Correct me if I am wrong, but that is a 2.0 Sti with a performance package on it. That extra .5 litre on the US version will make all teh difference in the world. Have any of you been in a 275whp WRX, then step out of it and into a turbo'd 2.5 RS with the same amount of power?
It's a mouth dropping experience. They even pull well from a 5mph roll in 2nd gear.
Even with the PPP, that Sti is good for more than a 0-60 in 5.3. That was .6 sec more sluggish than then Evo, but buy the end of the 1/4 it was only .1 sec difference. (assuming the 0-60 run and quarter were done in the same run). 5.3 is simply bad driving.
As for the handling. I believe the Evo may still have the advantage even without the ACD with the STi having DCCD. The Evo has alway been known to be crisp.
I haven't seen a report of a US Evo getting very close to 12's stock, but I bet the STi will get really close. I think 13.47 was the best I saw for the Evo, which is still not bad.