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      07-08-2019, 08:55 PM   #1
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Drove an Ď18 WRX STI today, and I kinda want one now

I know itís strange coming from this forum, but I had a day off today and had the urge to take a newer STI for a test drive so I found a dealer local to me with a 2018 with 2500 miles. My thoughts:

The good:

- the suspension feels so much better than my base m3. Tighter, stiffer, but not at all what Iíd call uncomfortable. Shocks definitely handle bumps with less floatiness but absorb impact really well.

- the Recaro seats are just as good if not better for my wider frame. Greatly prefer them to my M3 seats with the side bolsters not bothering me in the slightest. Very comfortable and supportive.

- the shifter action and feel is fantastic. The car I drove had the short shift kit, but if I was to buy one, I would keep stock shifter. Iíve come to really enjoy the longer throws from the M3 transmission, but the feel is nonexistent compared to the Subaru, and I really miss that.

- the car feels quick. Itís not bonkers like the M3, but I really appreciate the peaky nature of the ej257 combined with the transmissionís close gear ratios. Plenty for just having some fun on the street.

- interior is plenty fine. Iím no brand snob or anything, but it feels appropriate for its price point and performance. The wheel leather, shift knob, and seats all feel great, and thatís all that really matters to me.

- I enjoyed the exhaust so much more than my M3. Popular opinion or not, I liked it better.

- interior room is stupid huge. I donít know how, but Subaru maximized every cubic inch of that interior and trunk.



The not so good:

- seating position is really high vs the M3. When I got in, I thought it was raised, but it was at its lowest setting already. The car makes up for it with more headroom, but I can see how it would bother some. Personally, I could live with it.

- clutch pedal feel is not as good as the M3. Itís very springy feeling, with the pedal getting stiffer the closer you get to the floor. Makes 1st gear takeoffs somewhat inconsistent, but Iím sure this just takes time to get used to. My old wrx was like this, but I had forgotten what that felt like, and came to really appreciate the M3ís pedal feel.

- didnít have the opportunity to test the brakes thoroughly, but they definitely have less initial bite than the M3. Easier to live with, but Iíve already adapted by this point. Neither + nor -, just an observation.


Overall, I was pretty impressed with the car. I initially wrote the car off in 2015 because of the carryover engine, but I think I might prefer it now since the aftermarket is so well developed (and CHEAP ). The car felt really good as a whole, and with the upgraded pistons coming in the 2020 model year, highly considering making the switch. I know this might be an unpopular move, but I donít consider myself a brand snob or loyal to any one make. I kinda miss that all weather traction that my M3 just canít provide in Chicago winters, not that I expected it to. Regardless, it was fun as hell to drive, and I thought Iíd share my experience with the car

Last edited by ntg44; 12-22-2020 at 11:36 AM..
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      07-08-2019, 10:10 PM   #2
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I would rather get a Type R if I was shopping in that class. The carry over engine in the STI is disappointing.
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      07-08-2019, 10:32 PM   #3
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Having owned several M cars and tuned sti's and wrx's, I'll chime in here. First I love fast subies. I've owned 6. So I have nothing but love. But there is nothing imaginable between an f80 m3 and an sti, where I would call the subie the winner. Ok, price and if I got a door ding, I wouldnt be as mad.

Now what is cool for the non subie people in the room...there is a camaraderie among turbo subie folks that's kinda cool. Love the subie wave. My wife makes fun of me everytime
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      07-08-2019, 11:01 PM   #4
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Interesting review, OP. If you like it go for it!

I had a modified STi (400+ whp on pump gas) many years ago and it was a joy to drive. The community was awesome and the aftermarket support was stellar. What ultimately killed it for Subaru in my eyes was the lack of evolution of the motor. What a travesty. The EJ207 shouldíve made it to the USDM many years ago.
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      07-09-2019, 02:36 AM   #5
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I had a bugeye WRX wagon many years ago and liked it a lot.

If you can have as much or more fun in a cheaper car, itís not a bad way to go.

Doubt youíll find much, if any, support on these forums though
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      07-09-2019, 03:44 AM   #6
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I personally wouldn't do it due to both STi and M3 serving the same street/track dual duty purpose. I recently made the mistake of attempting to relive the glory days of my old 2011 WRX Stage II hatchback from about a decade ago... so without going for a test drive, I picked up a 2019 WRX base as a daily beater two months ago, to which I ultimately regretted about a week into driving the car.

Cons:

1. Inconvenience of driving 6MT on a 55 mile one-way commute. It's also not as fun to drive as DCT IMO. Fortunately, I work remote for the most part.

