Friday, February 22, 2008


I hate to sound like a luddite, but the SI-Drive ("Subaru Intelligent Drive") thing just seems ridiculous to me. It's a knob in the center console (just where BMW puts their also-ridiculous iDrive knob) that can select from among three different modes. On the STI all it does is change the mapping of the throttle pedal to the actual throttle behavior. I (Intelligent) mode appears to limit maximum throttle, plus it has a shift light that encourages you to short-shift to improve gas mileage. S (Sport) gives you access to full throttle, but the initial pedal generates almost no apparent reaction from the car. S# ("Sport Sharp") is the only one that makes the motor feel like I would expect, with peppy response at lower throttle angles.

The reason I find this system silly is that I already am in control of my throttle foot. If I want to restrict myself to 30% throttle, I can do that without even switching a button. I'll just soft-pedal the gas. Plus, if I change my mind, I don't have to find the button, I can just mash the accelerator! (Gee, maybe I should get a trademark on this system. I'll call it..."I Drive.")

Designing the button to look like a BMW iDrive button is insulting. What, does Subaru think I'm an idiot, and that somehow the cachet of the BMW will rub off on them? This reminds me of those cheap boom box stereos that have what looks like a ten-band graphic equalizer, but it's really just two sliders and a bunch of lines so it gives the appearance of more bands.

I'm in the fortunate position to be able to actual fiddle with the iDrive -- sorry, the SI-Drive -- throttle mapping using the Cobb AccessPort, so I plan to just take the "Sport Sharp" behavior and make the default mode work like that.

I must confess I wish that the money invested in giving my STI the SI-Drive system were spent instead on a couple other creature comforts that are common these days, like a sunroof, or heated seats. Yes, yes, I know, that's not in the spirit of the hard-core performance car, but what can I say. I already established that the STI isn't so much a hard-core care anyway. And even my old 2003 Evo had a sunroof.

1 comment:

digweed said...

You should dyno it in all 3 modes to see what the difference is. My wife just picked one up and I'm curious :)