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Discussion Starter #1
I pulled this from the other thread in order not to hijack it.


--------original post---------------
I thought I would chime in here because I have had experience in both a E46 M3 SMG & a STi on a racetrack.

It is a pretty good comparison, as it was the same driver, on the same course, at the same time. The instructor (not my instructor) had a M3 and I had the STi. I was a passenger both time, as the instructor had driven the STi a couple of times before. The format was 3 laps in the M3, jump out of the car, and then 5 laps in the STi right away. probably 3 minutes between the end of the M3 laps and the start of the STi laps. Both stock tires. stock vehicles.

My impressions:

The M3 is FAST...the smooth power delivery and it corners really well and brakes like a monster. Obviously this was the instructors car and he was very familiar with it's limits. I had been driving my STi all day and the M3 didn't really give up anything in any area of driving (accel, braking, turning). I did feel like it was a little more connected with the road, a little bit more responsive to steering inputs. A more 'connected' feel to the road than the STi. Overall, the experience in the M3 made me want to get one someday...they're great cars. Kind of like a refined experience...enter the turn right, and it would carve it's way out of the turn with precision. yum.

The STi on the other hand was what I would call the 'american monster'. Acceleration-wise, it was even with the M3, although not as smooth in the power delivery, which is to be expected. I was checking the speed at the end of the straightaways just before braking, and both times, the STi was neck and neck with the M3 (1 mph difference usually. occasionally 2-3 when the instructor overcooked the turn leading to the straighaway.) Brake wise I felt the STi was better in braking than the M3. i.e. I was thrown forward more in the STi than I was in the M3. Not by much, but enough for me to notice. Handling is where the difference was at. While the M3 was all about 'smooth, smooth, smooth' and felt like it was gobbling up speeds at a fast rate, the STi was all about 'just chuck it into the corner and power out of the turn, cause you have POWER' It just seemed a lot more brash than refined. The connection to the road in the STi wasn't quite as close as the M3 was. With the M3, you had a intimate connection with the road. With the STi, you still had that connection, but it was muffled somewhat. The place where the STi excels was in the track-out...here is where the STi really just pulled itself out of the corner with frightening authority...much more so than the M3. So after a couple of laps, you could really come out of the turns a bit faster than the M3, even though the turn may not have been as smooth.

All this being said? The instructor said it this way. "I really like the M3. I also really like the STi. The first time I got into the STi after my M3, I dropped 2 seconds off my lap time. The STi just powers itself out of turns so quickly and easily that you can get on the gas a lot earlier than you can the M3."

Oh yes, the DCCD setting was set at LOCK. Both me and the instructor found this to be the best setting for us. With the DCCD in Auto, I felt like the car was driving and I wasn't. i.e. I wanted to rotate the car and in LOCK it was easier to do that vs. AUTO. With LOCK I felt more connected to the road and had more fun. I had AUTO on for the first couple of track sessions and was doing really well, but after I turned it to LOCK, I ended up going much faster around the track. I guess if you were a professional driver or a better driver than me, then AUTO would be faster, but I don't know. I'm just giving you the instructors and my experience.

All in all, MY instructor (who has a E36 M3) was always commenting on how much power the car had and the immense braking that it could accomplish. A lot of times he was telling me to brake earlier than I could have because that is where he would have started braking in his E36.

Just to put a capper on the whole deal, the only problem I had was with the driver, me. The car is much more capable than I am comfortable with, and it will take me a long time to get comfortable with the power/handling/braking.

And before any of you start saying, "see, the STi rules the track!" I was passed by 2 E36 M3's who were blindinly fast. *sigh*

I never did get a chance to play around more with the settings, so I have only driven the STi on AUTO and LOCK...in retrospect, I should have dialed it back a little bit to see what that would do, but hey...that's what the next track is for, right? :) I only ran LOCK the 2nd track day, once I knew my way around the track, etc, etc...

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additional posts: (confusion about which car ran what)


A) My instructor: E36 M3 (A's car)
B) Me: STi (B's car)
C) Another instructor: E46 M3 (C's car)

B&C rode together in the E46 M3. C was driving
B&C rode together in the STi. C was driving again. (C has driven the STi before)
A&B rode together in the STi. B was driving. A was instructing.
A&B rode together in the E36 M3. I thought the E36 was slow when driving in the car.

Does that help? I don't know what the laptime of the E36 was, but I could definately feel that it was running slower laps.

The STi ran 1:39 lap times, the E46 ran 1:41 lap times. The E36 I didn't get to time it.

hope that helps!
 

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Thanks for the info. I just saw the STi last night, silver/silver. I have to say that although it isnt exactly stunning, it is in fact a very decent looking car and though I could step up to something like an M3, it is this kind of post that makes me ask myself, what is the point of coughing up an extra 22-25K for an M3???

The STi is obviously an all out performance car. I like to go fast and frankly like a car to be a little raw if that makes sense. Part of the attraction is the visceral feel of the car. THe noise and feel of the car working under you.

Good post!
 

