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Subaru Impreza WRX (2002) -
Turbocharged All-Wheel-Drive

Subaru Impreza WRX cutaway - click to enlarge

Subaru is the only manufacturer in the world to offer all-wheel-drive as standard equipment in all their models. Their most successful model to date is the Impreza WRX, which dates back to the early 90s, but has become world famous for its exploits in European off-road and on-road rallies.

The WRX has been offered in the United States only since its second-generation iteration, which debuted in 2001 as a 2002 model. It packs a 227 hp turbocharged and intercooled 4 cylinder boxer engine and of course, an advanced all-wheel-drive system.

Subaru's horizontally opposed cylinder layout, or "boxer" configuration, lowers the hood line and the center of gravity. The turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter engine that generates 227 hp @ 6000 rpm and 217 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm comes with a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. The intercooler is mounted on top of the engine, with air fed to it through the prominent scoop on the aluminum hood. The 5-speed manual has a continuous all-wheel-drive viscous-coupling locking center differential. The automatic has the Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) system with all-wheel-drive planetary center differential and electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch. Both the manual and the automatic has a viscous limited-slip rear differential. The flared fenders house Bridgestone Potenza RE92 all-season performance tires size 205/55R16, fitted on 16x6.5-inch alloy wheels. The lower bumper has a large radiator opening and small scoops around the fog lamps are channel air to the front brake discs to cool them.

The Impreza WRX features a unitized body construction with ring-shaped reinforced frame structure, hydroformed front subframe, and tailored blank-welded side sills and B-pillars.

Large four-wheel disc brakes are standard, with 11.4-inch front rotors and twin-piston front calipers. The discs are vented at the front and solid at the rear. Four-channel/four-sensor anti-lock brakes are also standard. The suspension features front MacPherson-type struts with lower L-arms, liquid filled L-arm rear bushings, coil springs, stabilizer bar and negative-scrub geometry, and rear MacPherson-type struts with coil springs, trailing arms, twin parallel links and stabilizer bar and negative-scrub geometry.

Subaru's Active All-Wheel-Drive system sends power to all four wheels all the time. During spirited driving on slippery roads or gravel, the system reduces the load on each wheel as needed, thus reducing tire slip. When combined with ABS, traction control and Subaru's own Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), it is virtually impossible to lose control of the vehicle in normal driving.

Similar to systems on more expensive cars like BMW and Volvo, Subaru's computerized VDC system detects driver mistakes and automatically corrects them without driver intervention. The system monitors continuously measures inputs from the steering wheel, lateral g, yaw rate and individual wheel speed sensors to detect understeer, oversteer and unwanted wheel spin. It makes sure the car is going where the driver is pointing it. The system then applies power or braking to each wheel as needed, to keep the car stable.

Modernracer.com 2003

Car Cutaway
Subaru Impreza WRX

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