Possessing all-round capabilities that include the skill and grace to dance, yet delivering blows akin to that of a heavy weight boxer is often not easy to chance upon. That particular boxer has to have the capability of raining a hail of severe punches, as well as dodging the returns with swift and agile feet. The hybrid combination is often termed a Boxer-Puncher by professionals.
With today’s advancements in gearbox technology, it is possible to possess both convenience and power under two pedals. Though many would argue that “Three pedals would maketh a man”, the inconvenience of driving daily in bad traffic jams with “three” would easily sway many to “two”; an automatic transmission equipped vehicle. That however, does not make the Subaru Impreza S-GT any vehicle smaller than its other turbocharged sibling; the manual transmission equipped Impreza WRX STi.
Enter the said Impreza S-GT; a turbocharged hatchback third generation Impreza with an automatic gearbox. Powered by the Fuji Heavy Industries’ masterpiece, the horizontally opposed 2.0 litre turbocharged boxer EJ powerplant is a step above many in the same category, combining all-wheel drive technology and marked improvements over its GD-chassis predecessor; a slightly longer wheelbase and including for the first time; framed windows to reduce noise, vibration. Even with all the changes, the vehicle’s weight remains relatively close to the previous generation Impreza’s weight.
Featured here is Tyron’s Impreza S-GT, which focuses on maintaining the overall well-being and integrity of the “Scooby”, while giving it a little more “oomph” to dent the pride in other turbocharged rivals, while retaining the convenience of an automatic, as well as ferrying the family around on the weekends. Starting with the K&N Typhoon air intake system that helps the boxer to breathe better at higher RPMs in a spirited run. Exhaust gas is pushed out in larger volumes, along with a sweet bass-like tune through a legally-approved Fujitsubo catback exhaust system. With these in place, the engine mapping is then tuned by BMS Motorsports, a leading Subaru specialist in Singapore.
Engine temperatures are always an issue in any turbocharged engine, hence the various measures put in place to keep the various engine related components cool. Any overheating engine oil issues are eradicated, thanks to a HKS oil cooler, while exhaust gas temperature spinning the turbo is kept in check, with an AVO top-mounted intercooler. On the track while both engine and gearbox are being punished by rising temperatures, high revs and constant shifting, the Impreza S-GT’s automatic transmission is kept cool and lubricated with the help of an installed automatic transmission fluid cooler. Since the EJ-powerplant remains in relatively stock condition, there was no need for an enlarged radiator, hence Tyron opted for a simpler solution; a Zerosports’ cooling plate, that helps direct more air to the radiator’s face.
The undercarriage is where most of the work is being done. Focusing strongly on handling, Tyron fitted his S-GT with a seemingly non-exhaustive list of goodies, starting from the coilover, which will be handling the bulk of cornering work. APi Racing RSR Coilovers replace the S-GT’s stock pliable suspension for a firm, not bone-jarring ride that fits the bill for daily driving. Getting another dose of APi Racing treatment, Tyron’s Impreza S-GT stops on command with large APi Racing 6-piston calipers up front and 4-piston calipers at the back, giving the car an increase in overall braking stability.
Complementing it is an extravagant menu of Cusco’s tested and proven handling equipment; from thick sway bars to strut bars and undercarriage braces. After the deletion of more stock flimsy stock items that just wouldn’t suffice for track usage, a good measure of Alutec’s front tower bar, Ultra Racing’s fender brace was added. and fine-tuned with premium Zerosports’ ball joint extenders and lowered roll centre adjusters, along with Whiteline’s anti-lift kit and bushings. These are all finally put down to the ground, with maximum contact from Continental ContiSport Contact 3 tyres, worn over 18” matte black Prodrive GC12 rims.
The exterior remains relatively stock-looking in nature, with the exception of APi Racing decals that are worn over the side of the vehicle. The impression that Tyron wanted to deliver was a simple, clean yet hunkered boxer machine that gave a good street vibe instead of exuding a “pimped-up” racer impression. Lowered to just about the right clearance for prowling the streets, Tyron has no issues with clearing major car parks throughout the island.
The interior gets a little upgrade with the basic tracking necessities that help the driver monitor critical information that he needs. Defi’s VSD-X provides a fighter pilot’s cockpit HUD (Heads Up Display) that shows speed, rev and other knick-knacks, mounted in front of the driver, while the Apexi AVCR Boost Controller allows for electronic control of boost with its easy to-dial-in buttons. Finally, a GReddy Touch Infometer provides even more critical temperature information in coloured digital format.
Tyron’s Impreza S-GT is a fine example of how the performance-tuned automatic can get the job done; both on the track and on the street. In a Singaporean’s reality of rising prices and stagnantly high COE (Certificate Of Entitlement), it is important in finding the correct ride of doing multiple tasks well, while still up to the job of performing the weekend trackday with no qualms.
Subaru Impreza S-GT
K&N Typhoon Air Intake System, Fujitsubo Catback Exhaust System, HKS Oil Cooler, AVO Top Mount Intercooler, Automatic Transmission Fluid Cooler, Zerosports Cooling Plate, ECU Tuning by BMS Motorsports
APi Racing RSR Coilovers, APi Racing Brake Kit (F: 6-Pot/R: 4-Pot), Cusco Sway Bars, Cusco Rear Strut Bar, Cusco Undercarriage Brace, Alutec Front Tower Bar, Ultra Racing Fender Brace, Zerosports Ball Joint Extenders, Zerosports Roll Centre Adjusters, Whiteline Anti-Lift Kit, Whiteline Steering Rack Support, Whiteline Bushings, Continental ContiSport Contact 3 Tyres
18” Prodrive GC12 Matte Black Rims
Apexi AVCR Boost Controller, GReddy Touchscreen Infometer, Defi VSD X, Defi Oil Temperature & Oil Press Gauges
Text by Aaron Hia
Pictures by Bryan Law & Peter Lee / Metamorphosis Production