Rotational Banner

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A New Beginning

Got the car!

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to formally introduce you to Machine Zealots' new project car, Impulse. This is a 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI. For those of you who don't know anything about this car, let me break it down for you. This car is known to be a torque monster, it produces 300 HP at 6000 RPM and 300 ft-lbs of torque at 4000 RPM! This power comes from a stock turbocharged 2.5L flat-4 boxer engine with a top mount intercooler, running 14.5 PSI. This is an AWD car, with limited slip differentials on the front and rear wheels. You could imagine this car handles corners like a pro, and it isn't terrible on the straights either. Rated to run 0-60 in a mere 5.2 seconds, and the quarter mile at 13.5 secs @ 100MPH. The downside to most AWD cars is usually the weight of the car and the gas mileage. However, this STI only weigh's a humble 3315 lbs, comparable to most RWD BMW's, and certainly lighter than the 2010 Chevy Camaro V6 that I had traded in.

With only 15000 miles on this car, the fun will begin now.

The STI also has a lot of little neat features that I really love. For one, the car comes with a shift light! You can set the shift light to come on at any RPM you see fit (up to 7000 RPM). You can also toggle a buzzer that comes on with the light. If selected, you will hear three rapid beeps when the set RPM has been reached.

There is also an intercooler water spray button on the inside of the car. With a push of a button, water will spray onto the intercooler, cooling it down, keeping the engine running more efficiently on a hot summers day.

I/C Water Spray button, and HID Headlight height adjustment

The STI's also come standard with DCCD (Drivers Center Controlled Differential). You can leave it in automatic mode, which the car adjusts the differentials to how it sees fit. Or the driver can turn it to manual, and set the differentials anywhere from full locked to fully open differentials. I won't even begin to pretend that I know how this system works, it's actually quite a complex system, and I think I might leave it on auto for now lol.

This STI comes in a 6-Speed manual gear box, with a STI short throw shifter.

The STI also does a very good job on the interior of the car. Keeping in mind that this is a 2006 car, the blue trim and the sport bucket seats remain a timeless enhancement to this race car. The steering wheel, shift knob and hand brake are all perforated leather bound with red stitching to really give you that sporty look and feel.

The seats are surprisingly comfortable, but mainly, they look great.

The STI also comes standard with a set of Brembo Disc brakes, 4-piston front, and 2-piston rear. This is enough to stop the car from 60-0MPH in only 107 ft.!

Wishing I had the Gold Wheels! =(

Basically every single part of this car was meant to perform, and the wheels are no exception. The car comes stock with a set of lightweight aluminum forged BBS wheels. The wheels are 17x8" and each weigh only 15 lbs! The tires wrapping the BBS wheels are extremely slick Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tires, which I believe are discontinued now.

Roof vane, and a huge dual-plane spoiler.

All this car is missing is an aggressive front splitter, otherwise the aerodynamic parts on this car mean some serious business. The roof vane, as shown above, is meant to channel the air at high speeds, into the huge spoiler on the trunk. The STI also has a full set of aerodynamically designed side skirts and a rear diffuser to complete the car.

Comes stock with a 4" STI branded exhaust tip.

The exhaust tip was not taken for granted either. Coming from the Camaro V6 and their stock 2.5" exhaust tips, the STI's 4" exhaust tips were more than satisfactory to me. The Subaru engine coupled with the exhaust really makes it sound like a very deep 4-cylinder car. I love the sound of this car, especially when the turbo kicks in, there really isn't anything like it. Of course, this being my first turbocharged car, I might be in the honeymoon stages. =p

Now, I'm sure some of you are wondering, what are the major differences between the 06' STI and the 2010 Camaro V6. Before we start, please keep in mind that this comparison and review is a personal one between the two cars I have owned. Okay? Let's begin.

The Exterior

While the general public turn their heads when they see a Camaro passing by, the STI does not blend in with the mundane sea of cars either.

