Drove a MY02 WRX over Christmas
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  1. #1
    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    Drove a MY02 WRX over Christmas

    As I said in the worst cars thread, I had a drove my girlfriend's brother's MY02 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan EVO 5...basically it means the car is yellow and is a limited edition. The wheels are the same 17" standard on the normal WRX, and I'm pretty sure there are no other changes to the spec. The car is still running the standard Bridgestone Potenza RE033s and the fronts were down to 25% or so. The weather wa in the mid 30s, in the late afternoon (around 7pm).

    I was left fairly unimpressed with the car, and thought you might like to know my thoughts.

    The first thing you notice is how big that bonnet scoop is, I guess you sit a lot lower in the Sube over the GTi6, but I didn't like how much bonnet I was seeing in front of me. Perhaps it's just that the GTi6 seat height is so high.

    I had a bit of a tough time getting comfortable behind the wheel. Moved the seat down all the way, out of habit...moved the backrest all the way to the upright position, but it was still a bit too laid back for my liking. The steering wheel is a bit oversized, should be a bit smaller, and the leather wasn't overly impressive. The fore and aft movement of the seat had very long notches...appears most cars I hop into I end up being a half notch man, oh well, eventually the manufacturers will get better at this. Good points were that the seat was fairly comfortable. Climate control AC was annoying, even after getting to 21 degrees, it'd keep the fan on 3...I'm yet to find a climate control AC that works as well as the GTi6.

    Time to move off, and you immediately stall the car. Especially when reversing it. Trying to look behind the car and you are presented with a spoiler taking up a lot of space, but just getting out of the buckets I found a bit hard. Lesson learnt, give it a bit more to avoid stalling it.

    So I move off, the engine is nice and quiet, surprisingly quiet, I expected more noise...actually I wanted a bit more noise. My shifts are really bad, and I'm lurching on every shift. Takes a while to get used to the shift mood of the car, there's a bit of a vagueness to the clutch point, but not as bad as my previous Golf GTI.

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    I go out to some back country roads out of Wagga and proceed to give it a right old caning. First I just had to experience the take off of the thing. So I stop on a straight stretch of road and rev to 5000 and drop the clutch. There's a screech of the front wheels and then a hectic rev and lots of quite agricultural noise as it screams...more like a screech to redline, shift and I stuff up the shift and I get a lot of cluch slip. The turbo falls off and I wait a bit before we're away again. Pull 3rd and I'm doing 100 in about 6.5-7 seconds. I pull up and try again. Brakes are nice and strong and stop me fairly quickly.

    Rev again to 5000rpm and drop the clutch, another screech of the front wheels, before the screeching stops and we're away, within a eye blink I'm having to shift and this time I get it right. It desn't feel like it'stime to shift yet though, feels like all wheels are still scramlbing for grip. I rev it out again, and shift to third and I'm past 100kph, and I've done it in below 6 seconds. It's fast, but it doesn't feel fast, it's frantic, but there's not a huge amount of engine noise, no turbo whistle, not with the windows closed anyway. The wind noise is very minimal, and very Golf like in it's solid feel. I was expecting a decent shove from such a fast car, but it was softer than expected. There's still a lag between shifts, where you are left waiting for a fraction of a second before you're away again. Not as resonsive as a NA engine when it comes to responsiveness from shifts. My dislike of turbos continues.

    Time to throw it around some corners and keep it at some higher speeds. I take the car out to 190kph or so and it's getting real bumpy, and quite skatey, I back off. In the Golf I would've had no trouble going to 200kph on this road. My GTi6 wouldn't go this fast, as I've got buckled front wtyres at the moment, so anything about 130kph gets REAL shakey.

