Thursday, February 7, 2008

Break-In Procedures

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

The Subaru owner's manual suggests you drive your new STI gently for the first 1,000 miles. Also, don't drive at a constant vehicle speed. Or a constant engine speed. And don't exceed 4,000 rpm. I guess I'll be waiting a while longer to experience those 305 horsepower.

My commute is 25 miles of straight-line highway. How am I supposed to drive at different engine speeds? I'm doing my best by shifting between fifth and sixth gears, and varying between 55 and 70 mph. The other drivers think I'm nuts.

I'm trying to experience some of the high-performance of this car, but with all the above restrictions, it's kind of difficult. I am surprised by how much lateral grip the car has. The suspension feels pretty soft and there's plenty of body lean, but it still sticks really well. The 245-width tires have a lot to do with that, I'm sure. I think the STI would be great to hustle over bumpy back roads.

Ugly, Ugly, Ugly

I can't stand looking at this car. My 2005 Legacy GT was really an attractive car. Subaru did a great job styling both Legacies -- wagon and sedan. This car...well, it sort of looks like a Mazda 3 crashed into a Lexus RX300. To my eye, it's a visual mess. There are weird combinations of curves (the fender bulges, the headlamps), and lines (the sharp cutoff of the front fenders, the front grille). I can't deny it looks tough, but it isn't attractive. Do you hear me, Subaru designers? The new Lancer Evolution is a nice-looking car! What happened in Subaru-land?

So th
e next question is, if I think it's so ugly, why did I buy it? Business! I find it very hard to sell parts for the latest version of the car if I don't have access to one. "Hi, does your blah-blah part fit on the 2008 STI?" "Um, I don't know, we haven't seen one yet. Let me wait until someone brings one by the shop, and lets me test-fit all my parts on it." That doesn't sound good to me. So, out with my beloved Legacy, in with the homely -- but still appealing -- WRX STI.

I think every car looks better with a little more window tint, a little lower stance, and slightly larger/wider wheels and tires. Oh, and some of those things can actually improve the handling, too. So we're going to try some of that, and we'll see what it ends up like.

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