The second limited edition STI based on the GD Impreza was the S203. It was the final and ultimate version of the Impreza with blobeye front. While the S202 was focused on the highest on-road performance, the S203 was developed to give the vehicle a more premium, high quality feel while still having performance capabilities.
On the exterior a few, subtle additional STI parts were used such as a carbon front spoiler and 2-way adjustable carbon rear spoiler. 18″ forged BBS in gunmetal color gave the car a premium look. These wheels were wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tires. The tire and wheel combination saved around 1.5 kilogram per corner versus regular WRX STI. The available white, gray, red and blue exterior colors were the same as could be had on other Impreza models.
Having a look into the interior, the seats are the first thing that stand out. New, Recaro developed, seats with a carbon back shell and light gray alcantara seat skin give the interior a more upmarket feel. Even though it are bucket seats, there is a reclining mechanism operated by a rotating knob. Recaro also sold the seats separately. Only 55 sets for a price of 555 000 Yen each.
Under the hood, the EJ20 engine made again 320 horsepower at 6400 rpm but due to the change of the turbocharger, the torque made a jump up. Instead of the 384 Nm of the S202, the S203 had 422 Nm of torque. A new ECU ensured the torque delivery was smooth all over the rpm range. STI selected the best engine components such as conrod and pistons, they balanced the crankshaft and then assembled the engine on a separate assembly line to STI standards.
The rear suspension had ball jointed links like the S202 also had and the rear stabilizer bar was thicker to enhance turning performance. Specially STI tuned dampers (4-way adjustable) with lowdown springs (-15 mm) were used for the new suspension set-up which promised to be a stable and secure driving experience.
As the price of the regular Impreza WRX STI had jumped up to well over 3 Million Yen by 2005, it was to be expected that the S203 also had become more expensive than the S202. Though the 4.6 Million Yen price was steep, especially because the exclusivity versus the S202 had also dropped. While the S202 costed 3.6 Million Yen and was limited to 400 units, the S203 was made available 555 times.
Soon after the S203 was released, there was a facelift for the GD Impreza. Most noticeable is the more sharp front facia due to which this facelifted version is often called Hawkeye. Subaru released the S204 based on the Hawkeye GD Impreza, but the upgraded parts used were mostly S203 parts. In short, a S203 in a newer jacket. The seats, foglamp covers and rear spoiler for example, are parts that slightly differed from the S203. The launch of the S204 was exactly one year after the S203. This time round the model was limited to 600 units at a price of 4.8 Million Yen. Some of the 600 units have been sold outside Japan.
Click on the picture below to see the S203, S204 and other Impreza versions per year and detailed specifications such as weight, new price and equipment for each version in the Goo-net.com catalog.