Earlier this week we wrote about a Subaru Impreza 22B that sold for an astonishing £171,500 at auction. The most ridiculous part of it all? That result doesn’t even make it the most expensive 22B we’ve ever seen.
Thankfully, there are still some special edition Imprezas/WRXs/STIs for more sensible money. You can have an Impreza P1, for instance, for £20,000 or so. Still too much? You could do a lot worse than the car seen here - a WRX-S.
It’s not strictly a special edition, but these are rare cars - we could only find three on Autotrader from a reasonably large pool of similarly aged WRXs. To create it, Subaru sent the not especially well-received third-gen WRX to Prodrive‘s finishing school for road cars, much as Alfa Romeo for the Brera S and Mazda for the RX-8 PZ around the same time.
The motorsport company, responsible for the creation of the P1 mentioned earlier and running Subaru‘s World Rally Championship at the time, was the ideal outfit to give the WRX a nip and tuck. The first order of business was an ECU tweak, combined with a reworked exhaust system to bring the flat-four’s power from 227bhp to 251bhp while dragging the torque up to 288lb ft from 236lb ft.
Six-tenths were lopped off the 0-62mph time, giving a new figure of 5.5 seconds. Much more like it, and to go with the additional poke, Prodrive added bigger 18-inch anthracite ‘GT1’ wheels and a whole bunch of STI parts including a front splitter and rear wing. The premium over the normal WRX was a thoroughly reasonable £2500, and Subaru gave buyers four colours to pick from - San Remo Red, Obsidian Black Pearl, Satin White Pearl, and of course, WR Blue Mica, a hue previously unavailable on for this generation of WRX.
It was still far from perfect, of course. In its 2008 review of the WRX-S, CT sister title evo welcomed the additional power but noted how the car was still capable of, we quote, “comic angles of lean.”
Fast forward to today, though, and you can pick one up for not much at all, making the WRX-S an enticing base for a few subtle but effective modifications. Ideally starting with some suspension-related changes, we think.
The cheapest we could find for sale is up for £6499, but our pick would be this one. The mileage is reasonably low for the year at 75,000, and it’s not much more at £7895. The WRX-S is sold with a full-service history too, which includes a record of a cambelt change.