Thursday, December 14, 2006

Scoobie DOO!!

Yup... I STILL haven't bothered to take pictures of my 2006 WRX even after owning it for 5k miles a few months.

So, now that I've been driving it for a while and it's fairly broken in (finally on full synth motor oil), what do I think? Yeah, it was a good buy since I'm definitely using what its got. I'm using all 5 seats from time to time despite the smallish area in the back. And the gearbox is finally quite a bit smoother with much less of the initial crunchiness that most car journalists complained about. The 1-2 shift is still fairly crunchy though, not nearly as smooth as my Eagle Talon. I get no complaints about noise in the car... the engine is nice and quiet, ride is smooth and comfy without being too floaty or too harsh over bumps.

I've learned a lot about customization possibilities for the 06 WRX. It is a platform ripe with options and community support, not to mention cost is relatively low.

First installed item was a set of fender braces from Offensive Power. They're pretty much chassis reinforcement in the form of thick rolled steel bars replaced factory stamped steel wafers that are thin enough for me to bend without much effort.

They immediately stiffened the front end of the car and made it ride significantly better over rough pavement and feel more secure and predictable in the front. My brother said it got rid of "background noise" in the steering and handling. Well, it pretty much did that... with that "noise" being the sensation of chassis flex and warp coming back through the steering which is pretty communicative.

Power-wise, I'm looking forward to the near future. Hopefully, I'll be slapping a K&N filter with some tuning on a open source engine computer flash/logging utility ( and a nice downpipe with a QTP electric exhaust cutout. Currently, the car has plenty of power for passing though low-end throttle lag from the throttle-by-wire system does suck. A flash of the ECU should take care of that though. My brother still has not adapted to the lag of the throttle and still burns the clutch from time to time.

Handling is pretty well suited to what I want. The ability to fly through Manhattan streets with rally-bred precision and poise. The stock suspension seems to soak up the bumps pretty darn well. The response of the engine with the AWD drivetrain is pretty addictive. Mash and go... mash and go. No worrying about massive wheelspin, you know the car will grip and go.

I think with some more chassis bracing, sway bars, and the downpipe and maybe an Ebay top-mount intercooler, I think I'll be able to achieve near STi levels of power without any of the harshness of a real STi. I may even bite the bullet later and slap a fuel pump with a nice Mitsubishi turbocharger and equal length header to increase power and response well beyond factory STi levels.

And unlike the MINI, the interior feels solid and well-made with nice accents. Unlike the 7, the controls are ALL intuitive. And it doesn't need DSC. I'm definitely looking forward to comparing it to a 3 series.


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