2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi AWD 4dr Sedan w/Gold-Painted Wheels (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I wanted an STI long before they came to US shores. The amount of power Subaru was able to extract from a four-cylinder, 2.5 liter engine is nearly obscene. I paid $27K for a 375hp (after a few mods) monster that's as much fun on the racetrack or an autocross course as it is running errands around town. The guttural roar of the boxer, accentuated by an aftermarket turboback exhaust, makes you want to turn off the radio and roll down the windows. I am forced to drive like a complete jerk by this car, and still manage to get 25 mpg around town. Test drove the Evo, the VW R32, the S2000, and while this isn't as comfortable as the VW or as go-kart light as the Evo, it is by far the most fun.
Aggressive styling (you can keep the Alpha Romeo-looking 06 front end), V8- crushing torque, rumble, spartan-yet-comfortable interior, dazzlingly-bright & adjustable HID lights, bulletproof transmission, incredible Brembo brakes, stock iridium plugs, DCCD, and last but not least, Subaru reliability.
All minor gripes can be cleared up with aftermarket parts. Paint troubles? Rockblocker and several coats of wax. Vague shifter? Try TIC short throw + bushings. Steering slop? Polyurethane rack bushings. Not enough power? TBE + engine management. Scary on snow? Dedicated snow tires. Understeer? Sway bars!
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