We picked up the preproduction 2.5GT at Subaru of America, Inc. headquarters in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Having three-and-a-half days to spend time with the two cars, we split the time as anyone would – 24 hours and approximately 100 miles with the 2.5GT and the rest of the time (and 540 miles) with the WRX.
The black 2.5GT waiting for me and those traveling with me to attend the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series race near Millville, New Jersey, was a 4-door. Although the wheels are different from those on the 2.5i, the stance seemed similar. We were surprised at the space in the car’s trunk, in which we stored a large cooler along with other cargo.
Inside, we were met with different upholstery – smoother, enabling occupants to slide in and out easier. Other differences from my 2.5i included heated seats and a revised console tray. I’m also not used to having an automatic transmission in an Impreza, although my family Legacy has the same SPORTSHIFT shifter.
At first, the air temperature was only in the 70s. Cooling the air through the automatic climate control system made the black interior more comfortable, especially when the days grew hotter. Once set, there was no need to fiddle with system adjustments, and the three of us in the car were all well cooled.
I tend to use SPORTSHIFT only when downshifting to help slow the car. The shifter pops over to the left, then gears down the transmission by pulling back on the lever. The driver can keep track of the selected gear by a display in the instrument panel, under the center-mounted tachometer. (That was another difference from the 2.5i, in which the speedometer is mounted in the center of the panel.)
The most noticeable aspect of the interior is the quiet. There is little audible Subaru rumble from the 2.5GT engine – a lot less than from my 2.5i, for instance.
Driving the car, the suspension feels firmer than the 2.5i. But there’s still plenty of give over road bumps. Tight cornering is OK, but I wanted more.
The dominant impression from the 2.5GT is how spritely it felt – a light vehicle with a powerful engine. Excellent for long distances, it can squirt through traffic and corner with assurance. You know there’s a lot more under foot if you need it. The 2.5GT is a great travel car.