Weekend Drive - An Impreza WRX
Monday, January 17, 2005
Jason called up and suggested that we went for a test-drive. He test-drove a Porsche 911 Carrera S (for fun) the week before, and I guess he go hooked on test-driving new cars now. No we're not doing what Marc Gene (BMW Williams' F1 test driver), we're just time-killers and thrill seekers. I asked, "What car?", to which he replied, "Subaru". I was like, holy cow... Subaru Impreza WRX? Almost drooling now, my heart was already hammering in excitement. At approximately 1.30pm, we left for Mont Kiara - where the Scooby's at.

Upon arrival, we noticed that the place was so packed that we couldn't find a parking place. Okay, we were thinking about the free parking by the roadside, outside. With little luck, we resorted to paying RM2.50 to park in the basement of Plaza Mont Kiara. There were two cars; the Subaru Forester (Subaru's Airtrek equivalent) and the Impreza. A small crowd was seen ogling at the Impreza, while a couple was about to take the Forester out for a test-drive.

We were told to wait for the supervisor to return (from the Forester test-drive). While waiting, we took a look at some dogs for sale...

Jason with a tiny dog on display

Not exactly related to cars but, I thought the dog was small enough to worth a mention. Anyway, after a long anticipation, it was finally our turn to drive the Impreza. Jason didn't know Imprezas are manual-only, and that kinda freaked him out. He told me to go first, while he decides whether or not to try. So I thought "Okay, here goes"! The salesperson left the door open and gestured that I quickly get into the driver's seat - cuz the car was blocking traffic.

Our ride of the week!

That's our ride, the silver Impreza WRX bearing "WRX" on its front and back. Didn't take many pictures, sorry - I didn't wanna look stupid snapping pics like I've never seen a car before, although it's not everyday that I get to drive an Impreza...

Jason sat beside me in the car, while a sales guy sat behind. Calmly, I adjusted the seat and the rear view mirror. While trying my best to quickly adapt to the environment (and the view - boy, that huge air-scoop on the bonnet!), I floored the clutch and prepared to move. Carefully (of course, I didn't know how the clutch would behave!), I released the clutch and accelerated. Woo-hoo! I got the Scooby moving already.

At the junction (towards the main road), I turned on the blink blinks ala Asian cars - right-hand side. The wipers were suddenly activated! Feeling stupid, I quickly turned them off and correctly switched on my flashes. No thanks to the ultra-quiet sales guy. The clutch was very stiff. The sales guy revealed that had we driven the WRX STi, the clutch would be even stiffer! I cannot imagine flooring a piece of hard rock for each gear shift.

Century sprint was claimed to be under 6 seconds, although I didn't really try achieving that. Firstly, I wasn't familiar with the Scooby's stiff clutch. If I were to try, I'd risk smoking the tyres! Considering close to 300Nm of torque is channeled to all four wheels on tap, an exhilarating take-off wouldn't be too difficult. Instead of doing a hard standstill acceleration, I did a 'rolling start' version - Brought it up to speed, feeling the force of being pushed against our seats. It seemed effortless - the car was very responsive. This also means that overtaking other vehicles is a breeze.

Unlike its STi brother, the tamed WRX did not have Brembo callipers. Nevertheless, its brakes were awesome enough to wow me. I mean, hey, it was my first time driving such a performance car! The short LDP stretch was an ideal playground. Traffic was good, and we had all three lanes to ourselves on the way back - on which we went up to somewhere around 140km/h, before braking hard to turn back towards Plaza Mont Kiara. It wasn't a very comfortable ride actually - it picked up lil bumps easily. Probably it was necessary for the absorbers to be tuned that way - in order not to compromise handling. I don't know.

Wind noise was minimal, despite the frameless doors. With thick windows and rubbers, we were told that the rubbers "vacuumed" the edges of the windows, preventing leakage as well as wind noise. Back in Plaza Mont Kiara, I reluctantly undid my seatbelt and got out. Jason, upon noticing the satisfaction carved on my face, decided that he, too, wanted to drive it. But we had to wait for the next round because there were already people waiting for their turn. The next time around, I was on the passenger seat, admiring the super-basic interior of the Impreza.

I forgot how much the WRX costs, Jason kept the brochure and the price list. Heck, we were not exactly interested anyway. All we wanted was some thrills in an Impreza. But a check on-line revealed that the WRX costs at least a good RM200,000. For technical specs, try this site. For more pictures, go here (albeit an STi version). For the record, the STi version is a souped-up version of the WRX - more horsepower as well as torque. It looks more aggressive too, most notable is the huge (high) wing at the back.

Here's a look at the WRX's side (and alil bit of its rear):

The Subaru Impreza WRX on display

After our test-drives, we adjourned to Naza - to ogle at some good rides, heh heh!

By the way...
'Aviator' Lands Golden Globe Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio won the dramatic award for The Aviator at the Golden Globes. (Reports CNN)

Police will be knocking on the doors of more than 4,000 motorists in the city for not settling traffic summonses. (On NST Online.)
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