- The Washington Times - Friday, February 13, 2009

The Impreza is one of the most impressive models in Subaru’s portfolio.

All-new for 2008, Subaru takes the Impreza to the new model year with the introduction of a 2009 turbocharged Impreza sedan and wagon.

The 2009 Impreza 2.5GT houses under the hood a fun-loving 224-horsepower turbocharged intercooled four-cylinder boxer engine coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission with Sportshift.

The 16-valve 2.5-liter powerplant produces 226 lb.-ft. of torque at a very low 2,800 rpm. And with its standard all-wheel drive configuration, the turbo sedan is certainly sure-footed in all driving conditions, as it adeptly moves its 3,240-pound weight around corners through dry or wet roadways.

The new 2.5GT Impreza model is also aided in its fun-to-drive agile character by its own uniquely sport-tuned suspension and standard 17-inch alloy wheels. Subaru put larger brakes on the turbocharged model to handle to extra output.

This new addition to the Impreza lineup for 2009 has a base price of $26,995 for the four-door sedan version. A five-door wagon model of the 2.5GT is base priced at $27,495.

The Impreza 2.5GT is a nice answer to the Impreza WRX STi, which is a high-performance streetcar that is just too much for some modest drivers who want power, but nothing over the top. Nor do they want to have to answer for the $35,000 to $38,000 price tag for a Subaru.

By the way, the WRX STi features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 305 horsepower and 290 lb.-ft. of torque teamed with a six-speed manual transmission.

The WRX STi is shod with 18-inch wheels and tires and large Brembo brakes. This particular Impreza model is more widely appealing to a spirited, younger male driving enthusiast.

Standard features on the new Impreza 2.5GT include the WRX STi inspired electro-luminescent instrumentation gauges, as well as a tilt/telescoping steering column. The driver is nestled in a sporty cockpit with black surround trim to dull sensory interruption, allowing the driver to focus.

The twin-cockpit style is sport-oriented not only for the driver, but for the front passenger as well. Comfortable cloth seats, in a double-stitched fabric, are contoured to keep the body secure during the drive. The brushed aluminumlike trim inlays add to the sportiness.

The Impreza is not necessarily a noisy car, but road and engine vibration noise does enter the cabin. This might be noticeable to some drivers, while others will be able to tune it out.

The 25.GT’s audio system is a premium, 10-speaker SRS Circle Surround system that features a six-disc in-dash CD changer, auxiliary input jack and, of course, AM/FM stereo.

The Impreza is also pre-wired for satellite radio. A navigation system is offered as an option.

The Impreza 2.5GT comes standard with a power glass moonroof, fog lights and automatic climate control. An All-Weather Package is also standard for the base price with this new-for-2009 model, which includes dual-mode heated front seats, a windshield wiper de-icer and heated sideview mirrors.

Three-point safety belts are equipped on all five seating positions, and the new Impreza comes with whiplash-protecting active front seat head restraints. Six airbags are standard, including the standard side-curtain airbags.

Electronic stability control, traction control and brake assist are all standard safety elements on the 2009 Impreza.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has rated the Impreza a Top Safety Pick for getting “good” ratings in crash testing.

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