Back in an STi!

03/23/2016

The time came for me to finally get back in to a fun car. I still LOVE my FXT, but its totally lacking in sporty fun factor. It’s almost there, but at the same time, is completely void of it all together.

I knew I didn’t want to get rid of my daily driver—I wanted to enjoy a dedicated fun car. This would preclude any need to always maintain the car since I’ll have another car to fall back on, and, it will make the car more enjoyable when I do actually take it out for a drive.

I no longer needed a hatchback for practicality, and didn’t even need 4 doors, which means I looked at a LOT of cars. I considered anything and everything.

I did a lot of research on the BRZ, even looked at a Cayman S (used, of course), even seriously looked in to the new Focus RS. None of them made me seriously contemplate a purchase, until I looked seriously at an Audi S3. It has a LOT going for it, too. But I knew I was paying more for luxury than I was for fun.

The stock motor was stout, but not a “holy cow this is fun” kind of feel. The steering wasn’t overly fun, the brakes weren’t incredible, and the throttle and transmission felt lacking in a few turns—it just didn’t respond when I gave it gas, or it didn’t shift exactly when I wanted it to. What it has going for it is the aftermarket tunes (APR stage 1) will allow it to run low 12s, high 11s in the 1/4. On pump gas. That is super impressive!  It looked incredible in person, and the minimalistic interior had its appeal. In the end, it didn’t feel like the right fit for me, not to mention the price was a bit higher than I wanted.

I kept coming back to a new 2015+ STi based on the rave reviews everyone gave for the new chassis and suspension. After looking far and wide at fun car options, the STi kept feeling like the most comfortable choice. I knew the platform inside and out, but the biggest thing was that everywhere I turned, drivers claimed it as one of the funnest cars they’ve ever driven. Even the online car sites and youtube videos confirmed it was more fun than its competitors and out-of-class rivals (including the Audi S3, BMW M235i, Benz CLA45, VW Golf R), and it even made an appearance on Motor Trend’s 2015 Drivers Car of the Year list.

After searching for the options I wanted, I ended up with a 2015 STi Launch Edition—the only way to get WRB and gold BBS. I have always loved this “standard” color combo that came on the early 2004-2005 models, and really liked the way it made the new platform look. I’m not overly in love with the new looks, but I can appreciate it. More importantly, the Launch Edition had exactly what I wanted: push button start and keyless entry. I didnt’ want a moon-roof or any of the other options, I wanted a purist car that was all about the drive, and nothing else.

I picked up my slightly used and well-cared STi from a seller in Flagstaff, and it was impeccable. Only 7940 miles on the clock when I got her, and she looked basically brand new.

My first impression after taking off for the first time was “whoa”—it felt good to be back in a STi. Now this is the first time I’ve owned a bone-stock STi before, but I was pleasantly surprised at how responsive it felt. It had great power, but man, the handling felt INCREDIBLE. I was instantly impressed and blown-away at the same time…something I was not expecting to happen.

It feels kind of surreal to be back in a STi, and now, thankfully, it will be a dedicated fun car.