    It gets to 140kph with relative ease, but anything above that takes more concentration and effort. It's quiet though, real quiet, and handles the bumps quite well, felt like a nice cruising car. I get to an easy right hander, and take it around 130kph and the front wants to run wide, I hold the revs and it feels like the back wants to come around, I lift off a bit to tuck the nose back in. The nose tucks back in, but the car isn't settled through the corner, it's wandering around a bit. As I exit the corner and punch it again to settle it down, that appears to work. Next corner, it happens again, I think to myself "is this 4WD drift?"..." maybe I'm going too fast", so I approach a tighter corner and brake a bit more and take it at a much saner speed, I enter slower and then punch out as I hit the apex, and yep, same feeling, the car wants to keep going straight, and then as the weight shifts it wants to bring the tail around.

    I start to get used to this feeling, and approach another corner and expect it to pitch and roll and this tme I hit a bump mid corner and I'm bouncing across to the other side of the road, the car settles down and I'm through it again. No smile on the face, more of a concerned frown as I'm coming to grips with it. I'm not having fun...no Peugeot grin on my face. It's spring and damper rates need som revising, the MY03 WRX review I read later that night confirms that Subaru are rectifying this flightiness.

    I figure, perhaps it doesn't like medium to long flowing corners and is happier on the tighter stuff. So I take a few 60 to 90 degree corners and find that it still understeers, but if I really kick it and tuck that wheel a bit more, the rear will come around a bit and then the rear wheel drive kicks in and I'm drifting a bit before I straighen and I'm out of the corner. I guess that could be fun, but there's a vagueness to what the car is doing, there's a feeling that I have to trust the the 4WD will kick in, rather than feeling a gradual change over of the rear diff.

    In all it's a bit soft, I don't feel I can pick the exact line through corners, like I can in the 306. The difference is that I'm probably doing 20kph less through some of these corners in the 306.

    I get to a T intersection and proceed to bog it going off the mark, and have to depress the clutch and give it a bit more boot and I'm away again. I'm not impressed, there's just nothing below 2000rpm in the car.

    That's all I can think of for now. Any questions let me know.

    -Lincoln
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  2. #2
    nJm
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    Thanks for the comprehensive review! You must have a very kind girlfriend's brother.

    My grandpa (yes, grandpa!) has a 5 year old WRX. Of course I've never driven it, however my dad has given it a good go and his feelings were the front got too twitchy, it understeers more than expected, there is a big lack of power until the turbo kicks in, and the turbo kicks in way too hard.

    In start stop traffic it can be annoying as you don't want the turbo to kick you into the back of your seat if you have to stop in a few metres again so dad was taking off in 1st and then at about 2500rpm going straight to 3rd!

    I think they are a highly overrated car, and having been in it on a 5 hour drive I can honestly say I've never been in such an uncomfortable car in my whole life - and this WRX only has 16"s. My uncle's E46 M3 with optional 19" alloys has a far more comfortable ride.

    Actually, thinking of handling dad reckons his brother's mid 90s Honda CRX handled much better than the WRX...
    Nick
    1983 Peugeot 505 GR


    "All of its cars from the 1.1 litre 205 through the ugly duckling 309 to the 2.2 litre 505 GTi had a rightness and a righteousness about them that turned every humdrum drive into a journey. Someone, I once wrote, in the bowels of Peugeot understands handling and how a chassis should feel." - Jeremy Clarkson

  3. #3
    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    Yes he was quite kind, but he's a real boy racer. Has taken it out on the track and goes on and on about stats...I think WRX owners are a bit like that...their first question is "how fast does it go?", and as many itmes as I said that a Ferrari would do 0-100 a lot differently that a Sube, he just didn't want to know if the car didn't pump out a better stat. He was going to drive my GTi6, but never got around to it, and I know he would've returned the favour on my car wink

    The boost on the MY02 isn't too bad at all. It doesn't come on REALLY strong, like I would imagine the old one would. The Forester GT and the old WRX I heard could be a handful in traffic with it's boost.
    - Lincoln

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  4. #4
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
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    When you think about it, a Peugeot's fortes are hard to quantify.

    For instance, handling - there aren't that many stats available - basically slalom times, manouvre times and Gs.

    In most performance cars, acceleration and top speed are pretty easy to quantify, and I'd say there is less variation in conducting such tests, unlike doing so for handling stats.

