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      05-12-2013, 09:01 AM   #45
drob23
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I'll drop in with my $.02, I was actually shopping this segment and moved slowly up into the 335i/S4 segment

If you are thinking hot hatch, the cars I cross shopped were: GTI, Golf R, WRX (STI is just not a good DD IMO, horrible MPG), Focus ST, and Mazda S3. Although I was sort of partial to AWD.

The GTI was *awesome* love the DSG and handling, wasn't really a fan of the interior cloth though. Look is true to a hot hatch and I think overall a classy car. You can mod the #!*$ out of these cars It's somewhat slower than the focus ST or Mazda from my butt dyno. Like a previous poster mentioned, I'd hold out for the Mk 7 GTI, which should hit the states in ~1 year?

Golf R was more refined and only comes in 6MT, but the car is still a FWD car at heart and it's pretty hard to justify a $35k VW. I was pretty close to pulling the trigger on this...

WRX was noticeably worse in terms of interior but I simply love the hatch look (sedan makes me laugh with ridiculous wing). It took a while, but the difficulty in actually finding these for a good price and the weakness of the engine tech finally killed my boy racer dreams of a wrx.

The Focus ST is an incredible balance within the segment, I actually think the interior is really nice for a car at this price point. You get fantastic recaro seats, just awesome. The engine tech is great and the torque vectoring control they did with the e-diff really helps combat torque steer. The exterior looks are a little over the top, but if you get it in a quieter color like blue or white it looks pretty cool - the orange yellow is too much for me. The car was developed and tuned by Ford of Germany, where they place a big premium on handling dynamics since cars like this are actually the performance pinnacle within some European markets (wish we could get the Focus RS ). If you are partial to the Ford, I'd wait to also check out the Fiesta ST due this summer. It has the 1.6T instead of the 2.0T, but is lighter and should be somewhat more nimble. The WRC chassis moved to the fiesta a couple years ago and Ken Block uses the platform - although obviously a completely different car - 0-60 in 2.5 seconds or whatever it is

The Mazda was kind of a ridiculous car in terms of overpowered FWD. Torque steer nightmare. I'd wait to check out their new model which should be due out soon?

The BRZ/FR-S is obviously an awesome car although I never drove one. Like you mentioned, might want to wait for the STI version and see if they turbocharge the engine. Also, the new WRX is due out pretty soon and should have the same engine at a higher state of tune than the BRZ.
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      05-12-2013, 09:35 AM   #46
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I agree with drob23 about the Focus ST. The comment about balance in the segment is right on. It drives about as well as the Mazdaspeed 3, but is much more refined. It's actually quieter on the highway then my TSX, and its engine reminded me of the 328i's turbo four, though of course it probably is not underrated like the BMW motor.

I've also tested a Scion FR-S, and I absolutely loved it. I think the glowing reviews are generally accurate, but the electrically assisted steering is numb on center, much like that of many other cars including the F30 328i. The Focus ST would be a better daily driver for most people, and its EPS actually has good on center feel, which provides more confidence on the highway IMO.
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      05-12-2013, 11:19 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by KORALLROT View Post
Even the Turbo version? 1.6L, 201HP, 195lb-ft.? Seems decent for the weight, no?
I drove one for a client and I felt like it showed up about 5 years too late to the party... Everything is turbo'd now and while the power gets the job done it still left a lot to be desired, you should give it a spin and see what you think because it's all relative.
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      05-12-2013, 01:16 PM   #48
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I've never owned an RX8 (and wouldn't) but I have owned 2 RX7 turbos and rebuilt and modded the engines in both by myself. Rotaries are very cool and an ingenious design in many ways, but if you're going to act like they're not temperamental, unreliable engines then you're crazy. IMO rotaries are great for enthusiasts, but they're a terrible choice for a daily driving road car.
you're entitled to your opinion. i daily drove mine for 9 years and over 100K miles, had a baby, slapped a car seat in it, still daily drove it and I'm hardly a rotary mechanic but do like cars. I just followed the owners manual that said check your oil dipstick every three weeks. The car is still running strong. Why am I crazy? Were' talking about an Rx8, and you stated you haven't owned one, so those reading can take your opinion as they wish.

There's bad reps on the rotary because tons of internet guys who tried to boost their rx7s and blew their motors say the rotary is unreliable. (not you in particular, but tons of guys mod the FD).

