Context is everything. I researched extensively & procrastinated over the STi vs S3 vs A45 decision.
Ultimately it came down to the logic of look at the cheapest one & see if you are happy with it. I’d read about the relatively “cheap” interior, but I was hopping out of a 10yr old Monaro. In that context the interior of the STi was a nice place to be, especially in the Premium format.
The next thing to strike me was the things the STi was not…it was not as laggy as I expected (the tipping point being 2000rpm not 3000rpm as expected), and it was not impossibly firm in its ride again in context of the Monaro it actually felt more compliant.
It soaked up bumps, but still sat remarkably flat through corners. Then there was the delightfully heavy steering, like halfway between a car & a go-kart. Catching me out was how quickly this thing revs, & builds speed!!! The turbo delivers a fair kick up the butt around the 3300-3400rpm mark, but even when not getting up it a glance at the speedo often surprises.
The clutch took a little getting use to after the long-travel relatively heavy unit in the Monaro but 3000klms in I’m well on top of it. The gearbox is a delight to use, light notchey & with very short shifts, only the 5-4 shift catching me out a few times.
Brakes are superb in effect, but do lack a little feel to me. Fuel consumption has settled down to be slightly less then claimed which is a pleasant surprise, but around town it certainly doesn’t mind a drink.
All in all I couldn’t be happier at this early stage of ownership. The car has exceeded my expectations. It’s a very pleasant place to be, has performance to spare, & I love it’s unique aggressive look. I couldn’t want for any more, although the soon to be installed Stage1 ECU tune, with a factory backed warranty mind you, will definitely make things interesting!