    Cheers,

    Justin

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  5. #5
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    I drove a 98 model for a day and it was the most boring car ever, (except for when the turbo cut in, which instantly put you over the speed limit and liable to be booked, how useless is that?).
    The owner had traded his much loved RS Liberty (because the lease had run out) and was very dissapointed. Eventually after a lot of effort he managed to sell the WRX and bought a 406 V6 manual coupe which he still has and this time he will renew the lease.

    Graham Wallis

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts brenno's Avatar
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    Excellent review Lincoln.

    I read what you write with interest as you have owned a Golf GTi and a 306 GTi6.

    Those 2 cars, and the MY02 WRX are just a few of the cars I would consider buying in the future.

    Interesting

  7. #7
    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    Graham, I'd love to take a 98 one for a drive, just to see the difference. I would imagine that it would be louder and a greater connection with the road. The MY02 was a bit too removed from it all for my liking. Perhaps some better tyres, like some FM901s would improve it, but my Pug feels better and it's running crappy P6000s.

    Brenno, yeah, thought you'd like this review! My GTi6 just gets better and better, the new suspension is settling down, and over the xmas break, it just got better and better on the rough stuff. The NA engine and responsiveness of a non turbo engine between shifts is what thrills me. A turbo just has that lag between shifts that removes you from what the car is doing. This is regardless of how many revs you have when you shift, whether you are well and trully into the turbo boost zone or not. Perhaps when you add that rear diff it just removes you again in the WRX. Some better suspension settings would improve the WRX, and I'm now intersted in what they've done to the MY03 and if they've fixed it. Generally though, there's not much else to get excited over, there's no nice engine note, just a gruffy note from the boxer engine, and not much from the turbo. The gearbox is ok, but nothing to write home about, a 6 speed box would be nice, but that's just because I'm used to the 6 in the GTi6.

    Adrian looks like he's selling his, maybe you could pick that off him?

    <small>[ 30 December 2002, 02:40 PM: Message edited by: GTI124 ]</small>
    - Lincoln

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  8. #8
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    Some interesting observations all round. My brother's had a 1997 model Club Spec WRX since new, with, as I've mentioned before, Eibachs all round, lowered about 25-30mm, and the only other change being a big custom cat-back pipe right through. A proper one, that is. Not the biggest drain pipe available. For context, he's a young 40yo - no boy racer. Anyway, there's very little lag with this car - it pulls like a train. I wonder if the exhaust makes the difference - it literally has never had the stock one on for comparision, as it had a big Remus back box first, from new. I love the thing, though I've never spent a whole day in it, or done a long trip... So, the old GTi-6 must be some car! (where's the Graemlin for 'Jealous')

    One observation is that when CAR magazine drove the RS Focus, they mentioned in comparison how the current WRX was much softer, but in many ways better for it, on fast, bumpy-ish, cross country roads.

    Mind you, GTI124, does your experience make it the worst car you've driven? If so, lucky you - you haven't driven an XF Falcon...

    Edit: Ahhhh, after thinking back, heel and toeing is pretty much useless because of tardy response not allowing a tiny blip to spool up the revs quickly enough to be of any use. Not really lag, but one issue spoiling the driving experience.

    Cheers

    Stuey

    <small>[ 30 December 2002, 04:13 PM: Message edited by: Stuey ]</small>


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

  9. #9
    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    I read the WRX review in CAR and agree with the softness part of the review, and yes it is a nice compliancy over bumpy roads, just don't expect much cooperation around the corners. It's hard to describe, but you can have soft and control, the Sube had softness with not much control. The GTi6 has compliancy and maintains control through the corner. For me, overall the softness was in a lot of the main dynamics of the car, was soft under foot, under braking, and in cornering.

    As for the worst car comment, I made some comments in that thread along the lines of, "a car is designed for particular purposes and I think even the XF was designed for a purpose and did it's job just fine in relation to it's opposition". As for WRX, compared to what else is available in that price range and sector, I think it's above Golf GTI, but certainly not at the top of it's sector. I'm not comparing the current WRX to a 17 year old car in that comment.