2. Cost of insurance -- the WRX costs $45 more per month to insure compared to two other F80 M3s on my policy.

3. Cheap build/quality feel all around

Pros:

1. Despite the WRX being much slower, it is easier to drive fast (stealthier) than my 680+whp M3

2. Decent 30 mpg highway fuel consumption

3. Decent factory cold start exhaust note

4. Surprisingly good handling/cornering

I picked up the WRX for $24,800 (before TTL) with the goal of racking up ~50k miles over the next 3-5 years while leveraging Subaru's high retention value. The plan was to sell/trade the car for +/- $21k once the warranty coverage runs out. However, as time passed, I found myself wanting to drive the WRX less and less... It's reached a point where I only drive the WRX when the M3 is undergoing surgery. Other than that, the WRX is simply collecting dust outdoors, as it's been relegated as an emergency use only car.

I'm well aware of the fact that the WRX is far different from an STi, but it's no secret the EJ25 is grossly overdue for retirement. If you're itching for a sub $35k toy to tinker with, my recommendation would be to look into a 135i, M235i, 340i or even an X1 XDrive35i sleeper with turbo upgrade.
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      07-09-2019, 06:56 AM   #7
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Thanks all, great responses. I fully went into this thinking I may be entering a flame zone, but it's cool to hear about everyone's experiences with the car. I wouldn't say the STI is a better car than the M3, but I did appreciate what the car had to offer to me personally for the price. I'd say I'm at a crossroads at the moment. I would either:

- Buy a BMW extended warranty on the M3 sometime next year for a few more years of coverage, and throw on a Bilstein B16 Damptronic kit to satisfy my suspension itch (or B6 damptronic shocks if they EVER get to USA). All in, I'm guessing this route will cost me roughly $8-10K, which I'm not entirely sold on given where I'm at in my life currently and where my priorities lie.


- Trade in my M3 for the 2020 STI and get a check back for the difference, and have a great budget for mods. You just get a lot more hardware for your money in comparison to M3 aftermarket. I like to experiment, but the cost of entry for the M3 is just so much higher than any car I've owned. It isn't that I can't "afford" it per se, but a lot of the parts out there are mentally tough for me to justify parting with the cash for. If I decide to go this route, I need to do this sooner rather than later, since my M3's value is only going down.


Either way, both cars are fun to me. There's no beating the looks or performance of the M3, but if it wasn't for my neighbor's kid coming home from college for the summer and parking his wingless STI in the driveway, the thought wouldn't have even crossed my mind haha.
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      07-09-2019, 11:09 AM   #8
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I had an 06 WRX.

Drove like a dream for 150k miles. Only issue was a throwout bearing covered under warranty.

Definitely had a lot more usable power for normal every day driving and no worry about mashing the gas pedal and losing traction.
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      07-09-2019, 11:38 AM   #9
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I absolutely enjoy having both. The m3 feels like a scalpel. The subie feels like a butcher knife
Both are very fun in their own way. The subie feels like a toy. Is kinda clunky and crude. Nothings is smooth. Lumpy idle, clunky shifter, but I actually love the character that brings. It's fun to drive. And if it blows up...meh not a big deal.

The m3 in comparison feels like a serious machine. Not as playful, more purposeful. Need to hang on, shes not as forgiving as the subie tho
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      07-09-2019, 01:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntgarage44 View Post
Thanks all, great responses. I fully went into this thinking I may be entering a flame zone, but it's cool to hear about everyone's experiences with the car. I wouldn't say the STI is a better car than the M3, but I did appreciate what the car had to offer to me personally for the price. I'd say I'm at a crossroads at the moment. I would either:

- Buy a BMW extended warranty on the M3 sometime next year for a few more years of coverage, and throw on a Bilstein B16 Damptronic kit to satisfy my suspension itch (or B6 damptronic shocks if they EVER get to USA). All in, I'm guessing this route will cost me roughly $8-10K, which I'm not entirely sold on given where I'm at in my life currently and where my priorities lie.

- Trade in my M3 for the 2020 STI and get a check back for the difference, and have a great budget for mods. You just get a lot more hardware for your money in comparison to M3 aftermarket. I like to experiment, but the cost of entry for the M3 is just so much higher than any car I've owned. It isn't that I can't "afford" it per se, but a lot of the parts out there are mentally tough for me to justify parting with the cash for. If I decide to go this route, I need to do this sooner rather than later, since my M3's value is only going down.

Either way, both cars are fun to me. There's no beating the looks or performance of the M3, but if it wasn't for my neighbor's kid coming home from college for the summer and parking his wingless STI in the driveway, the thought wouldn't have even crossed my mind haha.
The brand loyal internet fanboys (of all varieties) are full of shit, inexperienced, seeking identity, probably all of the above. Dismiss them. Automotive variety is what's awesome. Both cars ARE fun, and dozens of others as well.

