Spanning the mid-noughties to the beginning of the 2010s was a fierce battle to create the very best Japanese performance saloon. Though this era is now long gone, might the limited-run Impreza S209 offer a glimpse of what used to be? In this week’s car pictures from issue 272, we stack it up against its next best rival from AMG.
Both sport four doors, have four cylinders, send power to all four wheels and come with seating for, you guessed it, four adults. Might their similarities go deeper still? Our initial impressions of the new A45 S were that it offers an experience not dissimilar to the one you find in a noughties Japanese saloon, with enough power to concern a supercar of three times its value and dynamic abilities to match.
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Despite its mere 2-litre capacity, Affalterbach’s boffins managed to extract an incredible 415bhp and 369lb ft of torque from its turbocharged unit, making it the highest specific output production four-pot ever made.
Though down on the AMG, numbers from the Subaru certainly aren’t anything to be ashamed of, with the addition of a larger HKS turbocharger, uprated fuel injectors and a new induction system raising output to 341bhp and 330lb ft of torque. Are these modifications enough to match the razor-sharp power plant of the A45?
One place the Mercedes undoubtedly beats the Subaru is inside, with endless tech, luxurious materials and enough ambient lighting options to satiate any influencer’s Instagram needs. Though admittedly pleasant to have in some circumstances, might the Mercedes have benefited from the use of Subaru’s more minimal approach?
Read our full verdict in evo issue 272, out now.
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Car pictures of the week: archive
Below are some of our favourite images from previous editions of evo car pictures of the week. Click on the pictures for the full galleries.
Click below to see all the images of our first car pictures of the week gallery, here featuring the indomitable Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, mk1 Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 and the stunning Porsche 911 re-imagined by Singer.
Here we dig further back into the evo archives where we pull out some iconic images of the Ford GT slightly out of context in the European Alps, a TVR Sagaris in central London, the Audi RS2 as well as one of our most iconic twin tests between the Ferrari 599 GTO and Lexus LF-A.
The previous-generation Bentley Continental GT seemed to get better with age, a notion mirrored by the Jaguar E-type when in modern ‘lightweight’ form. Both of these British icons, as well as the Aston Martin Vantage GT12 feature in gallery three.
Fans might have cried fowl when Ferrari decided to turbocharge the Ferrari 488, but it’s not like Ferrari don’t have a history with turbocharged V8 engines. Here the 488 co-stars alongside the stunning F40, while elsewhere in this gallery we take a Porsche Cayman GTS to Japan for a stunning mountain blast.
Italian twelve-cylinder supercars seem to be the main agenda in the fourth evo car pictures of the week gallery, here featuring four V12 Lambos and the stunning 599 SA Aperta limited edition alongside its 550 Barchetta predecessor.
A gallery of new and old, here the McLaren 720S cemented its place as a truly great supercar alongside a daring night shoot with an Audi R8 LMX, pitch a Nissan GT-R and Audi Quattro against each other on Welsh mountain roads and drive the original 'Hakosuka' GT-R.
Ford's RS200 in a moody dark garage is just one of many amazing shoots in our 8th gallery, click on the image for the full gallery
Click on the image below for our ninth car pictures of the week gallery, including this hardcore lot!
Our tenth gallery turned it up another notch, including the wettest shoot in history (apparently).
The best hardcore Ferrari supercars and more feature in our 11th car pictures of the week gallery.