2013 Revolution Project STI Nurburgring review

Revolution chases a Nurburgring lap record with its heavily tuned two-door Subaru Impreza STI

Evo rating
Price
from £71,994
  • Thrilling, unique, solidly engineered
  • Unforgiving suspension on the road, price

What is it?

This is the Project STI Nurburgring, built by Revolution in Gateshead. The deleted rear doors and wide-arch treatment (wider than a Subaru Impreza 22B’s) form part of a colossal list of modifications that deliver a car intended to break Tommi Makinen’s Nordschleife lap record for a production Subaru. His Impreza was also modified, to be fair, but beating Tommi’s 7:55 lap is still a big challenge.

Technical highlights?

It takes four months for Revolution to build a car like this and it hopes to sell ten at £59,995 plus VAT, or for £20k less if you provide a car and standard engine. Based on a Japanese-spec STI (stronger blocks, Revolution says), the Project STI has 508bhp and 500lb ft when set to its maximum boost level of 1.9bar (Makinen’s car had 320bhp). It retains four-wheel drive, has a lighter body (carbon bonnet, aluminium boot, thinner glass), and uses Cosworth’s 2.2 stroker kit, billet crank and conrods.

Tein ProFlex coilovers are fitted with EDFC in-car-adjustable shocks. All the bushes have been uprated, as have the anti-roll bars and strut braces, and there are Tarox brakes all round. The ABS has been removed to save weight, while 255/30 Yokohama AD08 tyres wrap 19in OZ Superturismo LM wheels.

What's it like to drive?

Intense and thrilling. Right from when it fires up with a hard, chainsaw-like roar. Reach for the tall, extended gearlever, shift it a couple of inches left-and-up and you’re in first. The abrupt Exedy multiplate carbon clutch and zingy throttle response make for a tricky getaway, but once on the move you’re faced with deliciously urgent responses. There’s a little lag, then a strong, rabid kick all the way to 7250rpm, and gearshifts that can be punched home fast. The engine is very special indeed: tractable, charismatic, smooth, powerful and with a wail more BDA than boxer.

The pedal layout invites heel-and-toe and there’s little to criticise in terms of braking power or feel, but the absence of ABS focuses the mind (Revolution will keep it if you want). Turn-in is fast, with little sense of the over-elastic self-centring that blights modern stock Imprezas. An almost total lack of roll is disconcerting at first, especially if you ‘use’ roll to assess grip levels. But accept that the grip is available, get back hard on the gas and you feel a tiny degree of power understeer followed by a brutally effective neutrality where the car just digs in and goes. It’s not unlike a GT-R, albeit one with a slightly slower (human) gearshift.

The coilover suspension is stiff even on its softest setting. Progress on bumpy B-roads is restricted by the abruptness of the set-up, but few cars could keep up on smooth tarmac. It needs a precise and fast driving style, though; prevaricate and it makes clumsy progress.

How does it compare?

The Revolution Project STI Nurburgring is priced at £71,994 in the UK - equivalent to buying a brand new Porsche 911 Carrera, Nissan GT-R, or BMW M5. Prospective buyers will have ignored such relatively pragmatic choices, though, and have their heart set on a wildly tuned and uber-rare (if not unique) special like this Impreza.

Anything else I need to know?

Overall, the Revolution Project STI is as focused as you’d expect for a car developed to conquer the Nürburgring. It’s a hand-built, extreme, focused and entertaining weapon of speed. It’s hard to ignore the narrow customer appeal or the price, but it’s still compelling. The record attempt will take place in late spring. We’ll be watching with interest.

Specifications

EngineFlat-four, 2135cc, turbocharged
Max power508bhp @ 3700-7250rpm
Max torque500lb ft @ 4800rpm
0-60sub-4sec (estimated)
Top speed170mph+ (estimated)
On saleNow, limited to 10

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