Here's Why the Subaru Impreza 22B Is the $100,000 Ultimate Subaru

Here's Why the Subaru Impreza 22B Is the $100,000 Ultimate Subaru

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this is a 1998 subaru impreza 22b and it is generally considered to be the ultimate high-performance subaru it was built in insanely small numbers with some incredibly special details and it was never offered for sale in north america but here i am in north america and today i'm going to review this 22b
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[Music] before i get started be sure to check out cars and bids which is my new online car auction website for modern enthusiast cars we're the best place to buy and sell anything cool from the 1980s and up we have some amazing stuff live being auctioned right now like this and this and this and this so check out cars and bids cars and bids.com
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by clicking the link in the description below i've borrowed this 22b from a viewer here in san diego and i'm going to start with a little overview now the subaru impreza came out in 1992 and it was a popular compact car and it soon became a successful rally car earning many rally victories to celebrate this success subaru came out with a high performance version of the road car impreza called the impreza wrx soon after subaru made an even higher
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performance version called the sti and there were various special editions here and there but this was the ultimate special edition the 22b which was offered in 1998. only 400 units were sold in japan plus a handful in other markets and subaru claims they sold out within a few hours of announcing that it would be going on sale it was the ultimate impreza for ultimate subaru fans the 22b was designed to commemorate
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subaru's 40th anniversary and its continued rally success and it had a lot of major changes compared to any other impreza for one thing it has a wider body so it looks a lot different but it wasn't just that it also had more power better suspension better brakes bigger turbos and an adjustable rear wing combine that with the insanely low production numbers and you have the ultimate impreza these days really nice
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22b models like this sell for huge money over a hundred thousand dollars or more for a 25 year old subaru as the allure of collectible japanese cars starts to grow and today i'm going to review this 22b and show you around the ultimate impreza first i'm going to take you on a tour of it and show you all of its interesting quirks and features then i'm going to get it out on the road and drive it and then i'll give it a dug score
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all right i'm going to start the quirks and features of the 22b by going over some of the stuff that makes the 22b different from the regular impreza or the wrx and sti models of that era and that means starting with the fenders the 22b has wider fenders than the regular impreza both in front and in back and you can see just how much they stick out compared to the door it adds more than three inches to the width of this car now i never really got what made the 22b
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cool looking until i saw it in person and really got a handle on how wide these fenders are they look awesome this is like the e30 bmw m3 of the subaru world with these flared fenders that were pretty much the same as the ones that were installed on the rally car of the period beyond the fenders the 22b also got some other bodywork changes over the standard impreza and even over the sti some of which are visible up here one is the hood not only do you have this giant hood scoop all the high
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performance impreza models from this era had that but you also have these two little vents and their positioning and design is unique to the 22b and it's the same situation with the front bumper and grill area up here all the high performance impreza models from this era had something more aggressive but the 22b had something a little different the design is different from the other imprezas so it could be distinguished from the lesser more common models and the changes continue around here where you have different wheels than the standard wrx
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and sti in fact these were 17s compared to 16s in the sti of the period you also had better suspension now the regular sti already had better suspension than the regular impreza but this had better better suspension made by bilstein for even better performance and handling on the racetrack the 22b models also got better brakes improved larger better stopping power and red painted brake calipers to signify their betterness and next up we move around to the back where there are a few
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interesting items back here one is the badging or rather the lack of badging no giant subaru badge or impreza across the back all you have is this little rectangle in the corner that says simply 22b sti subaru impreza that was all you needed to say now as for the car's name 22b believe it or not there's no confirmed explanation for what that means although most people believe it was 22 for the 2.2 liter engine
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and then b for the bilstein suspension that's why they called it that but there was no great official explanation on the car's name and since it's been 25 years the true reason is probably lost to time but that's what most people suspect now the other thing you have around back here the most obvious thing is this giant rear wing which was unique to the 22b model and another major indicator that what you were looking at was different from a regular impreza or wrx it's big and it's adjustable unfortunately not with the simple
