Subaru, the producers of the blue and gold rally icon thats gained the attention of the petrolhead community worldwide through love and respect. Remembered fondly due to legends such as Colin McRae and Richard Burns who wielded Impreza’s through World Rally Championships with great success. From the flat-out gravel stages and enormous jumps of Finland to the winding mountain pass of the Col de Turini, Subaru created a machine that dominated, winning both the Manufacturers Championship and the Drivers Championship three times. 

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2018 marks a significant year for Subaru, being sixty years since the company launched (1958), thirty years since founding STi (1988) and twenty years since the launch of the haloed 22B (1998), the best Impreza ever made…or is it?  

It’s ok, we hear your gasps, this must be blasphemy even questioning whether the 22B is the greatest Impreza. However there is another Impreza that deserves a shot at the title. With no further a do the model in question is the Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec-C Type RA-R (Deep breath). It may have a long name but theres nothing lengthy about how it covers ground.

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In case you wondered RA-R stands for ‘Record Attempt – Racy’. Yes, really. And racy it is,

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So what’s so special about this model? For a start it was never sold in the UK or anywhere else outside of Japan for that matter, only treating the Japanese Domestic Market. Running the 2.0 EJ20 engine from the Japan-only STi S204 limited edition, Twin Scroll Turbo and unique ECU. The RA-R produces 316bhp & 318lb ft with linear power between 2000-8000rpm. This means the in gear acceleration is outrageous, coupled to Subarus infamous Symmetrical All Wheel Drive System, the speed and grip this car generates is astonishing. Given the right driver, over a moorland road we can’t think of anything that would keep up!

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As proof of just how fast this Impreza is, in a Tsukuba Best Motoring video it posted a best lap three tenths off an NSX-R and annihilates the other Japanese metal. It's that good!

Other features include reduced soundproofing, thinner glass, a lighter battery and even a thinner roof. The steering was quickened. The brakes were made bigger with huge Brembo six-piston callipers. The suspension was overhauled too, even lower than a Spec C, with STi aluminium pillow-ball lateral links with bushings'. To top it off the 8.5x18” STi wheels are wrapped in bespoke 235-section rubber. Everything was ramped up to create the most intense and rewarding Impreza for the driver. 

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Plus this car is RARE! Only three hundred were ever made, fifty of which were painted in Vivid Yellow like this example.

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Other colours were Pure White and WR Rally Blue Mica.

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When new the RA-R cost 4,284,000 Yen (£29,000). So going back to the original question, does the RA-R deserve the 22B’s crown as the greatest Impreza, from a purist perspective absolutely. If your wanting an Impreza that will wow you every time you get in it then this is the car for you. Dynamically it’s far more advanced than the 22B being nearly a decade younger. Values of these will only go up, with £100,000 22B’s now a reality twenty years after launch, we are confident an RA-R will follow suit and currently are a great investment opportunity...Check out our Personal Import Service

Money no object there will be people who would rather have a 22B which is understandable, coming from the McRae era and purely on those classic exterior looks it’s hard to beat. But with cars in todays world becoming more alike there is definitely a character within the RA-R which won’t be replicated...

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