Preaching To The Converted
I have just read Subaru Australia's response to your Impreza WRX STi article and must say that their attitude is extremely disappointing. I am the proud owner of an MY02 Subaru WRX STi (and an MY01 WRX as well) and I think that your evaluation of the
car was completely fair.
The car is an absolute rocket with great handling and stopping but there is no denying that it is very hard to drive around town with its seriously underdeveloped engine. The sooner that Subaru acknowledges there is a problem the sooner that they can find a solution.
I have my own opinion as to what I believe to be the ideal solution. They need to abandon the 2.0-litre formula except for the rally homologation cars. The new STi is almost 15 per cent heavier than the old car so let's bump up the engine capacity to say 2.4 litres and increase the compression ratio to 8.5:1. This should be quite possible with 98 RON fuel and would give a significant torque and flexibility boost.
I contacted Robert Car of Subaru around the time of your article regarding the poor tune of the STi engine and the ease that aftermarket tuners (including STi themselves) are having in reducing the problem. He merely trotted out the same company line as David Rowley and sent me a glossy version of the STi technical specification.
Keep up the good work. AutoSpeed continues to produce bracingly honest articles that do not pander to the industry.
You Want The Good News Or The Bad News First?
I would like to first congratulate you on your very unbiased reviews on most new car tests, and your recent coverage of the Ralliart Magna and the WRX STi was excellent in exposing its cons and pros.
In the future however, and I'm sure many readers would agree, I would advise you to try to be a little more polite and subtle when you speak about the negative points about the cars. Although I do admire your style of journalism I'm just a tad worried that the manufacturers won't supply you with new car models for future testing purposes! AutoSpeed won't be that good a read then, I think!
Maybe you could try to write about the pros of a car first in the first page before discussing about the baddies as a change. That way we still get the full story but the car supplier won't be offended as soon as they read the first paragraph!
You have a good point about the manufacturers being unwilling to supply cars for testing ? it is a situation that AutoSpeed ? and other magazines ? have found themselves in, in the past. But there?s always a way around such small logistical problems!
Good News, Bad News Too
I have to say I love your car reviews. The WRX STi, the Ralliart Magna, the Corollas... they're all great.
AutoSpeed has come to develop high expectations from me with the reviews presented in a 'no bullshit, tell it like it is' manner. I also love the discussions of fuel economy, traction and real world (soft launch) acceleration figures.
I'd read all the mainstream reviews of the Subaru STi and was very happy to find out you guys had just tested it. Having read both the article and the response from Subaru... I have to give you my 100 per cent support, keep it up! Both your initial article and your response to Subaru were on the ball, don't change a thing because what you have is great and is why I'm an avid reader keen on getting the real story.
Of particular interest was your comment on hard launches voiding factory warranties. I was not much aware of this before reading that letter... but I have to say that that's a serious issue, please investigate and document. If indeed it does void the warranty I don't think Subaru has the right to advertise that figure - at the end of the day it doesn't actually correspond with their product. Maybe they should make up two advertisements: one with 5 second times and now warranty and one with real times and real warranty!
Also, note to Subaru Australia: There is a difference between unjustifiably bagging out a car and telling it like it is. Every car has it weak points and a good journalist has a responsibility to discuss them. Praises to AutoSpeed for doing so while mainstream printed media is only half way there.
Tell It Like It Is
I have read Subaru's feedback to your STi article (which probably had a solicitors letter head on it) and can only say BRAVO! to AutoSpeed.
It's just these reviews that we REALLY want to read; honest, up front and no bullshit.
I personally know someone who was considering purchasing an STi Impreza, and was shocked at just how much of an 'on/off' sort of car it was, he commented on the same things: No low down guts, he got dragged by a Hyundai Excel at the lights while on a test drive and found that if you are caught in the wrong gear, you could very well be in trouble. He wasn't impressed by the cheap look of the interior, for a car costing nearly 60 grand in Australia, you would expect more. He got a Subaru, but a standard RX and had it modified by a reputable performance shop. It now does mid-12s.
It's these honest reviews that keep me subscribing to AutoSpeed and avoid the print magazines with their sugar-sweet reviews of cars.
For the information of AutoSpeed readers, although Subaru Australia voiced its concern over our article, there was no threat of legal action. GT
It?s In The Book
Replying to: "Do any readers know of any good books? Let us know!" in AutoSpeed Response recently. Custom Auto Electronics and Auto Electrical by Frank 'Choco' Munday. ISBN 0 949398 73 X Available from Graffiti Publications Pty Ltd. PO Box 232, Castlemaine, Victoria. 3450. International Phone # 613 5472-3653.
It's also available from Amazon.com. Hope this helps, it?s a top book!
I have recently been involved in an engine swap for a 1985 Daihatsu G11 turbo Charade. We took out the carby turbo model and have put in a DOHC EFI turbo engine same capacity etc. Now the vehicle was unregistered so on taking it to get the blue slip it was fine until they look for the engine number, anyway they eventually find it then say we have to have an engineers certificate to get it passed. Why? Because it is now EFI? It is still the same capacity. We called the engineer and he asked what computer are we running? We tell him Microtech. He says ?no can do, has to be original computer?? Since when are aftermarket computers illegal? Why? I would have thought a properly tuned aftermarket computer would mean better for emissions.
Aftermarket computers have never been ?legal? for road use in Australia, however many Recognised Engineering Signatories (engineers accredited by state government registration authorities to approve modified vehicles for road use) will rubber-stamp the use of aftermarket computers and make note of this in the car?s engineers report. This will usually only be for ?Retrotech? engine transplants in older cars that were NOT available with factory EFI, not for the use of a replacement computer on a factory-built EFI car. As you have found, it?s a good idea to find out these things from your state registering authority before you lift a spanner. GT
How do you disable the rev limit on an EFI car?
It depends on the car. What do you have?
Regarding the reader enquiry from New Zealand about sourcing the Jim Mock Motorsport Falcon upgrade packages: I'd love to see the "air express" satchels you send places. Must be a bloody big satchel to fit a cam, exhaust system, fuel pump, air filter, and spark plugs. And in the case of the higher DEV packages, a gasket, fuel pressure regulator, valve springs and a modified head. Like I said, must be a bloody big satchel.
East Maitland, Australia
I?ve had cams, exhaust systems, valve springs and other specialist components delivered overnight, interstate, by Air Express. But I usually buy smaller maintenance items, such as spark plugs and gaskets, locally. We?re confident that Jim Mock Motorsport ? and most other Australian specialists - would be more than willing to ship product to customers in New Zealand or other countries. GT