I've been thinking a lot about the 1er lately, and decided that I'd pick one up next fall after the initial hype dies down, if the suspension turns out to be what I want (baby M, really). In the meantime, I wanted something more raw and edgy than my sweet-driving little VW GLI, so yesterday I picked up an '07 Subaru STI.
It's a neat car, for sure. As my wife said, "you certainly aren't paying for the interior" it's pretty nasty
But fun to drive. It feels like a car from the days of yesteryear, where DSC, traction control, etc etc didn't exist; driving it for the first time felt like a filter had been lifted between my inputs and the car's reactions. There's a lot of noise; tire noise, engine noise, wind noise, and the noise of 3 differentials and a whiny (sounds like a straight cut, lol!) gearbox. Instead of being a negative to me, this is a positive.
It's been awhile since I've owned my old Integra Type R, and I still kick myself for selling it. After awhile, I wanted something less raw, more refined; but once I had it, I missed that edgy and involving experience. This STI gets me back to that feeling. I don't think it's quite as stiff as my Type R was, or at least it rides better on the highway.
I have played with it (and the testdrive car) in corners, and it's an entirely odd experience to me. My previous RWD and FWD performance car skills simply don't apply, and I will have to re-learn how this AWD drivetrain likes to attack corners. It is nice to get back to a more rear-biased drivetrain, and the rear will step out if you want it to.
I think my wife summed up my feelings about this car pretty well:
"It's kinda ugly. And that WING! Are you 20 again? The interior is kinda plasticky. No sunroof? Let me turn on the stereo..."
<at this point I go deep into the throttle, and as the revs build frantically:>
"ooooooooh, yes... Honey, don't miss this turn. you have to TURN!"
<hard on the brakes to setup for the corner, hit full boost at the apex>
"AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Give me the keys! I'm driving it home."
I'm going to stick around, as I still plan on buying a 1er... If it turns out to be this fun. I sure hope it does.