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push of a button in the interior instead you have these little screws you can see you can adjust the wing for whatever driving you want that means you can't do it on the fly but if you have a preferred wing height set up for your specific favorite race track you can adjust it before going out on the track and next up we move under the hood in the 22b where you can see this car's engine 2.2 liter turbocharged flat 4 but unfortunately we don't have a good idea of exactly how much power it was rated to produce from the
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factory that's because all the really high performance japanese cars from this era were subject to something called the gentlemen's agreement where all the japanese car companies got together and agreed not to publish any horsepower numbers more than 276 horsepower the thinking was in order to curb street racing and fast driving in one upping all top performance japanese cars would have 276 horsepower so
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the wrx from this era has 276 horsepower the sti got some more engine tuning to go faster and yet it has 276 horsepower and then the 22b got more engine tuning and a larger engine on top of that and yet it has 276 horsepower it's not known what the real figure is but most people think probably somewhere between 300 and 320 horsepower for this car the 22b which was a lot for a vehicle that weighs only 2 900 pounds that's about
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the same horsepower rating of the sti currently but of course the car has gained a lot of weight with air bags and other equipment in the last 25 years now in addition to covering all the changes that made this into the 22b i also want to discuss quirks and features there are a couple of notable ones under the hood i love this decal that says tuned by sti you see that under your hood and you know your car was special but even better is the decal right above that first you have the sti logo then it says
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fuji heavy industries which was subaru's parent company and then below that it says aerospace division this part was so special it wasn't even made by the car division no no we had to call the aerospace people in to make it that is a cool label to see under the hood even though it's kind of stupid and next up we move inside the 22b and i'm gonna go over the interior quirks and features starting with the most obvious thing you see when you get in here the blue
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seats this car has these cool sport seats a little hole in the center for a racing harness they're nice and tight they grip you in corners they say sti in the middle i really like the look of these seats very 90s subaru sport seat design and it looks cool and next up another cool touch in this interior the bottom of the center console you have the plaque that signifies you have a 22b and you can see your car serial number is even printed on there out of 400 units like i mentioned they sold 400 of these
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in japan but they were also a handful mine for other markets too the uk australia those are all right hand drive markets though so all the 22bs were right hand drive there are no left hand drive versions of this car and next up moving around this interior you will quickly find that this car is unusually practical for a 100 plus collectible sports car for instance there's a little storage area above the center vent so you pop this open and you can put stuff there if you move over to the passenger side
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of the dashboard you have two glove boxes you can open up the upper part or you can open up the lower part the traditional glovebox location and put stuff there too there's all sorts of storage you also have a storage compartment to the right of the steering wheel between the steering wheel and the door this little thing opens up for even more storage there's a lot of different areas in here where you can stick stuff in fact this interior even has a cup holder in the center control stack it pulls out and you can see this is the world's most horrible cup holder
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it's very flimsy not very deep but it's there for practicality and it's worth noting there's even a second cup holder open up the center console and you can push these little plastic pieces to the side and form another cup holder so you could have multiple drinks being held in place as you drive around in your 22b a nice practical collectible car with that said there are also some less practical things in here for example the clock is only visible to the driver it's in the gauge cluster and you can see it's very
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small and in the driver's line of sight but not anywhere the passenger can see now it's worth noting if the passenger does want to know the time they can look in the middle and see the infotainment screen which is the only aftermarket part on this entire car it's especially notable because the infotainment system thinks that we're in tokyo as you can clearly see we are in japan on this thing that is when you know you have a real jdm car when you're sitting on this side of the interior and when your infotainment system
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thinks you're in tokyo now in this interior there are also a few high performancy features to mention one is over to the right of the steering wheel you have a button marked eye slash c water spray if you press this it will temporarily spray water on the intercooler in order to cool it down if you're on the race track things are getting hot you can cool it down for better engine performance amazingly next to that button there's a button marked water spray auto you can set the inner cooler water spray to turn on automatically so that when it detects