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perp said:
I could step up to something like an M3, it is this kind of post that makes me ask myself, what is the point of coughing up an extra 22-25K for an M3???
yeah you're right. and the sti is an all-season performer. if you get snow where you are, that could be an issue. who'd drive an m3 in 4" of snow?? with the right tires, the sti is a capable snow car.

perp said:
...like a car to be a little raw if that makes sense.
absolutely!! that's one of the things i like the best about the sti. this, however, makes it much less of a passenger* car. "oh, it's so noisy", "dam, you just bought this car and it *already* needs a new suspension?", "uh, can you drive a little slower please?". hee hee. consequently, i don't find myself offering to car pool long distances with people at work. tragic. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
the sky was threatening to rain the last day of the track event and I was praying for rain! that would have been way cool...alas, only a couple of drops.

I did freak out my instructor a couple of times on the track, but similar to other people's track experience, everyone came up and was asking:

"those are stock tires/rimes/brakes?"

"300hp?!? and an intercooler spray?"

"nice seats!"

yeah, another 20k for similar performance...can't quite justify it. ;)

Now the only problem is that my brakes squeak like crazy...not just the normal STi squeak, but even when I'm not on the brakes...*sigh* :)
 

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double clutching/toe heel

stinubie said:
the sky was threatening to rain the last day of the track event and I was praying for rain! that would have been way cool...alas, only a couple of drops.
:) for my first time, i wanted only sunshine. but when i go back in october, i will be hoping for a little precipitation.

stinubie said:
"those are stock tires/rimes/brakes?"
"300hp?!? and an intercooler spray?"
"nice seats!"
hee hee. yep. same here. i love people's reaction when they see how much you get for the dollars.

stinubie said:
yeah, another 20k for similar performance...can't quite justify it. ;)
especially if you put the 20k into your sti. talk about mean.

stinubie said:
Now the only problem is that my brakes squeak like crazy...not just the normal STi squeak, but even when I'm not on the brakes...*sigh* :)
yep, i got that as soon as my track day had ended. it had a very slight squeal when off the brakes. it's mostly gone now.
 

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i'm just the opposite.

them: is that really and STi?

me: nah... just a wrx and i just bought the big scoop and the shopping car handle wing. oh, and i bought all the pink stickers and stuff.

them: really? what else?

me: oh the ecsaine seats with the 6 speed tranny and the really expensive bbs rims and tires. i also got the dealership to throw in a the 2.5l engine too.

them: you're BS...

me: yup... [and i walk away...]
 

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Discussion Starter #8
4MLA1FN,

How long did the squeal happen? I'm on my 4th day and it's still happening...I'm hoping I don't have to replace the expensive brake pads...

Did you end up boiling the brake fluid? I did boil the brake fluid near the end of the 2nd day. I'll probably change that out for Motul 600 or something like that the next oil change. That's probably the only thing I'll change...but looking at the Potenza's, I'll probably have to change the tires in the next couple of track events. :)

I was running 38/38 hot the first day. (I didn't even check before I went on the track.) and 38/34 hot the 2nd day...I didn't check cold...

Things that I would do next time:

1) check tire pressures cold and hot.
2) Bring a chair and some shade
3) torque wrench
4) 4 extra wheel lugnuts. I ran with the wheel locks on the track and someone mentioned that sometimes because of the heat, the locks might seize or crack. makes sense to me.
5) 2 gallons of distilled water (for the intercooler spray!)
6) a little stick on timer so I can time my own laps.
BTW, I was looking in the manual and couldn't find it...what should I be torquing the wheel nuts at?
 

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Excellent post.

LOCK eh? I've been looking for a more connected feel from my STi (my only complaint) since I got it - tried diff FREE, various tire pressures, not much change. After reading your post, I tried Diff LOCK. It *did* seem to increase the connected feel somewhat. More testing is needed ;-).

Now the question: I don't track (not yet anyway), but I do like a good corner now and then (someone will flame me for that comment I'm sure). I know little about Diffs and AWD - it would seem that hard cornering with the diff locked would really work it hard - if I run LOCKed all the time, am I just asking for premature mechanical problems? Haven't heard that binding noise yet...

Thanks,
Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #10
EVO atricle other variables to consider.

Chris, the disconnected feel is also my complaint with the car. The M3 felt much more connected...

The LOCKed all the time would make things really annoying...if you make a tight radius low speed turn, the engine will stutter and the diff would lock and unlock like crazy. This is the same when backing up at slow speeds...you'll hear the thunking just before you come to a complete stop. Freaked me out the first time I did it, I thought I did something to the engine...only in the paddock area...otherwise, it was fine for me.
 

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lol!!

ldivinag said:
i'm just the opposite.

them: is that really and STi?

me: nah... just a wrx and i just bought the big scoop and the shopping car handle wing. oh, and i bought all the pink stickers and stuff.

them: really? what else?

me: oh the ecsaine seats with the 6 speed tranny and the really expensive bbs rims and tires. i also got the dealership to throw in a the 2.5l engine too.

them: you're BS...

me: yup... [and i walk away...]
 
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