Tuesday, February 5, 2008
We picked up our 2008 Subaru WRX STI on Friday, February 1. Thanks to the folks at Annapolis Subaru for an easy and pleasant buying experience. Sales Manager Chris Kelly is extremely friendly and very knowledgeable about the Subaru product line and the enthusiast community. Sales guy Ed Rucker is super-friendly, too; plus, he drives an '06 STi and he's definitely a car nut himself. Parts guru Jackie said hi, but I had to run out without visiting with her. Hi, Jackie!
I also got to drink coffee from the Super Duper Robot Cappuccino Deluxe 5000 machine. It offers like 20 varieties of coffee. Truly amazing.
So, thumbs up for Annapolis Subaru!
First Driving Impressions:
It's like driving a smaller, tighter Legacy GT. Which makes sense because the car basically IS a Legacy GT under the skin -- put the two side by side on a lift if you don't believe me. The good part of that is that it's quiet, comfortable, and buttoned down in corners. The downside is that it's certainly not the visceral, twitchy hard-core feeling STI that we've grown to know and love. (I know, everyone has been over this before.) To me the challenge will be getting back a little of that more direct feel without losing that nice comfort.
I listened only to the radio for the first hundred miles or so, and was ready to declare the stock audio system awful. The sound was muddy, and the volume was too soft -- I had to crank it to about 36 (out of 40) to hear anything. Then I put in a CD -- actually, a data CD of ripped MP3s -- and it sounded like a whole different system. There's no low bass to speak of, but otherwise it sounds pretty good, and it's plenty loud. I wonder if the problem with FM radio has something to do with a defective antenna or something?
On my last several cars, I have installed "clear bra" paint protectant, and we applied it to this car, too. (Technically, we applied Scotchgard Paint Protection Film. And professional installer Sophann To did the install.) This is a sticky clear film that is applied to the paint on the front of the car to prevent paint damage from rocks and other road stuff. It works great. It's not cheap, though -- for the price you could probably repaint the front of the car. So from a strict financial standpoint it's questionable. But I don't like seeing my car slowly chewed up from the daily highway commute. We covered the front bumper, hood, hood scoop, mirrors, and also did some strips below each door -- those fat side skirts are going to catch a lot of feet as people exit the car.
We'll also be doing window tint. I like it for the cooler interior, the reduced visibility of car contents (I've had many cars broken into in the past), and the way the car looks with tinted windows.
I also swapped out the interior lights (dome and map lights) to LED units. I'll post about that in a future blog entry.