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that it's getting warm it will spray the inner cooler and you don't have to do it manually which is a pretty nice feature who knows if it actually has that much effect another cool performance car feature in here is in the center console where you have a little dial marked c diff this style allows you to control the focus of the center differential so you move it all the way to the top and lock it so that all four wheels are turning if you're in a low traction situation or you can kind of push the dial to the bottom and get power more to the rear wheels if you want to get the car a little bit
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more slidey and drifty and there's a little display in the gauge cluster that shows exactly what setting you have your center differential on you can see as i move the wheel it changes the display so you can know exactly what kind of traction you have set for your current driving situation and by the way speaking of the gauge cluster it's notable in its simplicity you can see there's not much to this a very simple old-school gauge cluster just makes it easy to see everything the tachometer right in the middle since that's the most important on the racetrack one interesting item in there you can
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see the gauge cluster only goes up to 180 kilometers an hour it's only about 110 miles per hour not a very fast speed for a performance car like this in fact the owner told me that this car is electronically limited to 200 kilometers per hour which is about 120 miles per hour again not all that fast for a car like this but that was pretty standard of japanese performance cars from this era as the japanese government made all these regulations on speed to try to cut down on fast driving and street racing
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and next up another interesting quirk in this interior is the floor mats which have this ridiculous liney design on them these kind of flowing lines throughout a very 90s look i also think on the driver's side floor mat this font that says impreza is ridiculous this is the least performance carry font i've ever seen in my entire life i suspect these mattes are just the same ones they used in the standard impreza with that said one thing they definitely upgraded is the door cells you open the door and you can see this metal sill that has subaru technica
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international embossed onto it it looks really cool a lot of modern expensive performance cars don't have door cells that look as cool as this subaru and next up we move on to the back seats in the 22b and yes despite the fact that this was the ultimate high performance impreza it has back seats because at its core subaru is practical now to get into the back seats you just fold the front seat forward pretty standard but then you have this little plastic piece that holds the front seat belt
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in place now this plastic piece makes it annoying to get into the back seat but that's not why i'm mentioning it i bring it up because if you look closely it has a nissan logo on it i don't think this plastic piece has been changed or modified instead i think subaru just borrowed it from nissan i just think they called up their buddies and said hey nissan subaru yeah how you doing oh yeah good good listen uh you got a plastic piece for the seat belt in front oh you do okay yeah just send that over and that's why we have
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this but anyway i'm going to climb into the back as i always do and once i'm back here i quickly discover that there's nothing really impressive to say you just have a back seat come in a lot of 90s cars there's nothing interesting or special back here the only interesting thing in the backseat of this car is that the owner has his paperwork here now all of this stuff is in japanese so i can't read it but check this out the 22b owner's manual supplement this is like the holy grail document that came
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with the holy grail impreza it would be very cool if i knew what it said and finally moving back outside the 22b for some more interesting quirks and features one is this rear wiper which is odd because you don't often see a rear wiper on a car with a trunk they're usually just for hatchbacks suvs vehicles with tailgates but it was fairly common on japanese cars in the 90s to have rear wipers on sedans and coupes like this and so this one does which could be nice
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to have but this rear wiper isn't my favorite item on the back window that honor goes to this little decal in the corner that says quick steering tuned by sti this decal is factory applied subaru put this on to brag about its quick steering tuned by sti thank you subaru for letting us know and next up we move on to the trunk in the 22b you open up the trunk you get back here and you can see it's just a fairly normal trunk nothing weird
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nothing interesting nothing unusual back here just a trunk you'd expect in an impreza and frankly a lot of this car is what you'd expect in an impreza the interior some of the bodywork turn signals tail lights the trunk and there's a reason for that which is of course this car started life as a normal impreza all the stis were just normal imprezas that were modified this was just an sti that was modified further so a lot of stuff just never got modified from the standard impreza so this car is kind of a weird mashup of
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really rare special pieces and stuff from a normal subaru economy car and by the way speaking of sti stuff on this car i wanted to highlight badging in two more places one on the front fender you have this little sti badge right in front of the doors which is a cool look and the other one is in the very front you have the fog light covers that say sti on them to me this is awesome to see north america did not get any sti models from this impreza generation so even these little badges are pretty
