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Old 10-08-2009, 11:34 PM   #1
WingedDuality
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Default About to buy first Subaru, a couple questions

Hi everyone. I'm new here and I'm relatively new to the world of Subaru. I've driven a couple Impreza's before, most recently a friend's 2006 STi which was an insane amount of fun on and off the road.

However, my fiancée and I are getting an apartment together in Vermont come June as she attends grad school and we're planning on trading in her 2006 Pontiac G6 (A/T) for a new car. We're keeping my 1997 Saturn SC2 (M/T) since it's already paid for, had the motor recently rebuilt by my father and myself and gets nearly 40mpg hwy compared to the G6's 23.

Also, the G6 is front wheel drive, heavy and handles horribly in the snow. The Saturn may also be front wheel drive, but being a stick I can usually make it work. Either way, we've decided the G6 has gotta go and we want a new car. I recently taught her to drive stick and once she got used to it she loved it so much she hates driving any with an auto tranny. So, luckily, she wants the next car to have a manual tranny. We also agreed it needs to be AWD, a hatchback with good cargo room, durable, safe, reliable, with just enough sport to satisfy my craving for hard cornering and muddy roads. But, being the 20-something college kids we are, we are also trying to keep the budget under 30k, preferably under 25k.

So, upon much shopping, perusing, test driving and half-hearted looks at other brands, we settle upon a 2010 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport fully loaded. It falls just under our maximum price and has everything we need and then some. It also lacks the body kit on the WRX and STi that would probably get broke considering how often I like to go off the beaten trail. I also like that it has a slightly raised suspension for added ground clearance, but it's not so high as to lose that perfect Impreza balance and stability.

I only have one issue with it:

Only 170hp? Now I know 170 is plenty for a daily driver and weekend trailwrecker, and it felt great when I test drove it, but I eventually would like to break the 240hp mark. My time driving friend's tuned and suped up cars have taught me that 240hp and 210lbs of torque is my favorite sweet spot in terms of power for a small car. Now, I know we could've spent the same amount of money and gotten a 2009 WRX with the 265hp turbo engine but there's only two problems with that: 1) the body kit probably would last less than a year due to some of the roads in Vermont and 2) I hate turbos and turbo lag. I've driven quite a few tuners during my days in Charlotte, NC and Rock Hill, Sc, where tuner's are everywhere and pinks get traded like herpes and I always disliked turbos unless they had minimal turbo lag. I'm not a big drag racer. I tend to prefer tight cornering and maneuverability over straight line speed, so turbos just never feel right to me. I prefer low-end torque and good throttle response.

As such, I really with there were reliably superchargers for Impreza's, since I've always enjoyed driving supercharged cars more than turbo'd ones. However, I've searched online every and can't seem to find a reputable non-DIY one.

As such, being a newbie who plans to eventually add skid plates and some power to his soon-to-be-really-muddy Impreza, can anybody suggest a route to take for upping the power of the Impreza Outback without going to turbo route? I know there's tons of performance parts for the Impreza WRX, STi but it's harder finding ones for the normally aspirated engines. Anybody have any suggestions about what sort of upgrades I could do to pump up the engine while still keeping it normally aspirated?

Any help and opinions would be great. I love Subarus and whenever my friends with Subies are around I always weedle them into letting me drive them so I'm insanely impatient to get my own.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:42 PM   #2
fl4tsc
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it's pretty hard to make more power on the N/A subaru motor... there's always exhaust and an intake but that will only be minimal and won't get you to that 240hp mark.
i'd say just be happy w/ the power and maybe do some suspension mods since that sounds like where your main interest is.

also cliff notes would seriously help getting more responses. most people will look at how long it is and not bother reading it.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:46 PM   #3
WingedDuality
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tallterror View Post
it's pretty hard to make more power on the N/A subaru motor... there's always exhaust and an intake but that will only be minimal and won't get you to that 240hp mark.
i'd say just be happy w/ the power and maybe do some suspension mods since that sounds like where your main interest is.

also cliff notes would seriously help getting more responses. most people will look at how long it is and not bother reading it.

Yeah, I knew the length would be a bit of an issue, but there's always someone who cares enough to read it. Like you. =)

Also, what sort of suspension upgrades? I would like a bit more ground clearance, but with the Impreza being unibody, isn't it difficult to lift the entire chassis versus just the body? Also, since my girl will also be driving it I don't want to sacrifice ride comfort on the normal road. Do you have any suggestions for suspension upgrades?