    Is my review too harsh? In the end it's just my opinion on what I liked and disliked about the car. Maybe I'm being over critical, but if I liked it I would said so too. The GTi6 is far from perfect, but it's handling balance hits my mark very well.

    As for heel toeing, yep, you're right, any rev matching appeared to be a bit futile, as it happens fairly slowly. I am, it's worth noting, still getting used to blipping.

    - Lincoln
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  10. #10
    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    jsut to clarify, I meant to say that the sube had a bit less control than I would have liked around corners. Rather than saying it was out of control...it's far from being a floaty yank tank around corners!
    - Lincoln

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  11. #11
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    Interesting comments about the rex. As an owner of
    a quick pug and a turbo car i find that they are
    completely different driving experiences, one should not compare the two.
    The turbo car takes a little longer than a snap around the block to get used to but when one does you can then see what all the fuss is about. [I am not a wrx fan by any means..in fact theyre the
    enemy]
    Comparing cars like this is futile and i'll tell you why, my mechanic [wrx owner] had a gti6 in to his garage for servicing. It was unusual to get such a car in and had heard alot about them [being a car buff and rally driver] so he takes it for a spin with owners permission.
    Asked for his opinion on his return and he replied
    "i waited for something to happen and it never did"
    That deflated this pugfan a little however it just proves that "to each his own" Just my 2 cents worth +gst cheers jr
    jr20516v

    Now:
    Exige SC [modded], 205 Si. Opel OPC


    Previous: Honda EP3 Supercharged , 205 x34 [ including MI16 TURBO, 8v TURBO, CTI, 16V+TB's, 8V+TB's,] Fiat X1-9 X3, Beta coupes x5, Lancia Gamma coupe, GTI-R, Corvette C4, Fiero x5, Alpine GTA turbo, r5 GTT Dimma, 2cv ripple nose, Lotus Elise, 205 Dimma TT, Cliosport 172.x2, Clio rs 200

  12. #12
    1000+ Posts CHRI'S16's Avatar
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    GTI124
    [QB]Graham, I'd love to take a 98 one for a drive, just to see the difference. I would imagine that it would be louder and a greater connection with the road.
    Well my best mate WRX is a my99 and he's added exhaust and BOV, it also has 17' wheels and tyres to suit.
    IN short great in a straight line, even offboost it has plenty down low to move easily in traffic, same dilema with those wings though. Round corners both our pugs (206 Gti and S16) leave it for dead, and not by just a little some corners by as much as 10-15K;s and dosn't hold its line like you can in the pugs. But feel is unprononced and you can feel the tyres take/give as the tiny chassis felxes under load/tourque of the engine.
    No leather to be seen and VERY tiny, even for a jap car.
    As most of you would know ive driven most cars (for those who don't,im a valet driver in a 5 Star hotel) and one of the notable things between the old and 01 WRX's is the build/road noise. As gti124 said its much better in the later model.
    either way i think the WRX's make a great Straight line car, and overall help an average driver to drive like a reasonable driver, but a competent driver in a Froggy (sporting froggy, ie Clio sport/Gti6) will turn into a track screamer.
    WRX/performance-to- dollar unmatched. Froggies/fun-to-dollar unmatched.
    Xqisid
    ... ptui!