The Camaro's wide body stance, aggressively chiseled front fascia, and stylishly muscular lines really does make the Camaro look like the king of the road. I can not even count the number of times complete strangers have walked up to me to talk to me about the Camaro. I've had asians, blondes, and brunettes take pictures of the car with their cellphones.

The STI also has some prominent exterior features that turn heads. Mainly, the huge dual-plane spoiler in the back, and the giant hood scoop. However, the front of the STI is aggressive in its own right. With the HID hawk-eye shaped headlights, and the aircraft wing influenced front grille, the STI presents a killer presence on any road.

The Interior

In my opinion, both cars could have used a better interior. Mainly the quality of it, not the design. However, for people who care more about performance than aethetics, both cars deliver enough interior flare.

The Camaro's Tach and Speedo gauges really reminds you of a classic muscle car mixed with modern jazz. The dials, buttons and gauges illuminate in a light pale blue. While that does look clean and futuristic, I am not a total fan. Then again, this is just personal preference. The center console is my favorite part of the interior, especially if you have the auxiliary gauge pack on your Camaro. The buttons and knobs are very well designed, and very intuitive. The seats are big, and comfortable, and suprisingly the rear seats are not as small as some other two door coupe four seater cars. The steering wheel is well designed, and although I find it to be a bit big, it was still a pleasure to drive with it.

The STI's center console seem to lose on design points. The clock, head unit and lights on the climate control knobs illuminate green, strangely. I won't say too much here, because I plan on swapping out the stock head unit with a double-din Navi and Bluetooth system. The blue trim on the STI makes me forgive the center console. However, as a driver, the most important things are always the steering wheel, shifter, pedals, and the Tach. All of the above, the STI delivers. I love the feel of the pedals, the short throw shifter, and the small, yet precise, steering wheel. The gauges are more to my liking too, I really love red. (As you could tell with my Camaro mods)


Both the STI and the Camaro V6 deliver more than enough power and torque for a daily driver, and a casual weekend racer.

The Camaro V6 delivers an outstanding 312 HP @ 6400 RPM, and 278 ft-lb torque @ 5200 RPM. It has a better front/rear weight distribution, weighing 52/48. However, the power to weight ratio can not compare to the STI, because the Camaro weighs 3750 lbs. The Camaro's heavy weight feels amplified when you hit the corners. Though RWD cars should oversteer, the Camaro suffers from terrible understeer as well. The Camaro comes standard with Stability control and Traction control, which can be turned off at the drivers will. This makes the car a lot more fun. The Camaro V6 Automatic does NOT have a limited slip differential, which makes getting out of corners a lot harder. The suspension is extremely soft, coupled with the non-RS all season tires, my Camaro V6 was not prepped for very fast driving. The non-RS V6 models are also speed limited to 118 MPH, while the STI can go up to 155 MPH.

The STI delivers just as much punch, if not more, than the Camaro V6. The turbocharged flat-4 boxer engine delivers 300 HP @ 6000 RPM, and 300 ft-lb torque @ 4000 RPM. Though the STI may be sluggish until the boost hits, it gets off the line faster than the Camaro due to the weight. As mentioned, the STI weighs only 3315 lbs, very impressive for an AWD car. The weight distribution isn't as great though, weighing 58/42 front and rear. The suspension, mixed with the extremely hard summer tires makes the STI corner like it's on rails.

Comfort and Convenience

This was one of the major reasons I had to give up the Camaro, it didn't feel practical enough. In comparison, the STI is a much harsher ride, so it really depends on what you want.

