With the impressive number of turbo kits on the market and new interest from the OE side, there seems to be a resurgence in the public's interest in turbos. The theme of our August issue was "Bolt-on Boost." The cover story featured specs and stats on a grip of turbo kits-with most of them being put to the test on the dyno. Since that article, we have driven a turbocharged Celica, a turbocharged Subaru Impreza, turbo Maxima and a supercharged Focus. The Impreza kit was from HKS and the rally bred RS had 13,000 miles on the clock. The car, or more precisely the driveline, felt as if there were 113,000 miles on it; this test mule had definitely been tossed about. However, the turbo-enhanced engine ran like a scared wolf-no hesitation, no complaint. HKS plans to base the availability of the kit on consumer response.
The unfortunate side of the kit brings us to the other aspect of turbos-the car makers. Subaru plans to bring a factory turbocharged Impreza to the States in the 2001 model year, which may hinder the chances of it seeing production. If you are a pre-2001 Impreza pilot in search of boost call HKS at (310) 763-9600. The 2001 Impreza, which is due to hit the streets in late 2000, is motivated by a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed, turbocharged and intercooled, four-cylinder engine rated at 215 hp. The car will be available only in four-door sedan and wagon body styles, no coupe.
Along with Subaru, Chrysler-yes Chrysler-will step up to boost by offering its PT Cruiser with a factory turbocharged four cylinder. The rumor mill is spitting out gems by the dozen. One tantalizing tidbit that is perfect, considering the Diamond Star cover theme of this issue, has Dodge unleashing a 4G63-powered Neon. That is right, the new Neon R/T will supposedly flex 2.0-liter Diamond Star turbo power. It should be noted that Daimler Chrysler is in negotiations to acquire 34-percent ownership of Mitsubishi, which only adds fuel to the fire of this rumor. Let's see-the PT Cruiser is based on the Neon platform and it's getting a turbo; why not the sporty Neon? The PR types at Chrysler "can't confirm or deny the rumor at this time." This phrase is as familiar to a PR person as the Miranda rights are to a policeman. Anyway, I told them to file the 4G63 Neon under the "must do" category.
Ford is also well represented when it comes to future car speculation. There is a rally inspired turbocharged, all-wheel-drive Focus slated for release in Europe. There is a Cosworth R test mule running around Detroit somewhere, but Ford's PR crew said the odds of any pressurized Focus seem rather long. The Blue Oval boys are selling the Focus like hotcakes, so why confuse the issue? We say, why not?
One thing that's for sure, the next 12 to 18 months are shaping up to be quite interesting.
HKS will be monitoring consumer response to determine whether it will offer its turbo kit for the Subaru Impreza. If you want one, call them. Or look for a factory turbo Impreza in the 2001 model year.
The PT Cruiser is slated to be turbocharged in the future. It's built on the Neon platform...hmmm.
Ford Focus. Don't expect a factory-pressurized version soon. But heck, there are plenty of kits in the aftermarket. Boosting is easy.