  13. #13
    1000+ Posts dino's Avatar
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    i thought i d make a few comments since i ve driven a couple rexes myself....firstly, i think subaru has done reasonably well with the rex...u get what u pay for...whether it is actually good value for money is a different story...now...i know u guys have read all about how good value they are but how many of you have driven highly modified ones and compared them to stock...the fact is the originally realised car is a good begining...nothing else...at that its not that cheap....i ve had guys come into the shop with 80 100k cars...no not 3 year old ferraris ...subarus...sure they do 12 sec quarters but put 50 gees into an old bluebird and u ll get the same speed and handling....so ..what am i trying to SAY...
    basically the rexes were not that bad but they were not extraordinary....(thats why they get modified...and no..not because u get used to the speed but because u start noticing all their misgivings....)
    overall my experiance was that the car never INSPIRED me like my 205 and no matter how much u SPEND at the END of the DAY chassis was never up to the job...i m only talking about the early models (which by the way many rex enthusiaists still preffer).....for my money if you want a car to take to the LIMIT buy a pug...if u dont know how to drive but want to be SEEN as being very capable then buy the REX.....

    ps to think that some of these guys could have had genuine 205 t16 in the garage instead...

    ps...and they are still slower than most, even mildly modified, rotaries.....

  14. #14
    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    xqisid
    [QB WRX/performance-to- dollar unmatched. Froggies/fun-to-dollar unmatched.
    Xqisid[/QB]
    Very well put Xqisid.

    Dino, speaking of rotaries, I've only recently taken the time out to understand how a rotary engine works and now I want to drive one! That new RX8 sounds awesome. I've been recommending that to Craig to replace the WRX...but I keep getting that "how fast will she go?" response...sigh.
    - Lincoln

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  15. #15
    nJm
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    I think that 504 with the Mazda rotory turbo that was mentioned a few times on here would be pretty scary! It even had the original spec 175 or 185 tyres! The car looked pretty stock appart from the bonnet scoop and dials on the dash. I just hope it had upgraded brakes and suspension.

    Sometimes I think that if you have too much power (enough that you can overcome the chassis limits) it detracts from the fun. Half the fun in having only 71kw in my car is I know that no matter how hard I push it around corners it won't suddenly spin out in oversteer.

    I guess as fun as speed might be (and that is the fun that WRX owners appreciate), most froggers will no doubt prefer the amazing grip and nice steering feedback we get. Even BBC motoring journalist Jeremy Clarkson (a very hard man to impress) thinks there is nothing that can beat a 205 GTi around a twisty mountain road. Not even a Porsche.
    Nick
    1983 Peugeot 505 GR


    "All of its cars from the 1.1 litre 205 through the ugly duckling 309 to the 2.2 litre 505 GTi had a rightness and a righteousness about them that turned every humdrum drive into a journey. Someone, I once wrote, in the bowels of Peugeot understands handling and how a chassis should feel." - Jeremy Clarkson

  16. #16
    1000+ Posts brenno's Avatar
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    Just for interest's sake, here is what I wrote after driving a mates modified V6 STi around for a couple of days in July.

    The speed that this car can maintain on a twisty road is absolutely phenomenal. Grip, handling and chassis composure was very very impressive. Better than any Peugeot I have been in.

    Note - this was a modified STi, so it was a fair step above a standard WRX.

    > I have had the pleasure of driving Gav's STi for the last few days while
    > getting a few things fixed on it around town. Thought I would post some
    > thoughts about driving it;
    >
    > Likes;
    >
    > - Seats. In the city and on twisty roads these are fantastic.
    > - Steering. Wonderfully direct.
    > - The ability to overtake whereever, whenever.
    > - The fact that you think you should change gears at around 6000rpm -
    > but
    > you have another 2000 rpm to go. Very cool.
    > - Good chassis dynamics and phenomenal grip. Can scare passengers again
    > and
    > again =)
    > - Exhaust note.
    >
    > Dislikes;
    >
    > - Not being able to give it a hit without old ladies and young mothers
    > scorning at you.
    > - Having every schoolboy gawk at you as you drive past. Schoolgirls are
    > OK.
    > - Every pretend homie in the city looks at you like he wants to steal it
    > - Can't park it on the street without worrying about it.
    > - Cops follow you.
    > - That stupid ****ing alarm system.
    > - You find youself swerving away from potholes. In the pug I swerve to
    > try
    > out potholes.
    > - Brakes. Not quite enough feel.
    > - Exhaust note.
    > - Intercooler heatsoak is noticable sometimes.
    >
    > Thats about all for now.
    >
    > BC

