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The Quiet One

The Impreza WRX can actually be compared to the Lancer Evolution. And while the whole world more often talks about the STi Imprezas, people sometimes forgets that the car in its ‘Blue, Pink and Gold’ colors is actually an enhanced version of the WRX built by Subaru’s tuning arm, Subaru Technica International.

Perhaps due to the fact that the STi’s have a comparable price with the Lancer Evolutions, while the Impreza WRX albeit priced much lower is still expensive, this has lead to more people opting for the higher spec model.

If we look at the matter carefully and study it, should the Impreza STi be compared to the more exclusive Lancer Evolution models like the FQ series or the Ralliart packages? This is actually an interesting point to ponder since the Lancer Evolution’s direct competitor is the Subaru Impreza WRX. I might be wrong on this but comparing an Impreza STi with a base-model Lancer Evolution is a bit bias, or is it? In the context of Malaysia, it is always either a Lancer Evolution or a Subaru Impreza WRX by STI.

In Brunei Darussalam however, things are a little different. Subaru has a strong following in the country and models such as the Impreza WRX are among the popular choice. One superior example would be this black Ver. 9 Rex. Transformed to outperform its more sinister sibling, let’s take a look at what Aman has done to his four-wheel drive sedan.

Being an export model, the Impreza’s engine bay plays host to a bigger-displacement engine, compared to the normal 2000cc EJ20. Strong believers of the phrase “no replacement for displacement” will surely express delight to the additional 500cc of the EJ25. Being a street driver car, Aman left the block untouched in its factory specs to retain reliability. Who wouldn’t? Having a leak or an erratic idle can be quite a nuisance for a daily driven car, but having a heavily modded car for the purpose of racing is a different matter all together.

To maximize the true potential of a turbocharged engine, Aman decided to upgrade to a faster-spooling turbine, but at the same time without sacrificing drivability. An HKS GT2835, one of the basic turbocharger upgrades for the WRX from HKS was elected for the job. The turbine comes with an internal actuator that’s good for 1.3 bar of boost and easily bumps up the figures to around 400 horsepower.

With the increase in power it is important to improve the efficiency of the cooling system, which Aman had not neglected. He swapped the top-mounted intercooler system for a front-mount that can clearly be seen from the front bumper. Aman also added a GReddy oil cooler kit to keep the lube’s temperatures stable and a Cusco oil catch to trap unwanted grime. This was of course accompanied by some upgrades in the fuel delivery system as well. The original injectors were replaced with 800cc injectors from Power Enterprise and the stock fuel pump replaced with a Walbro 255lph fuel pump.

The boxer engine has one of the most distinctive exhaust notes, especially the ones with equipped with the loudest exhaust systems. Opting for a custom made system, Aman mated a 2.5” front-pipe to a 3” straight-pipe that ends with a 4” Marco muffler. On the intake-side, ambient air that is sucked in is first filtered by an Apexi Power Intake air filter.

To complete his modifications and extract the full potential of his beloved ride, Aman headed down to SHH Proshop to have his HKS F-con V-pro tuned by the expert hands of Shumpei Ohura. The car, on a 4-wheel Dyno Dynamic dynamometer registered a perfect 400hp at 6500rpm. On stock engine internals, mind you.

The HKS F-con unit was installed together with an HKS Twin Power DLI unit that intensifies the spark from the plugs. With the bigger turbo in play, toying around with the boost levels can be fun. An electronic HKS EVC boost controller enables these setting to be adjusted from the comforst of the cabin, while on-the-go.

Meant as a ‘fun’ but yet civilized way to travel in the city, close ratio gears sets and a heavy duty race clutch wasn’t the path for Aman. Instead, he chose to keep the transmission stock.

He did however upgrade the vehicle’s dynamics with an array of chassis reinforcements. A pair of Tanabe strut bars, one in front and another at the rear, hold their respective strut towers firmly. More importantly, the stock suspension was thrown out to make way for a set of adjustable JIC Magic coilovers.

On the rolling section, a set of Black Racing Pro N1 17 inch tucks fittingly underneath the wheel arches and looks business. Wrapping the wheels are sticky Yokohama Advan tires measuring 225/45/17.

The interior was basically left untouched, with only minor upholstery work done. An addition to the cabin, a Pivot boost meter to monitor boost pressure and an Apexi RSM to provide vital speed info is position in clear view.

The exterior plays an important role in a car. Realizing this, Aman decided to go with a complete ZeroSports bodykit, a STi spoiler which turns this Impreza into something mean and finished in a menacing black colour.

Posing a more subtle yet menacing image, Aman’s Impreza is another reason why the Impreza WRX is a great choice apart from the STi. With the endless possibilities of the automotive tuning world, it is possible to turn something normal into a winner!

Car: Subaru Impreza WRX Ver.9
Engine: EJ25
Modifications: HKS 2835 turbo kit, Power Enterprise 800cc injector, Walbro 255 l/ph fuel pump, Blitz intercooler kit, Apexi air intake, custom 3 inch exhaust system with Marco muffler
Transmission: Stock 4-wheel drive
Brakes: Stock
Electronic: HKS F-con V-pro, HKS EVC boost controller, HKS twin power
Wheels: Black Racing Pro N1 17 inch, Yokohama A-Drive R1 225/45/17
Suspension: JIC Magic
Chassis: Tanabe strut bar front and rear
Interior: Stock, Pivot boost meter, Apexi RSM
Exterior: ZeroSport bodykit, STi spoiler
Tuner: SHH Proshop

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