IW STi Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
866 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
For those that may not frequent nasioc.com.
Paul Hansen said:
Got a chance to drive an actual production STi last night (JDM spec) thanks to a friend that was willing to let my slightly abuse it. We did some runs in it on my favorite road course, a section of road that is entirely made up of curves, you'll never get out of 3rd in the STi, other than one or two short straights. I know it like the back of my hand, which is useful when driving a car to get a feel for it's handling. The other vehicle was a built-up B4 Legacy that is a ways from stock.

It was really good to get into a non-press car, it is always illuminating to find out what the actual consumer gets in the end. Surprisingly enough, the engine felt all there compared to the cars I drove at Fuji Speedway. Very strong, very torquey throughout the entire rpm range. Low-end is tremendous for a 2.0-litre, STi really went through this engine and produced an absolute gem, probably their best engine ever, bar the 22b 2.2-litre. Even then, I think for a stock setup this is possibly the best they've ever made. Another 500cc's of displacement for Americans along with AVCS will more than make up for the lack of twin-scroll, especially with the low-end difference that much displacement entails.

The 6-speed is the same as before, whether you want to call it notchy or mechanical in feel, it's no uber-smooth Honda unit. Given the power that it is routing around to 4 wheels, I'm not surprised. OTOH, I had no problem getting into any gear at any time, so while it may lack smoothness, there's no problems finding the right gear and shifting. Once you become familiar with it the feel becomes rather reassuring, feedback that there is some strength to this tranny.

The balance of the car is amazing. Bloody amazing. You'll need some real guts and experience to push it anywhere near it's limits. In fact, getting to it's actual limits is a rather daunting task, because they are so high that even at the track, you'll be going a lot quicker than you are used to. While standard 070's certainly help, the fact that the rear end is so much more stable than past Subaru's really helps you get the job done. Where the B4 had to be left-foot braked and finessed around corners at 80-90kmph, I was literally cruising in the STi at those same speeds or even a little more, and certainly had some headroom left. It's very chuckable if you like to do that. The new setup and turn-in eliminate that need if you want to drive it smooth, it will turn-in quite well and just plain goes where you want it to. Once again, I felt no need to leave the DCCD in anything but automatic mode, it just plain works. When working the tyres a bit the handling front to rear is very neutral with little understeer. This was a standard STi, not a Spec C RA, which means less turn-in than the Spec C. However, it did reinforce my impression that the standard STi setup may be a bit better for on-the-road driving, away from the track. Given the incredible performance of the car a little bit of a safety margin was nice, especially if you needed to hammer the brakes mid-corner.

That brings me to the one area that does not measure up with the press cars. Brakes. When properly set up, they are more than adequete. They brought me down from 100+mph speeds at Fuji Speedway without drama. There was little, if no fade in them there. Great stuff. But not something you get on the actual car that you buy from the dealer. Just trying to keep up with me on one run through the "course" resulted in massive brake fade for the STi. The B4 Legacy non-stock setup (4-pot calipers, DBA rotors, metal lines, 4.5 fluid and semi-carbon pads) was absolutely rocking for brakes, even when left foot braking through the entire course, but the STi on the stock Brembo setup was not. While the pads/rotors probably became glazed early on, the fluid and lines were also not up to snuff. This won't effect most owners, but for the enthusiasts out there that do courses with a lot of braking, mesh lines, fluid and possibly better pads are a necessity. This is why I was glad to test a production car rather than a press car, for while the press car may have had the pads and rotors bedded in better, the fluid and lines were simply better than what the consumer recieves. I would hope that the American market STi would get better, but I doubt it. Something to remember, though, is that my driving will not reflect what 90% or more of STi owners will ever do, even at the track.

All in all, a complete work of art, with only a minor niggle about braking. STi has really got the entire package working in one symphony of ferocious motion. And I solved the problem with the brakes early on, by simply not using them.

