The Impreza’a biggest crime is its styling. Previously STi may have been ugly but their grotesqueness was part of their allure. They had charisma, the appeal of their ballistic pace heightened by their visual oddness. The Impreza is impossibly bland. Even in fahkinhell 296bhp type UK spec it looks eminently forgettable. And, after the Impreza lineage that went before, many will find its generic hatchback style almost insulting. Let’s hope the man who signed off the design has since had his hands flattened by a stemroller to prevent him form ever going near a marker pen again. This mundane styling is a pity because the STi goes damn hard and fast and still possesses that ability to cover ground for more quickly than seems physically possible. Around Lahore, it feels just like a fast Subaru should. The disconcertingly light steering that initially feels vague and detached is anything but, its pinsharp and talkative-not as chatty or as attention seeking as the EVO’s agreed, but its still the next best thing to putting your hands on the road. The boxer burble may need a cupped ear to be heard but that’s incredibly smooth and relentless elastic band snap of acceleration the catapults you forward is still there, allied to a chassis with superb balance and grip.
Punt the Scoby into the a tight bend, get on the juice early and you can feel the torque sensing electromagnetic centre differential working with the front and rear limited slip diffs to haul you out of the corner and onto the next as quickly as possible. At the speed there’s a lovely machined feel to put the gearshift, the firmly damped suspension is ideally calibrated, the pedals are perfectly placed for fast footwork, the brakes are whole package feels honed and integrated. And, of course, form the driver’s seat you can’t see how drab it looks. It’s also refined, comfortable and smooth enough to make motorway travel a doddle.