Also, I'm not really expecting to hit the 240hp mark without a supercharger or turbo but I would like to maximize what power I can out of the N/A engine. I figured intake and exhaust were default options, but didn't know if anyone had any other suggestions. Do you have any particular intakes or exhausts you'd like to suggest?
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:07 AM   #4
nairbmik
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Here's the best advice that you'll get : Don't. Unless you feel like spending another 20 thousand on your engine, leave it alone. Modifications like an exhaust or intake on an NA engine are useless most of the time, and they net around 5 HP gain each. Not to mention that they're expensive. Don't turbo the engine either, unless you plan on driving your car up to about 50,000 miles and then have the engine blow up on you. With a turbo, you'll only be able to run about 5 or 6 psi, which is still damaging the engine. Just get a WRX instead. I know you said you hate turbo lag, but its not a big deal.

Like someone said above, stick to suspension mods like a sway bar, maybe swap your stock struts to OEM WRX struts and put some new springs on. 170 HP is plenty enough, and its torque-y enough to let you pass on the highway with relative ease.
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:17 AM   #5
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Test drive both. Feel yourself if the OBS (outback sport) feels lame or if you enjoy it. Consider your short and long-term finances, insurance, and priorities. x HP on one car is y HP on another car, it's not really apples to apples. But as the above said, don't expect massive power gains from the N/A motor - yes, good bolt ons do exist, but the trade-off is severe shortening of the engine liftetime
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:52 AM   #6
moestock
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I'd recommend getting the turbo, I know I've regretted not getting a WRX for the last three years. Its still a fun car but its not very fast, and it sounds like you want fast. It may be a smidge quicker off the line because its lighter, but after that its nothing but lag.
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:37 AM   #7
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Any reason you have to buy new? Just curious.

Also, I would definately test drive both. There isn't much turbo lag with any of the turbo Subarus and I think you'd appreciate the WRX more. If you're spending the money every month on a car payment, it will feel more worth while in a WRX IMO.

If you're not opposed to used, go drive an 07 WRX, 09 WRX, and an Impreza.
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tallterror View Post
it's pretty hard to make more power on the N/A subaru motor... there's always exhaust and an intake but that will only be minimal and won't get you to that 240hp mark.
i'd say just be happy w/ the power and maybe do some suspension mods since that sounds like where your main interest is.

also cliff notes would seriously help getting more responses. most people will look at how long it is and not bother reading it.
agreed

OP: Buying a new car does not make sense for people in your situation, especially since you want to mod it. You would be much better off buying a used WRX and swapping suspension parts (OBS parts should bolt right in). Or consider a used Outback XT or Forester XT. The 04-05 Forester XT is a few mods away from having an STI motor.
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Old 10-09-2009, 10:03 AM   #9
mentalcase87
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Did you test drive the new wrx? If you haven't already bought the vehicle you really should test drive a new wrx, they are AMAZING! I was sold on mine within a few minutes of driving it and came from only driving american muscle cars.

Also a wrx would cost less, you can do a lot more to it and your already hit your HP mark stock. The way this thing picks up is just unreal, and with money you save you could get the mods needed to remove the lag to a point that makes you happy.
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Old 10-09-2009, 10:07 AM   #10
AndyH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wevrick View Post
agreed

OP: Buying a new car does not make sense for people in your situation, especially since you want to mod it. You would be much better off buying a used WRX and swapping suspension parts (OBS parts should bolt right in). Or consider a used Outback XT or Forester XT. The 04-05 Forester XT is a few mods away from having an STI motor.
+1 If I were in the original posters shoes, I'd be looking for a gently used 5-speed manual Forester XT.
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:58 PM   #11
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+1 on buying used wrx
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:01 PM   #12
Un0RiGiNaL
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OP

buy my 2.5i

buy delta grind cams (300$)
buy intake (<100$)
OBX headers (<300$)


and youll be faster than a stock wrx.
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:04 PM   #13
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OP, don't mod your N/A Subaru. The Subaru N/A engines weren't created with modding in mind. Find a used WRX, or if you feel a little less frugal go for a brand new WRX. The 260hp variants are pretty awesome and you won't really notice the turbo lag. $22k vs $16k, friend. Spend the extra $6k and get something you'll really be happy with.
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:30 PM   #14
Dave D.
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Turbo Forester or WRX. Don't fool yourself. Once you really get used to driving it you will wonder why you thought turbocharged cars did not drive well.

Oh by the way, an extremely well-written letter (although it's "wheedle," not "weedle").
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Old 10-09-2009, 05:00 PM   #15
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7C144 Safari/528.16)

You could buy a base 08 WRX (no body kit). The teeny tiny turbo on there is so small that there really isn't any turbo lag. On top of this, if you go "stage 2" (down pipe and tune) you will have virtually no turbo lag and gobs of low end torque.
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