The FD Rx7s were not nearly as reliable as Rx8s, which is the car the OP is mentioning. I would not advise him to get a twin turbo FD rx-7.
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      05-14-2013, 07:47 AM   #49
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So jelly right now. Did you get any of the packages? Are they any good? Recaro seats yay or nay?
Sorry I disappeared for a while.NO leather and no Recaros. It's actually my sister-in-laws car that she keeps as a toy at my shop & she doesn't care if I drive it. She sent me to make the deal on it last fall and it was the only one I could find in the area. When I showed her the #'s it made sense to go with the ST. It doesn't take many options on a regular Focus to get it up to the ST's price.(I negotiated it down to $24,200 with the options)You give up a nav system and leather so you can have that engine and suspension...that sounds like a fair deal to me. Granted, I LOVE the Recaros (especially the blue car), but this car does have the appearance package (18" wheels, fogs, moonroof and a few others, so its not like its stripped. I really do love driving this car. There's just something about it. I wish I could find a pic I snapped. In person the yellow is retina searing on a sunny day & it has a lot of metallic to it. Ford really did a good job with this car
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      05-14-2013, 08:02 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reznick View Post
Sorry I disappeared for a while.NO leather and no Recaros. It's actually my sister-in-laws car that she keeps as a toy at my shop & she doesn't care if I drive it. She sent me to make the deal on it last fall and it was the only one I could find in the area. When I showed her the #'s it made sense to go with the ST. It doesn't take many options on a regular Focus to get it up to the ST's price.(I negotiated it down to $24,200 with the options)You give up a nav system and leather so you can have that engine and suspension...that sounds like a fair deal to me. Granted, I LOVE the Recaros (especially the blue car), but this car does have the appearance package (18" wheels, fogs, moonroof and a few others, so its not like its stripped. I really do love driving this car. There's just something about it. I wish I could find a pic I snapped. In person the yellow is retina searing on a sunny day & it has a lot of metallic to it. Ford really did a good job with this car

Agreed!
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      05-14-2013, 08:30 AM   #51
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So, I had the opportunity to test drive both cars yesterday back to back, in almost identical configurations. I will be going with the Focus ST. It was close, but not really.



GTI:
  • Overall build feels very sturdy, solid and like a German car should feel. Reminiscent an e46.
  • Interior is very nice, and can easily pass for an Audi.
  • Exterior is also very well expressed, and I like the red brakes. Nice touch. Overall exterior design though is very understated for a GTI.
  • Engine and power delivery is good, but not even close to the ST. The GTI is very underpowered in lower revs. It does not have good pickup, and the turbo is quite laggy.
  • Clutch, brakes and steering in the GTI where the main deal breakers here. The clutch feels so light (Camry light), brakes are soft and the steering is sloppy. If I'm being nice.















ST:
  • Overall build is nothing really to talk about. It feels plastciky and can not be distinguished from a base Focus.
  • Interior is too busy, and the Ford My Touch crap is so annoying and not easy to deal with at all. It's almost like an afterthought. Also, did I mention lots and lots of plastic (rattles down the road?).
  • Exterior is much more aggressive than the GTI. BONUS points for that. This car looks great in person. It talks to you. It reaches out and touches your inner racer boy. Sniff sniff.
  • Engine and overall power delivery in the ST is head and shoulders above the GTI. There is an almost immediate pickup in lower revs, un-noticeable turbo lag. Very very peppy car. Un-mistakeably fast. I also love the very narrow clutch range (engages almost immediately), similar to my e90 with a clutch stop installed.
  • Suspension is very firm and very much "together".
  • The steering is also very notable here. 1.8 turns lock to lock. WOW. Very sensitive and immediate response. I miss that.
  • Great exhaust note, although some of it is manufactured or amplified.
  • Brakes are exactly what you would expect from a performance car.

The ST feels like a base car that has been modded just right for sporty street driving and pleasure. Exhaust, 18 inch wheels, responsive steering, 6MT, great brakes, stiff suspension, 250hp/270tq, Recaro driver and passenger seats. Saves me a lot of work.








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      05-14-2013, 08:49 AM   #52
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Nice job man, appreciate your reviews. I wonder if anyone does aftermarket interior trim piece upgrades for the ST? Something like this - http://ocarbon.com/products/audi/a4/b8 MFT definitely sucks, I'm not a fan at all...