Sounds like the WRX is the better option for you at the moment -- go for it. My buddy had a heavily modded wagon version many years ago. Super fun, albeit unreliable...

I don't know about your M3 suspension estimate though. Seems pretty high. Might want to reevaluate before you close the door on that option.
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      07-09-2019, 02:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FormulaMMM View Post
I don't know about your M3 suspension estimate though. Seems pretty high. Might want to reevaluate before you close the door on that option.
Appreciate the response. To clarify, I was lumping the Bilstein kit + install + BMW extended warranty with the most coverage (whatever it's called).


Again, thanks all. This turned out to be a pretty constructive discussion.
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      07-09-2019, 02:01 PM   #12
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The fact that the ej25 is now 30yrs old
Pass
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      07-09-2019, 04:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntgarage44 View Post
Thanks all, great responses. I fully went into this thinking I may be entering a flame zone, but it's cool to hear about everyone's experiences with the car. I wouldn't say the STI is a better car than the M3, but I did appreciate what the car had to offer to me personally for the price. I'd say I'm at a crossroads at the moment. I would either:

- Buy a BMW extended warranty on the M3 sometime next year for a few more years of coverage, and throw on a Bilstein B16 Damptronic kit to satisfy my suspension itch (or B6 damptronic shocks if they EVER get to USA). All in, I'm guessing this route will cost me roughly $8-10K, which I'm not entirely sold on given where I'm at in my life currently and where my priorities lie.


- Trade in my M3 for the 2020 STI and get a check back for the difference, and have a great budget for mods. You just get a lot more hardware for your money in comparison to M3 aftermarket. I like to experiment, but the cost of entry for the M3 is just so much higher than any car I've owned. It isn't that I can't "afford" it per se, but a lot of the parts out there are mentally tough for me to justify parting with the cash for. If I decide to go this route, I need to do this sooner rather than later, since my M3's value is only going down.


Either way, both cars are fun to me. There's no beating the looks or performance of the M3, but if it wasn't for my neighbor's kid coming home from college for the summer and parking his wingless STI in the driveway, the thought wouldn't have even crossed my mind haha.
My $0.02, it seems like going past ďstage 2Ē engine mods really tanks subie reliability from my own and friendís experience so watch out for that.

Also, re modded exhaust and suspension, sometimes you donít want to bother with the trade offs of exhaust roar and scraping in your daily.

If you can work it so you can keep your m3 in stock form as a reliable and fast daily, and get an old beater sti or other car to play with and use in bad weather, then it might be the best of all worlds
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      07-09-2019, 05:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicknaz View Post
My $0.02, it seems like going past “stage 2” engine mods really tanks subie reliability from my own and friend’s experience so watch out for that.

Also, re modded exhaust and suspension, sometimes you don’t want to bother with the trade offs of exhaust roar and scraping in your daily.

If you can work it so you can keep your m3 in stock form as a reliable and fast daily, and get an old beater sti or other car to play with and use in bad weather, then it might be the best of all worlds
What you describe doing with the M3 is basically my current situation. I'm not looking for more power, but I'm very weary of owning this car out of warranty - these engines aren't cheap! This is my first BMW since my gen 1 X5, and that car was a nightmare. I know how overblown these crank hub and CAC leak threads are, but they're out there, and I just want to be covered if they ever happen.

My only dilemma is if I want to pay a pretty penny for the peace of mind of the extended warranty vs injectors, down pipe, and tune STI with a "screw it" mentality if the EJ blows. From what I've read, the 2020s will get forged pistons that the s209 is coming with, making this a compelling offer to me. Wouldn't hurt to have AWD for the winter as well.

I think I'm going to do some shopping for extended warranties and crunch the numbers to see what makes most sense.

Last edited by ntg44; 03-01-2022 at 10:21 AM..
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      07-09-2019, 07:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntgarage44 View Post
I maybe should have disclosed this earlier, but I do have a Tacoma for daily duty. What you describe doing with the M3 is basically my current situation. I'm not looking for more power, but I'm very weary of owning this car out of warranty - these engines aren't cheap! This is my first BMW since my gen 1 X5, and that car was a nightmare. I know how overblown these crank hub and CAC leak threads are, but they're out there, and I just want to be covered if they ever happen.

My only dilemma is if I want to pay a pretty penny for the peace of mind of the extended warranty vs injectors, down pipe, and tune STI with a "screw it" mentality if the EJ blows. From what I've read, the 2020s will get forged pistons that the s209 is coming with, making this a compelling offer to me. Wouldn't hurt to have AWD for the winter as well.