Cheers,

Paul Hansen
www.apexjapan.com
I am getting damn tired of waiting for our STi. :x
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
I can't believe the brakes though. That was very dissapointing. One lap and those suckers were fading horribly he said. I don't know about anyone else but i will be driving the heck outta this car at Gingerman Raceway as soon as i am done breaking in the engine. I was planning on saving some money by not having to upgrade the brakes cause i figured big expensive brembos would be able to handle the flogging....i guess they won't. Now I'm gonna have to upgrade those right off the bat too....phooey :x I would prefer that they just put on some good non-brembo brakes and make the msrp lower since the brembos won't cut it and need to be upgraded anyways. OR actually Subaru should do like Nissan with the 350Z and offer some kind of track package for people like me who plan to flog their car every weekend. Upgraded brakes, lines, pads, recaro race seats, removed sound deadening material, harder suspension like the evo, lower steering ratio, sport gauges including boost gauge, remove the side impact airbags(keep the dual fronts though), and give us a better close ratio 6-speed tuned for our engine characteristics etc. Handles better, brakes better, drives better, shifts better, goes faster and weighs less for say...another $3,000.00-$4,000.00. Adding all that stuff in and deducting the costs of all the removed items should keep the cost of such a package reasonable. Now that would be sweet. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Wow! Crutchfield Rocks!

Oh my bad....still that sucks for a car like this to have that kind of problem after one lap. I really think subaru should offer a sweet package like i described though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
83 Posts
I wonder how much an improvement you would see by just upgrading the pads and fluid, without changing out the lines. Maybe he had water in the lines.

As far as I'm concerned, as long as the only problems are this easy to work on, I don't consider them problems. As long as it doesn't have detonation, transmission, or similar design problems, I'll be ecstatic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,773 Posts
I think for most of us...the Brembos themselves will feel pretty amazing compared to OEM systems. But....I don't see it being a big problem to get some SS lines and some DOT 5 in there. That should take care of most of the problem.

If you are circuit racing, I'd guess you'd go for different pads anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
347 Posts
I am sure the Brembos will be by far the best brakes I have ever used. The truck I have right now has biggere brakes then I have ever had on a car before, and it has smaller brakes and weighs twice what the STi will. Hopefully, I won't put the Brembos through as much torture, though. I've been through three rotors and 3 sets of pads in the last couple of years. :-?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
I wouldn't sweat the brakes too much. Even the brakes on the WRX, with simple upgrades including SS lines, better fluid, and pads makes a HUGE difference. Stock, they aren't bad when compared to other cars. For a car of the calibre of the WRX though, they are below expected performance as they are a bit weak and fade quickly. But a few simple changes bring them right up to snuff. Of course you can get the big brakes put on, but unless you are using it as just a track car, I for one, can't see the need. I race when I get the time, and my setup has worked great so far. And like I said earlier, the difference in these small upgrades was just plan incredible. I'm betting the same changes to the STi will bring the brakes up to the performance of the rest of the car.

Cheers,
Scott
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,069 Posts
I added braided brake lines on my motorcycle and it made a huge difference.

Roughly speaking, how much are the SS lines? I may try to arrange it to have the dealer add those on for me when they're setting up my STi (I'm mechanically challenged).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
866 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Proof

Paul Hansen said:
Review, Part Deuce

Why part II, didn't you go on long enough already? you are asking. BECAUSE!

No no, there are valid reasons. I want to talk handling now, just handling. And I'm going to start off with some explanations from my point of view on understeer, oversteer and the mythical neutral handling.

Now, we're going to start with one constant radius corner with apex speeds around 50mph when driving well. I'll stick with "around", because you really, really shouldn't be looking down at your speedometer while driving around a corner at speed. Learn to gauge your speed by engine note so that you continue to be a member of the somewhat human species.

The bone of contention with understeer in all it forms has more to do with corner entry than anywhere else. When you are hammering it hard up to the corner and manage to brake correctly and then turn in, the first thing that happens is - nothing. It doesn't turn in and continues straight towards the Pine Tree Of Doom. Time here isn't being measured in seconds, thankfully (except for Corolla's), instead this happens in milliseconds (the amount of time that pucker starts in). Of course, you start easing off the damn throttle a bit, the front end starts grabbing and you manage to wrestle it into the proper line. Once you've apexed correctly (hey, I'm optimistic) you get back on the gas - and of course, the smaller Fir Tree Of Doom at the end of the apex before the straight starts cackling in glee. So you modulate the throttle a bit and finally get straight. The good part of understeer is that if you are way too hot going into the corner, the car is essentially very stable - it just goes straight. So you are given a lot of recovery room to save yourself from a date with bark. Get off the throttle, get on the brakes and you should be able to either stop, or regain control of the front and steer your way out of the turn. This really is a good thing, even if understeer is annoying.

