this car squeezes out an amazing 185 hp per liter once the engine is fully modded. Sweet! Acceleration is phat, and with engine balancing, the RPM limit gets raised to 9,000 rpm. Oh yeah.

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

What we expect from Subaru is what we get: a well-balanced, well-behaved car. A novice with thumbs as green as a leprachaun can race this car a few laps and get the hang of it..that's how well the Impreza WRX handles the tracks. As mentioned before, a WRX is recommended over an STi for n00b players, since it is easier to pilot. 

We  can race an unmodified WRX with street (normal) tires and win most any event within GT2 horsepower limits. When I raced the regionals, I used hard-compound tires or a combination of mediums up front and hard tires in the rear, and found that the sporty sedan did well at all six races except for Laguna Seca. Here, the car was plagued by relentless understeer. I didn't have soft tires, didn't think I'd need to buy them. Ironically, the problem wasn't at the corkscrew, the hairpin at the end of the straight, or the tight corner at the beginning of the straight... the prob was in some of those longer turns!

If there's one bitch about this car's handling (and there's really just one) it's understeer. The WRX will NOT oversteer unless you set it up to do so, but it will understeer under power. Either that, or it will grab too forcefully. Understeer or grabbing...there seems to be no middle ground no matter what you do to set a WRX up in GT2. But it's really not a huge problem. Overall, the WRX is easy to drive (easier than an STi since there is less power) and highly recommended for many.


1). Affordable to a beginner who's just won the Sunday series or some other easy races in either GT1 or GT2. More of a "beginner's car" than the more-powerful STi.

2). Highly competitive vehicle: the '94 WRX is just fast enough to participate in any of the 591 hp series of GT2 if it's fully modified.

3). Lightweight for a 4-door sedan with an all-wheel drive drivetrain. Somehow.

4). Excellent handling 95% of the time. Easy as pie to race. The car generally goes where you want it to, and manages bumps with a smile.

5). Good power, good acceleration due to excellent traction, on or off-road. The gearbox is dialed for both acceleration and 150 mph+ speed from the day it's bought.

6). Intercoolers available.

7). Excellent drift capabilities if the car is set-up right. It doesn't take mad skillz to get a halfway decent drift in a WRX, for those who aren't so experienced yet.

8). Engine sounds just like zzzzzzzzz...just a WRX.

9). Excellent brakes. Even unmodified, they'll stop your WRX on a dime.

10). Racing bodywork available in GT1 or GT2.


1). Only 2 stages of turbo available for this non-STi.

2). Understeer or grabbing. Make your settings; take your pick. Inexperienced drivers will suffer some oversteer & spins as well--as they'll usually become overzealous in this car and other Imprezas in videogames.

3). Its non-aerodynamic shape eventually hurts top-end speed, along with a combo of short gears and lack of power near redline.

4). Though many races can be run with this car's stock gearing, fully-powered cars may require full-custom gears, especially to get a higher top speed.   

5). Some don't like these car's looks. Some find the WRX and STi ugly, ricer-ish, etc.
6). Too many versions of these cars in GT2 especially, and many of them aren't much different from one another (arguably). No wonder PD dropped them all in later games.

Originally Published: August 20, 2004