I think I'm going to do some shopping for extended warranties and crunch the numbers to see what makes most sense.
Oh man, if you have a Taco for daily driving and family hauling already, itís time for an all out 2 seats sports car.

Thereís really no way for a sedan based sporty car to duplicate the low seating position and sounds of engine revving up just a bit past your shoulder blades. Not to mention the lighter weight of those cars and many other advantages
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      07-09-2019, 07:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntgarage44 View Post
I maybe should have disclosed this earlier, but I do have a Tacoma for daily duty. What you describe doing with the M3 is basically my current situation. I'm not looking for more power, but I'm very weary of owning this car out of warranty - these engines aren't cheap! This is my first BMW since my gen 1 X5, and that car was a nightmare. I know how overblown these crank hub and CAC leak threads are, but they're out there, and I just want to be covered if they ever happen.

My only dilemma is if I want to pay a pretty penny for the peace of mind of the extended warranty vs injectors, down pipe, and tune STI with a "screw it" mentality if the EJ blows. From what I've read, the 2020s will get forged pistons that the s209 is coming with, making this a compelling offer to me. Wouldn't hurt to have AWD for the winter as well.

I think I'm going to do some shopping for extended warranties and crunch the numbers to see what makes most sense.
I totally get where youíre coming from looking at this. Was in the same boat with my current ride (an RS5) and it constantly has me shopping for a cheaper, more mod friendly car...at the end of the day it makes me feel like just leaving my car as is and just focus my efforts on something else!

If you are serious about a cheaper / different ride, Iíll tell you that the CTR is an AMAZING drive. Worth trying.
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      07-09-2019, 08:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by rnp614 View Post
I totally get where youíre coming from looking at this. Was in the same boat with my current ride (an RS5) and it constantly has me shopping for a cheaper, more mod friendly car...at the end of the day it makes me feel like just leaving my car as is and just focus my efforts on something else!

If you are serious about a cheaper / different ride, Iíll tell you that the CTR is an AMAZING drive. Worth trying.
Ugh, I know, itís just when I sit in one, I feel like Iím piloting a Gundam mobile suit. All jokes aside, the type R makes a wingless STI look tame in comparison. I donít think my wife would go for trading a ďnice bmwĒ to a ďHondaĒ with red seats haha. Maybe if I was 10 years younger and single...
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      07-09-2019, 10:36 PM   #18
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I owned/built an evo x many years ago, so have always been curious how the sti felt in comparison

I drove one later last year and I liked it too, pretty much same takeaways as op, I was in the market for a good affordable platform I can mod for the fun of the build as I missed my old r35 and evo builds

I don't understand people hating on the ej25 because of it's age, a good engine is a good engine regardless of when it was built, try telling all the 2j fanboys its shit because it's an old motor

Ironically it's that boxer engine that has the 'one-up' on the s55 M cars - the s55 is technically brilliant sure, but it is also painfully characterless, especially so if you've owned past old motor M cars

...and I ended up ordering another rs3 sportback for my mod project, that 5 pot motor was so good, I had to give it another go
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      07-09-2019, 10:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntgarage44 View Post
Ugh, I know, itís just when I sit in one, I feel like Iím piloting a Gundam mobile suit. All jokes aside, the type R makes a wingless STI look tame in comparison. I donít think my wife would go for trading a ďnice bmwĒ to a ďHondaĒ with red seats haha. Maybe if I was 10 years younger and single...
yeh the type r is far too ricer, even if you put the si hatch on it

honda know this too, the facelift is coming with a small wing option

another car worth looking at in this price range is the Renault megane trophy - there is an R version coming soon too. these things have 4ws now, and turn in that rivals an evo
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      07-09-2019, 10:42 PM   #20
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I dunno, I always admire those newer STIs when I see them drive by. I sure wouldn't be ashamed to drive one!

M3/M4s are just so beautiful though, I don't know how I could make the switch.
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      07-10-2019, 06:58 AM   #21
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I dunno, I always admire those newer STIs when I see them drive by. I sure wouldn't be ashamed to drive one!

M3/M4s are just so beautiful though, I don't know how I could make the switch.
As do I! I usually drive with my windows open, and always throw a thumbs up when I pass by one. They usually don't respond anything back though

I guess you gotta be a Subabro to get recognition.
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      07-10-2019, 08:15 AM   #22
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I'm debating adding an STI to the stable. Fun car from a previous era that is still being made. And it is tough to find a clean one (or Evo) used at a reasonable price. Just makes too much sense to buy these new.
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