It's 15 years since the Impreza saloon bowed out. It did so in unforgettable fashion
By Matt Bird / Tuesday, February 15, 2022 / Loading comments
The run-out special edition doesn’t always enjoy the best reputation. Usually boasting little more than a new paint job or drastic price cut (or both) to attract attention to an ageing model that needs to sell, it’s not often they’re memorable for the right reason. The Subaru Impreza GB270, on the other hand, was everything you might want from an end-of-times special.
Even back in 2007, when we didn’t know yet that the Impreza hatch wouldn’t quite deliver, the saloon needed a proper send off. For 15 years by that point, the Impreza Turbo in one guise or another had become the definitive affordable fast car in Britain. Whether as a supercar slayer, hot hatch alternative or the peak of Japanese automotive tech, the Impreza remained relevant for the whole time. Which is pretty remarkable for a car based on such an ordinary Subaru saloon. Its reputation was such that a half-hearted final edition just wouldn’t have cut it with the legions of fans.
Fortunately, the GB270 was not a half-hearted final edition. Based on the Impreza WRX rather than STI (keeping the price affordable), the GB270 had another 40hp from the standard car’s 230, plus a substantial torque boost of 74lb ft – a total of 310lb ft is still more than most hot hatches today. It was courtesy of the Prodrive Performance Pack, which upgraded the intercooler, exhaust, and ECU, and meant that the GB270 offered a noticeable step up in performance over the WRX – even while retaining a five-speed gearbox.
Chassis revisions included and lower ride height and bigger wheels, but by all accounts they didn’t spoil the Impreza flow that had made the car such a hit with UK enthusiasts. It wasn’t like visual impact was ignored for the 270, either; as well as the wheels, it got a new front grille and one of the most peculiar spoilers ever seen on an Impreza. The rims may not have been gold, but otherwise the GB270 was a fitting farewell to the familiar silhouette. (As if to concede the grille and spoiler might have been a bit much, the GB270 estates did without either. And got black wheels.)
Subaru allocated 400 GB270s to the UK market, with 300 saloons and 100 estates made available. Much was made of the price back in 2007 – ‘Big value from final edition Impreza WRX’ proclaimed the press release – and it really was a lot of flat-four fun for not much money. Both four-door and wagon cost £22,995, or just a couple of thousand more than the standard RRPs, but with £7,600 of optional equipment. Perhaps it wasn’t a truly wild final Impreza, but it’s hard to imagine any of the 400 customers feeling short-changed for their £23k.
Nowadays, the GB270 remains collectible; it hasn’t achieved the wild appreciation of the classic Imprezas (and seems unlikely to) but it’s also recognised as something a little more special than the regular WRX. This one is totally standard, 90,000 miles old and for sale at £13,750. All Imprezas have enjoyed a surge in the past couple of years (probably since the WRX STI went off sale, in fact) and, if more than earlier WRXs, the GB270 does compare favourably with contemporary STIs, Type Ds and the other special Subarus we’ve forgotten. Indeed, when an RB320 can be more than £30k, an RB5 £40k and a P1 in excess of £50,000, a GB270 that’s only £10,000 less than new doesn’t look so bad. Especially when its significance won’t ever change. Granted, the Subaru saloon came back, but the Impreza name was never seen on its best-known shape ever again. As a reasonably affordable away into a special Subaru, the GB270 looks as appealing as ever.
SPECIFICATION | SUBARU IMPREZA GB270
Engine: 2,457cc, flat-four turbo
Transmission: 5-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],700rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],000rpm
Year registered: 2007
Recorded mileage: 89,728
Price new: £22,995
Yours for: £13,750
See the original advert here
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