Really, I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt here because I know that we all really like the STi and our enthusiasm is a good thing for this forum, but to suggest that detonation is somthing that we should live with from a brand new car is misleading to others who read here. Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion, but I think it's irresponsible to equate a factory STi with a modified WRX. With the latter, the owner takes responsibility for the tuning of the engine. With the former, it's all up to Subaru, and they dropped the ball.
It's just awful to see Subaru letting the car out of the gates in this fashion. As I am sure most are aware, several very reputable tuners (TubroXS, etc.) have reproduced the pinging problem on the dyno and have described the issue extremely clearly--namely, that the "learning" feature of the spark advance does not really learn, but instead drives the car into detonation over and over again. This hasn't happend on all the cars, but a cursory poll at NASIOC has shown that a significant minority have experienced ping on 91, 92, and even 93 octane. I fully realize that this car is a fantasitc vehicle, and I very much look forward to owning one, but we cannot let Subaru get away with this sort of thing. We should complain loudly about a poorly-tuned ECU that could *significanlty* compromise the reliability and resale value of the car.
For those who have not yet read anything on the subject, I'd suggest following Nathan's posts on this thread:
Here's a full writeup from his site:
http://www.turboxs.com/TXS TECH STI 1.htm
I've seen a few anechdotes from Shiv--he heard some pinging at the track day at Willow; we'll have to wait to see a definitive writeup from the Vishnu angle. I suspect 91 octane will only make things worse.
The fact that the STi is a "high-end performance car" should not affect the discussion at all. Whether it's your Geo Metro or your Porsche GT2, if it pings, it's a problem. Subaru should make it right, and it's up to us to convince them to do it. I don't want to see a repeat of the E46 M3 bearing issue--and BMW is usually better to their owners than SOA.
Ping is bad! Subaru: fix it! If you hear pinging, report it to your dealer! Playing it down will only make it harder for all of us to get this issue fixed,