Ever heard the saying, "Appearances can be deceiving"? Check out the Impreza CZS Type-Z built by Subaru tuning specialist Zero/Sports for an example of that. You wouldn't give it a second glance if you walked past it at a car show because as it initially looks like a regular GRB Impreza. But take a second to check out its profile, and that's when things don't seem to add up.
Based on the Japanese Impreza Anesis sedan, this is a complete custom build, a car that Zero/Sports decided to create for the simple reason that Subaru hasn't thought about it yet. Subaru has been criticized for moving away from the sedan shape, not that the new hatchback hasn't been well received, quite the contrary actually. But the real hardcore fans of the Impreza WRX STI just can't forget the bloodline, the roots of which has come to be such an iconic car around the world. We thought Zero/Sports hit the nail on the head with this car, so we headed over to Gifu prefecture, just north of Nagoya, Japan, to check out the world's only GRB WRX STI sedan.
It's funny, as soon as you see the CZS Type-Z you can't help but think it makes total sense. It doesn't look out of the ordinary, it's precisely what a WRX STI should look like. This is a testament to Zero/Sports' flawless work in building this one-off creation from something that started off with a simple idea and a few sketches. The plan was not to go overboard on the project by making it too extreme but instead create something factory-looking, just like the car had rolled out of Subaru's warehouse.
A base four-door sedan Impreza Anesis was sourced and stripped down ready to receive the STI conversion, which started up front with the bumper. Wanting to showcase its own GRB products, Zero/Sports fitted its front bumper, which features a more aggressive design with a large central opening and a pair of air intakes and outlets. A Zero/Sports lip spoiler was also thrown on, helping with stability at high speed. Wider STI front fenders were then slightly modified and fitted, lining up perfectly with the front door line. The stock hood was then swapped out for an STI one with the signature air scoop. Completing the front-end conversion are the STI headlights, which on top of the HID projectors sport a meaner look thanks to a black housing, highlighting their aggressive design.
It was then on to the rear, where the majority of the work had to be done; a simple swap of the rear fenders from the hatchback just wasn't going to work. To create a factory look, blistering of this rear area required a lot of thought because the widening would have to start from the rear doors and end on the rear bumper. Zero/Sports tried to imagine how Subaru would have done it if they created a sedan version of the STI, and with this, the crew went to work.
The doors were shaped and widened following the general round shape of the rear wheel arches, initiating a smooth but progressive increase in width that seamlessly moves on to the rear fenders. There is no FRP to be seen here, everything is done with metal to ensure the best possible quality and finish, just like one would expect on a factory car. The rear Anesis bumper had to be slightly widened to meet with the rear end's increased dimensions. To tie everything in together, Zero/Sports created a set of angular side skirts, as well as some under spoilers for the rear bumper. The overall result oozes quality, so much so that nobody would ever think this was a custom creation. Even the inside part of the rear doors was carefully finished with the same type of sealant used by Subaru. The CZS Type-Z rides on 19-inch Yokohama Advan RS-D, which do a great job of filling up the wider dimension of the Impreza.
Zero/Sports had no intention of leaving the conversion at an aesthetic level, so it's no surprise that once you lift the hood you're greeted with a JDM-spec STI EJ20. The motor was taken from the donor GRB Zero/Sports acquired and dropped into the Anesis without much drama. All of the ancillaries were also transplanted over and joined by pretty much everything from the Zero/Sports catalog.
Helping the engine breathe easier is Zero/Sports' super direct flow kit, coupled to the carbon intake that channels air from the center grille to the filter. On the exhaust side, Zero/Sports fitted a custom one-off manifold, created to help exhaust gases flow faster, helping spool the turbocharger quicker for reduced lag and better throttle response. Joining it is a free-flowing sports catalyst ending with the custom stainless steel system. Also helping to boost response is the Zero/Sports WRC lightweight crank pulley, which is one of its best-selling products. Helping take advantage of the mechanical modifications, Zero/Sports fitted its SP Data R Type 1 ECU, which was remapped to boost power and torque. Both are up considerably with 373 hp being developed as low as 5900 rpm and peak torque coming in at 4500 rpm with a very healthy 382 ft-lbs. On top of the EJ20 swap, Zero/Sports also transplanted the STI 6-speed manual transmission, along with the Zero/Sports clutch kit and lightened flywheel.
Power is nothing without handling, and Zero/Sports knows this after years of running its blistering fast time attack GDB at circuits around Japan. The CZS Type-Z was therefore fitted with a prototype version of the company's new adjustable suspension, tuned to offer a good compromise between fast road and circuit driving.
The final part of the STI transformation happened in the interior, where STI half-leather adjustable bucket seats replace the stock Anesis chairs. Zero/Sports even fitted the STI main dash instrumentation for that true STI feel.
Zero/Sports plans to use this one-off four-door STI sedan as its main promotional car, having already participated in a few time attack events this year (like the Tsukuba Hyper Challenge). The quality of work and subtleness of the conversion is what scores high in our books, exemplifying perfectly what top-level tuning and customization is all about.
Specs & Details
Subaru Impreza CZS TYPE-Z
EJ20 transplant; Zero/Sports titanium exhaust manifold (prototype), super metal front pipe, catalyst, exhaust system (prototype), WRC 15th anniversary crank pulley, carbon intake box, carbon battery cover, carbon fuse box cover, carbon intake cover, carbon power-steering tank cover, carbon belt cover, super direct flow kit, 1.3K radiator cap, low-temp thermostat, silicone radiator hoses, Cool LLC radiator fluid, Cool Radiator radiator shroud, Cool Action II intercooler air-guide shroud, Zero SP Titanium R 10W-50 oil, V-Effector earthing kit, SP Data R Type 1 ECU
STI 6-speed (TY85); Zero/Sports chromoly lightweight flywheel, sports clutch kit, SP Titanium Gear TB 80W-120 transmission fluid, SP Titanium Gear B 80W-120 differential fluid
Wheels & Tires
Yokohama Advan Racing RS-D 9Jx19 (f/r), Yokohama Advana Neova AD-08 245/35/R19
STI seat conversion, STI instrumentation conversion