Originally Posted by roadtrip1098
List of Nürburgring Nordschleife lap times - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
According to this, the STi beat out the E92 M3 by 7 seconds on Nurburgring. Note though that the early e46 M3 CSL has a time 5 seconds faster than the STi, with the super rare M3 GTS a couple seconds faster than that.
Keep in mind the STi used was a JDM 2.0 with a larger turbo designed for 320 HP. Whitch is chicken scratch in terms of power gains. Any typical STi can see that type of bump through tuning alone. Add a Stage II type of kit (which will cost about what the first service inspection runs on the M3) and a couple cool stickers and you can spank an M3.
Having owned an E46 M3 I will say this though, the car is extremely quick and flickable. Between the SMGII, the suspension setup, and the power delivery, it is really easy to drive quickly. The STi on the other hand requires a slightly lighter touch, you almost have to let the car wander (sometimes) and it feels a bit looser. Once you're used to the bit of understeer and navigating the transmission so you stay in boost , and sort the DCCD, the STi is just as fun to drive, way cheaper to maintain, and for all intents and purposes, on the same performance level.
No, that STI was a purpose built car, with a full undertray, larer trubo (making much more than 320), suspension, etc. It's been covered a thousand times.
Car and Driver Lighting Lap:
E90 M3: 3:05
2011 USDM STI: 3:13.8
That's a killing...not even in the same ballpark. The STi is gonna need a good bit work to keep up on an average road course. You have to think, stock for stock, the STI is even a hair slower than the older M3 on a road course (although their overall performance is similar, in general). Add 80 HP for the E90/92, and yeah...it's a walk. A simple stage II upgrade is not going to get it done on the top end. Especially considering the STIs aero, and loss of power via AWD.
Anyway, to the OP:
The STI is relatively cheap/easy to mod. You can certainly throw money at it to keep up with a stock M3 LR edition
. The question is, why are you doing this in the first place? And how much are you going to like the STI when you're done? You're young, so you'll probably be fine with the harsh ride, turbo lag, and econobox interior.
But here's a thought...
Buy a BMW with an N54 (135 or 335). They're getting cheap now...and you'll have the ability to add power on par with his M3 MUCH more cheaply. Plus, you will have the other niceties that go with the car.