I might be wrong, but I think the extra noise is from some valve that "opens" into the cabin when you open up the throttle. So it's sort of manufactured I suppose, but much better than using a speaker/stereo like my car or the M5.
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      05-14-2013, 09:20 AM   #53
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My vote goes for the Focus ST...I'm trying to convince my brother to get it as a DD, great engine, tranny, and suspension combo for track and DD:
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      05-14-2013, 09:57 AM   #54
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Can't go wrong with the ST, it's a helluva car. Is that a po-po SHO in the background of that first pic?
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      05-14-2013, 11:19 PM   #55
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Why not a Mazdaspeed6? AWD & better interior/options FTW

MS3 is Wrong Wheel Drive.
RX-8 has no torque, screw that.
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      05-14-2013, 11:20 PM   #56
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Can't go wrong with the ST, it's a helluva car. Is that a po-po SHO in the background of that first pic?
yes, you can. It's FWD. Ford should have made an AWD ST Fusion not a FWD ST Focus.
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      05-14-2013, 11:57 PM   #57
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Why aren't you using your 2013 335i xDrive as a daily driver? That's hardly a "garage queen" kind of car.
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      05-15-2013, 02:10 AM   #58
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^Exactly what this guy is saying.

Why don't you daily the F30 and weekend an S2000?
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      05-15-2013, 04:58 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NemesisX View Post
Why aren't you using your 2013 335i xDrive as a daily driver? That's hardly a "garage queen" kind of car.

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Originally Posted by b0bab0i View Post
^Exactly what this guy is saying.

Why don't you daily the F30 and weekend an S2000?


1. It's too much car for a daily commuter, IMO. I don't need 300 lb-ft of torque traffic light to traffic light.

2. I drive roughly 2000 miles per month.

3. I just flat out do not enjoy driving this car. Probably because I got the auto. It's nice and everything, but not fun at all for me.


My plan is selling the f30, getting a Focus ST for my daily, and waiting on the M235i. If the M235i doesn't work either, I might go to a used Cayman or Boxster drop top for the weekend.
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      05-15-2013, 12:40 PM   #60
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yes, you can. It's FWD. Ford should have made an AWD ST Fusion not a FWD ST Focus.
Except we're talking about daily drivers here. FWD is good for some things: it's compact, more efficient, has far fewer moving parts, weighs less, and is cheaper to implement. The ST is a hoot to drive, FWD or not.

What do you think the sticker would be on an AWD ST Fusion? Way more than what the Focus ST would be, that's for sure. Although I'd like to see one of those too, I don't think it qualifies as "instead of a Focus ST" material.

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      05-15-2013, 01:22 PM   #61
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I've never owned an RX8 (and wouldn't) but I have owned 2 RX7 turbos and rebuilt and modded the engines in both by myself. Rotaries are very cool and an ingenious design in many ways, but if you're going to act like they're not temperamental, unreliable engines then you're crazy. IMO rotaries are great for enthusiasts, but they're a terrible choice for a daily driving road car.
When talking about rotary reliability, there is a big difference between NA and turbo. Yes, heat can be an issue for rotaries (though I have my doubts on a daily driver). More importantly, they don't tolerate knock at all. And that is commonly tied to turbo rotaries.

My team has done 3 endurance races on an NA rotary. We've had modest success despite having zero prior racing experience, and the #1 factor I'd attribute that success to is the reliability of the motor. Call me crazy, but for a daily driver, I wouldn't be concerned about NA rotary reliability at all. I might be concerned about gas mileage though.
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      05-15-2013, 08:29 PM   #62
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Cant believe nobody posted this already

3 of the cars you mentioned compared against each other.



I agree S2000 all day
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      05-16-2013, 10:14 PM   #63
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Quote:
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EDIT: Never mind. My hopes have been crushed.


"New engine, same suspension
Even before turning a single wheel in the Veloster Turbo, however, our expectations met harsh reality again this summer when product planners at Hyundai's U.S. headquarters revealed that the damping, the spring rates, and the bushings were all left unchanged for the Turbo. We had been hoping for a more mature setup -- something with the suppleness and sophistication of a Volkswagen GTI. Instead, the Turbo suffers the same busy, stiff-legged ride over cracks and heaves as the base car.

Read more: http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews/driven/1206_2013_hyundai_veloster_turbo/#ixzz2T09qRze7"




But man ... SEXY!


.
The sight of that thing burns my eyes. 3 doors?!? Hideous.
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      05-16-2013, 10:15 PM   #64
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My plan is selling the f30, getting a Focus ST for my daily, and waiting on the M235i. If the M235i doesn't work either, I might go to a used Cayman or Boxster drop top for the weekend.
Move to a Cayman and you will NEVER look back.
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      05-17-2013, 05:19 AM   #65
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Quote:
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The sight of that thing burns my eyes. 3 doors?!? Hideous.

I dunno man, I freakin love that design. Ouuuf!




Quote:
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Move to a Cayman and you will NEVER look back.
Yeah, it may work like that. I would hate to do that as I have been a BMW guy my whole life. It would suck if there is not one single decent driver car in their entire line up.
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      05-17-2013, 07:34 AM   #66
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