The Camaro is a 2 door coupe, with 4 seats. Though the people in the back have to crawl in through the front, the rear passenger seats are not as small as they look. You can fit two full grown adults no problem. The trunk space is suprisingly big for a 2 door sports car, and you can even lower the rear seats for extra cargo space. However, the truck access hole is tiny, so you really have to play some tetris mind games to get some of the larger objects into the Camaro. The suspension is soft, and is extremely quiet on the inside. The driver's seat and front passenger seat both have lots of leg room and arm room. Infact, one of the negative comments I've recieved before was that the interior is TOO big. Regardless, the Camaro is the must have if you want a cool car to cruise around in. However, being a past Camaro owner, and reading testimonials of other Camaro owners, the Camaro is not the car you want parked at a Walmart. The wide body is extremely prone to getting hit by mini-vans, doors, shopping carts, and retards.

The STI is thinner, shorter from front to rear, and just a smaller car in general. The turning circle is a lot better than the Camaro as well. Finding parking is easier, and maneuvering traffic is a breeze. The STI has a large trunk, 5 seats, and 4 doors, making it the more practical choice. Or does it? The STI has lower gas mileage rating 18/24, while the Camaro V6 delivers 18/29! Also, the STI must use 93 octane or higher, while the Camaro V6 just needs 87 octane. The ride quality is harder than the Camaro, and you can really feel the pavement on your bum. I can imagine a summer cruise with the STI might get a bit tiring.

With just maintanence costs alone, the STI will rack up the bill in no time. Sadly, that's part of the deal when you sign your life to a turbocharged AWD sedan. However, it being an AWD car was part of the selling point. Since it snows here, and extremely icey most of the winter, an AWD was the logical choice.

Aftermarket Support

As of now, the Camaro V6 community has been valiant about getting aftermarket support. Whether it's tuning, forced induction options, or other things, they have shown their determination. However, the Camaro V6 community is further split by people who don't modify their cars, and people who want to. This result, plus the fact that everyone only "cares" about the V8 Camaros, make the aftermarket support extremely small. Though, cries have been heard, and companies are doing their best, I would imagine it will take a couple of years for everything to be available. One of the other reasons I had sold the Camaro was because I had felt it was a dead end, personally.

The STI, being the top tier of its class, and the many years of it being sold, has a sea of aftermarket support. I swear, it's like walking into a city of candy shops. You can't even decide which shop to go to. They have everything from, camshafts, pistons, rods, valves, crankshafts, cylinder heads, etc. You can literally, pick out parts online to rebuild your engine. Turbochargers, intercoolers, wastegates, blow-off valves, intakes, exhausts, clutches, master cylinders, aluminum driveshafts, and the list just goes on and on. If I had the money, I'd be doing everything I have listed, and more.

The newly developed Trifecta Tune offered on the Camaro V6 gives you an improved 13 peak horsepower right? A stage 1 tune done to the STI will change the boost pressure from 14.5 PSI to 16 PSI, giving you a 13% increase in horsepower and 17% increase in torque, making it 340HP and 350 ft-lbs of torque!

Final Thoughts

Quoting one of my most frequent followers, it seems that the Tuner world, and the Muscle world have this on going hatred for one another. The more arrogant muscle car owners call all tuner cars, rice rockets. While the tuner car owners laugh that the muscle cars can not handle corners. Having owning both, I feel like I'm in a cross fire of an on going battle, lol. I really have nothing to say, except that I enjoyed driving both cars for different reasons. All I know is, I came from the Camaro side, and the guys there have the utmost respect for the STI, and they are extremely good guys. So the above example does not fit with any of the Camaro guys I have talked to =D


  1. How do you feel about the road noise? My 07 STi was gawd awful, and it even had Dynomat(sp?) in all the rattly areas.

  2. The road noise? I don't think it's terrible. The Camaro was a lot quieter. I find there's an exhaust drone on the STI at low RPMs though.

  3. your HP #s are so far off on the sti, i have an 06 also, and tuned stage 2 im only barely breaking 300 whp...

  4. I don't think Im too far off... I never said wHP. When I mention HP, it's always BHP, or at the crank/flywheel. After COBB AP Stage1, you are looking at around 340bHP, which is 270ish wHP. Am I wrong? Stage2 with 300wHP sounds about right though.


Please feel free to leave questions or comments!