Oversteer is held up to the light and pronounced as part of All That Is Holy but that's not necessarily true. First on the bright points. Upon that same entry to the corner, you turn the wheel and, wow, it turns. No hesitation. No manhandling the car into the correct line, instead you can finesse it to the apex, and even keep the throttle going. Whoops. Now the rear end has decided that it would like to give the PTOD a big smack on the woody lips. So once again, you end up modulating the throttle and also have to throw in a dose of countersteer. Slide through that apex a bit sideways and continue to modulate that throttle till you've passed the FTOD, then once you are straight, hello Houston we have launch! Sounds great, right? But that rear end wanting to move has it's dark points also. While you have more control over the front with oversteer, the rear is a pendulum that does need a certain amount of restraint when you are dealing with it. And if it does go too far, either the PTOD or FTOD gets the last laugh.

Ahh, but we are talking Subaru here, and that means AWD with something a little different. A Sort Of Bad Habit of (past) Subaru's is the counterintuitive oversteer handling. You don't want to countersteer, no matter how much that has been hardwired in your brain for whatever reason. You just carefully modulate the throttle and keep the front pointed in the direction that you want to go. That's because the semi-trick centre differential is going to try and save your ass for you, and it's pointless arguing with it. That is a bright and dark point for Subaru's in general, because once you learn how to use it correctly, it gives them a huge chuckability that's hard to match. So once you learn it, you get quite a few of the benefits of understeer, but also a measure of oversteer control if you learn the ropes. One of the reasons so many people love Subaru's - but they still wish for just a little more...

Now on to Neutral. Now, I hate to say this, but there probably exists no such beast in automobiledom, at least not a perfect definition of it. Neutral is more accurately defined as a car whose handling is in the grey area between mild oversteer and mild understeer. It's simple, you turn in, your front goes where you want it to, and your rear end doesn't play any games with that person you met at the bar.

And this is where we get back to the subject that started this little exercise in creative typing. The JDM STi ver. 8 that I've driven now on a couple of occasions. Now, unlike the Spec C RA, it doesn't belong in the Oversteer column. And, thank god, not the Understeer column either. It's in that grey area. It has just a touch of understeer upon entry, and enough throttle-controlled oversteer upon exit to make things interesting.

On entry to the corner I don't have to fight with the steering. While it doesn't have NSX type R levels of turn in, it does turn in very well. There is just a touch of wash and then it's in the groove with no correction needed. Hold on through the apex, and you can literally feel all four tyres dancing on the tarmac, all four patches shifting around slightly depending on the surface they are on at any millisecond, but never fumbling the ball at any point. It's a lovely feeling for control freaks, all input to steering wheel, brakes and throttle have instant, defineable feedback. It's also not harsh in any manner, actually feeling quite good. You not only get to have incredible fun driving the corners, but you can do it as long as you want without feeling like a linebacker's practice dummy. One aspect of this control is the way the engine responds to throttle inputs, of course. The pedal is just firm and linear enough that you know exactly where you are with it. Modulation is a snap, with no bouncy feel to inputs while at the limit mid corner.

Now, the initial feeling is that this is due to the DCCD-A differential, but that's not entirely true. The differential comes into play when it's got something to work with - power. It does a lovely job when you are under power in mid-corner, but the turn-in at corner entry has to do with something else. That's the basic setup of the suspension, and that is indeed different from before. While the standard STi does not have the front end geometry of the Spec C RA, I do suspect that it has been modified from previous models. But the major modification in suspension is in the rear end geometry. It's been revised to cure the mild toe problems under compression in the rear. The result is that the rear tyres keep in contact with the road much better when under load/unload (inside rear/outside rear mid corner). This added control in the rear not only increases overall traction, but it also allows Subaru to move the front end handling far closer to neutral. The overall package ends up being very well balanced. I can say this because I drove a B4 Legacy with many suspension upgrades, including the ALK modification which does increase turn-in and control by a large amount. However, it still has the older-style rear end, and you do have to work the steering a bit more on corner entry to get where you want to go.

The new STi is a supercar for the masses, really. There are very few cars where you can get up to the limits so easily and in such comfort, without being smacked around for your boldness when you do mess it up. I can only wish the more manufacturers would step up to the plate with such a package at such an attractive price.

Paul Hansen
www.apexjapan.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
83 Posts
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but if the handling of the JDM STi is that well balanced, won't the added front end weight of the 2.5L make the understeer during turn in worse? Does anyone know how much more the 2.5L weighs than the 2.0L? And would it make a difference?
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top