    <small>[ 02 January 2003, 08:47 AM: Message edited by: macquered ]</small>

  17. #17
    Fellow Frogger! WRX2PUG's Avatar
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    Hi guys, felt I had to add my 2 cents as well wink

    As you can see from my NIC I have recently moved from WRXs to Pugs - I currently own a 205-Mi16 with quad throttle-bodies etc and a convertible 205-CTi (about to be put up for sale)

    I previously owned 2 WRXs. I bought the first one in 1997 which was the year in which the price came down significantly, seats were improved and the smaller turbo was better matched to the engine. My second WRX (I gave the first to the wife as I couldn't let it go blush ) was a MY99 STi Ver 6. I do a lot of club-level motorsport (like every 2nd week) and was responsible for starting the WRX club in Perth so have had the opportunity to drive and race a number of WRXs and thought it was worth providing a bit of feedback.

    Firstly let me say that I do think it is personal opinion and we each like different things about cars and driving. That said, although I love my new 205-Mi16 to death, WRXs are still an unbelievable price-performance bargain. There is no doubt that the MY01/MY02 WRXs were heavier and a little softer and did not perform out of the box as well as the older ones, they still however perform incredibly well.

    I concur completely with a previous comment that you cannot simply get into a WRX and expect to launch and drive it well and for it to feel easy. It is as you say deceptively fast but for example launching a WRX properly does not come naturally. You cannot simply rev to 5000 and drop the clutch as it tends to either bog down or slip the clutch when (most often) you don't get it right. It requires the clutch to be let out almost to the point of taking, appropriate revs dialed in and then let out reasonably quickly. They do tend to understeer hugely, especially on tight events like autokhanas but this a) just takes a different driving style to be quick and b) can be dialed out a fair bit with some simple handling mods.

    We all know the WRX is quick in a straight line - my standard 97 did 13.6 two weeks after purchase and my standard STi did 13.2 and then 12.8 once fitted with exhaust and Autronics. I have to say that I love french cars like Pugs and Clios etc for different reasons but with respect to them (and I own 2) their performance standard or close to standard is 'way' off this both in terms of straightline and handling round a track. Granted with the right mods they can be made to perform and handle well but it does take a fair bit (as I am finding out in my Mi16 now chasing WRXs at events eek! )

    The real tell-tale for me is the WRX's performance in a huge range of club motorsport events. It doesn't matter if it is an autokhana, sprint, hill-climb, track-day, tarmac (classic) rally etc, the WRXs still come up trumps - they are simply a very capable and effective performance car when driven well. It took me 6 years to get 'bored' with their capability and turn to something more challenging (and cost effective - I hope.. ) being the 205s.

    Anyway, just thought I'd put another perspective and I'll let you guys know if/when I manage to catch the WRXs in the new Pug - certainly going to try hard tongue

    Cheers
    Wrx2Pug
    Renault Clio F1R27 road car and Supercharged Lotus Elise track car

  18. #18
    1000+ Posts dino's Avatar
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    re: WRX2PUG comment.......

    mi16 naturally aspirated versus wrx...hmmmmm
    and u r talking about catching and possibly beating them........
    as far as i m concerned u ve caught them and beaten them ALREADY....would u have a problem keeping up with them if the car was 4x4 and boosted...DONT THINK SO.....
    I THINK u ve done very well already...as far as i m concerned, a 205 t16 would have a wrx for lunch and than ask for desert...
    anyway there are plenty of faster cars (rotaries, gtrs, some early american musle cars did low 12s out of the factory)
    but like u said to each his own and having wide experiances of many different cars ceartinly allows u to make more qualified statements....

  19. #19
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    WRX2pug, I reckon you've hit the nail on the head with all your comments. Spot on. By the way, my bro was in the Perth club from about 1997 when he bought his WRX. Didn't compete, though, as he's too busy running restaurants all hours + weekends. Went on some of the runs, though.

    Stuey


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

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