I'm sticking this here but if a mod wants to move it to another section feel free.
As some of you may know, I stripped and part exchanged the FN2 a couple of weeks ago and picked up this:
I'd had the FN2 for over three years and done a fair few mods to it. I was starting to get to the point where it pretty much felt that it was the "complete car" in that it all worked as it should, went, stopped and cornered like it should and if I was going to start adding more power or making it handle any better I would be taking away from it still being such a useable car with it still being my daily drive.
Before I got the FN2 in 2010 I was looking at Subaru STi hatchbacks, but at the time the FN2 seemed to fit my needs much more. Fast forward 3 years and the little niggle of a craving for some boost from the factory was still there and I started to look around again.
I looked at Evos but was put off by stories of SST failures on the Evo X, a friend had one and didn't get along with it as he said it was pretty "ordinary" to drive and it needed an AYC pump recon in his ownership. Finding a standard Evo 8 or 9 was pretty much an impossible task and they were all getting pretty high mileage which from reading on MLR seemed to be a way of storing up problems for me the potential new owner.
This pretty much left Subaru STis and Renault Sport Megane RS250s on the list.
I test drove a Oyster Grey RS250 FF Cup and although it was nice, I didn't get overly excited by it. I got the impression I'd be remapping it straight away and I didn't want to be spending that amount of money on a car that I wasn't happy with from the off.
I then went to look at a couple of Impreza STi Hatchbacks on 08 plates. The first was black and advertised as superb condition but in reality was an absolute dog. It had £10k worth of tick box options on it which the dealer dutifully used to justify the frankly absurd £15k asking price. I didn't even test drive it. The second hatch was similarly spec'd in WR Blue, 6 months older, slightly lower mileage and with a similar price tag. It felt quick but far too soft on the road as a performance car. There was quite a lot of body roll and it dove on the brakes, although it seemed to glide down the road.
I was now in a dilemma. Nothing seemed to stack up to the car I was thinking of parting way with.
I did some more reading and found an Evo review of the WRX STi saloon. In late 2010 Subaru bowed to consumer pressure and released the saloon version of the STi and dropped the Impreza name. Along with the introduction of the saloon, the suspension and drivetrain were upgraded to that of the Jap only Spec C car, but the UK car retained the 2.5 engine. This was sounding more promising.
So off I trotted to a Lexus dealership in Yorkshire for a test drive in the closest saloon I could find. The previous owner had traded it in against a Lexus IS-F. It turned out to be a cracker.
The day of the test drive, I went over in the FN2 so I could get a part ex price, explaining that my car would be being put back to standard. It was less than I'd been offered previously but I managed to haggle the salesman down £700 from the screen price and I even got a full tank out of the deal too.
I decided after the drive this was the car for me and left a deposit. I'd managed to get it for the lowest price I've seen one go for so far. Sign of the times maybe, but it's still the cheapest by about £1,200 I've seen. 60 plate, 34k and full service history for just under £17k.
Then began the agonizing two week wait to get the car in at Grinspeed to get the mods stripped off and the car ready to be handed over. Stevie and Lee were fantastic during the two days that it took. They both worked flat out and kept me topped up with brews and banter.
So back over to Yorkshire after spending two days in a unit in Leyland I found myself sat in the Lexus dealership again on a Wednesday morning.
The drive home was an odd mixture of excitement with the new car and guilt I suppose, that I'd just left the car I'd spent the last 3 years with and had so many adventures with behind.
Pic from a short stop off on the way back:
The plan at the moment is to leave the car pretty much standard for now.
I've had rear parking sensors fitted because I've had them on my last couple of cars and have gotten used to having them there:
Over the weekend I fitted some JDM OE wind deflectors, direct from the manufacturer in Australia, so they carry their branding rather than Subarus
Little video of the ignition stage 2 procedure:
Subaru WRX STi Saloon Dash Sequence - YouTube
I've still only done around 600 miles in it, but I'm really chuffed with it. It does everything on FN2 did but without any of the parts of it that annoyed me.
I've realised it is a little bit quicker than the FN2 now I've figured out the shift points and got my head round not having to wring it to the red line all the time. It's come alive a bit more now I've run it a bit too. I get the feeling it might have been stood for a couple of months before I bought it. Anywhere from 2.5k and up it's just relentlessly quick, and it makes a lovely noise without being loud and brash about it like the FN2. On the motorway it's just effortless. Easy overtakes, quiet and very stable. The whole car feels very solid.
When I first got it I was booting it round roundabouts and generally being a bit lairy with it. I've learned that with the way it picks up, it's better to part throttle and that way the diffs work better and the car feels more balanced. It's incredibly well damped for how stiff the springs are. You get very little body roll, but it still manages to just soak up bumps.
The stereo is a massive improvement over what I've been used to. 10 speakers, USB, bluetooth with HFT and media link to your phone or iPod. It's a better stereo than what I've got in the house.
It's got factory HIDs, rear privacy glass, half leather Recaros, Brembos, 7 way adjustable centre diff, 3 way adjustable throttle mapping, 2 stage traction control, rear seats are 60/40 split folding which surprised me with it being a saloon.
Jayne and the lad both think it's great, although James has taken to telling me to, "Be careful daddy," when he's in the car with me.
Picture I took last night:
It took 51.5 litres to fill it, so there were still 8.5 litres in the tank. Not too bad. Works out at around 26.5 mpg and was my normal mixture of motorway, A and B roads on the commute and a few work journeys.