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cool apart from the fact that this is a 22b which is of course the coolest and so those are the quirks and features of the subaru impreza 22b now it's time to get it out on the road and see how it drives all right driving the 22 b and that means right hand drive which i'm not the biggest fan of obviously that's only because it isn't natural for me as an american used to left-hand drive but also i don't love shifting with my left hand of course i would get used to it but it's not that
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easy in the states to drive right-hand drive all right i'm going to give it a little gas here wow whoa it is fast fast i'm going to try that again wow yeah it is quick and it's a lot of fun oh man whoa wow okay it's just eager and peppy and that was a lot of fun i just kind of did a highway on when i didn't even really get
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going over the speed limit i'm going 130 kilometers that's not really that fast 70 75 um but a couple things i noticed one it's quick it it feels really really quick and that's partly because it has about the same power as a modern sti but it weighs a lot less and it's a lot happier you're lower to the ground you have more window you're less insulated everything just feels like it's rushing at you a little bit more and a little bit faster that's really cool the other thing is this car just has immense grip uh i feel like it's even
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grippier than my ford gt all-wheel drive a short wheelbase will do that to you you really have wheels at the corners in this car and the all-wheel drive and suspension's fantastic this currently has 25 000 kilometers so it really hasn't been driven much and it is a blast to drive on the highway too surprisingly comfortable surprisingly quiet uh reasonably easy to use i'm impressed with that this car is surprisingly quick uh
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very very surprisingly so i was not expecting it to feel this fast but it does even in fifth gear which is top gear for this car it feels fast love how this drives i just love how this drives i'm absolutely obsessed and i'm not like a subaru guy and i wasn't really expecting to like this all that much uh but it's just so exciting to toss around it's little and it's lively and it just wants to go and i think that in the states the the most powerful one
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we got in the states was the impreza 2.5 rs which was 165 horsepower naturally aspirant and it was quick and it was fun and it was little and lively but the problem was it didn't have that much power wasn't that quick well this thing solves that car's one big issue it's all that car is except wide body you know more grip better suspension and it's faster and it's more fun [Applause] if you watch my videos you'll know that this is the type of car that i most love a kind of 300-ish horsepower
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uh 90s kind of simple 2000s car the 993911 nsx s 2000 this a lot of others this is kind of my personal sweet spot so i'm obsessed with this it is a thrill and it's fast this car is fun and so lively and so peppy and you you just feel like it's smaller than modern cars and which of course it is and lower and the sensation of speed is greater and i actually think this is kind of really a
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and so that's the 1998 subaru impreza 22b these days 276 horsepower doesn't seem like a lot and a lot of modern cars could run circles around the 22b but for impreza fans and for subaru fans this was the ultimate car the very best version of the impreza from its early days as a rally legend these are incredibly hard to find and i'm
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thrilled that i had the chance to spend the day with a 22b and now it's time to give this car a doug score starting with the weekend categories and styling the 22b looks cool not beautiful but definitely exciting and well good and it gets a 6 out of 10. acceleration does 0 to 60 in 4.7 seconds so it gets a 6 out of 10. handling is sharp surprisingly so for a car this age and it gets a 6 out of 10. fun factor is excellent for a car like this it's a total blast for a vehicle based on an economy car and it gets a 6 out of 10.
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finally cool factor and it's very very cool it's the ultimate impreza see one of these at carson coffee and people will lose it and it gets an 8 out of 10 for a total weekend score of 32 out of 50. next up are the daily categories and features it doesn't have much and it gets a 2 out of 10. comfort is normal for a car like this and it gets a 5 out of 10. quality is fine i'm sure these are relatively reliable save for the whole head gasket thing and the interior's okay and it gets a five out of ten practicality is normal for a two-seat car with a decent back seat and it gets a four out of ten finally value these are special and rare
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and they're only going up but they also cost over a hundred thousand dollars that's just ridiculous money for a subaru so i'll split the difference here with a six out of ten for a total daily score of 22 out of 50. add it up and the doug score is 54 out of 100 which is really amazing the 22b lands here among other japanese performance icons near the top behind only the supra and the nsx among cars from this era and it ties the 2004 sti the 22b really is the ultimate impreza
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not just of the 1990s but ever the new model is better for daily use and gets a higher overall score it's more practical higher tech whatever but the 22b is more fun and i think it's the most thrilling impreza ever made you

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