It's late, and I am a bit cranky, so I wanted to vent a little bit here. My apologies in advance if anyone is offended.
I'd just like to point out that I think most of the car review guys are completely full of it. Here's an example: the bureau chief Michael Jordan going on about the Impreza WRC car, its performance on gravel, and comparisons to the STi just makes me ill. First, and I hope I am not destroying any dreams out there, there are almost *no* similarities between the WRC cars and what is being sold by Subaru. True, it is the same unibody, but that's it. Everything you can possibly imagine has been redesigned on those cars including the suspension, braking, steering, bodywork, overall geometry, transmission, diffs....if there are any similarities between the rally car and the street car, it is purely coincidental. To sum up, comparing these two cars is like saying that your Ford Taurus goes through turns like a NASCAR of the same badge.
Here's my second problem: there are a lot of people complaining that much of the (comparitively) unfavorable vehicle dynamics that have been reported are down to reviewers not understanding how to drive with the active diff (DCCD). As I mentioned before, most car reviewers are big fat idiots, but they know how to drive aggressively within the limits. If the car understeers under these circumstances, then this is bad. It doesn't really matter if you can get rid of understeer by throwing the car into the corner sideways, because who the hell is going to do this? Not only is it dangerous and stupid, but you'll be replacing your tyres every 5,000 miles. I mean, hell, I can get an Integra to tail out if I trail brake like mad into a corner. DCCD or not, this isn't a solution, it's just a sloppy workaround. The bottom line: the car is not set up like the JDM STi. Sadly.
Don't get me wrong: I am buying an STi, and I'll be happy with it. But just like the pre-facelift STi models in Japan and Europe, the STi is the civil, reasonable car. The Evo is the driver's car. I have no doubt now that the Evo is the quicker of the two given equally experienced drivers. I take solace in the fact that I'll be able to easily bump the power to about 350 bhp, and I'll play around with alignment and swaybars to dial out the understeer. But 1 mph difference in the slalom is a *massive* advantage (as reported by several magazines). You'll probably have to change the entire suspension to fix that issue (at the expense of ride quality, of course) and then what you've got is no longer an STi, but a custom car. You might as well buy the Evo and just concentrate on the motor.
Maybe I am jumping the gun, but I really think that SOA backed off a little bit here. They could have just given us the JDM setup, but it looks like we've got something much more like the US WRX deal. Sad.