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Old 03-16-2010, 03:42 PM   #1
SoDealer
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Default Motor Trend Hot Hatch Comparison: WRX, GTI, Lancer Sportback, MS3

http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...gti/index.html


Quote:
Comparison: 2010 Mazdaspeed3 vs 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart vs 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX vs 2010 Volkswagen GTI
Spring Chickens:
Four Youthful Expressions of High Performance -- and Proof that Fowl Play was Never so Much Fun


March, 2010
/ By Ron Kiino
/ Photography by Brian Vance, Julia LaPalme

"These cars are pretty amazing out here," I said to MT editor-at-large Arthur St. Antoine, as we filled our hatchbacks with Chevron's premium petrol, both of us grinning from ear to ear, still relishing the comedown off adrenaline. He'd been driving the 2010 Mazdaspeed3, I'd been trailing in the 2010 Subaru WRX. From our starting point to our fuel stop 12 miles down the road, it took us all of 10 minutes. Average speed: 78 mph. That may not sound especially brisk, but on the challenging curves of our secret Sport/Utility of the Year test loop in the Santa Ynez Valley, that's a hasty clip.


Every autumn when we drive the year's field of SUVs around this loop, it generally takes our skilled editors about 40 minutes to complete one lap. Crunch the arithmetic -- average speed: 60 mph. As we quickly learned after 12 short miles, sport/utilities, even the nimbler crossovers, are no match for real performance cars -- and sporty, turbocharged ones at that. Not that we didn't already know this fact, mind you. It's simply that we'd only ever driven bulkier and slower SUVs around the circuit, so finally getting to savor attack mode in cars able to blast from 0 to 60 in under five seconds, laterally accelerate at 0.90 g, and erase 60 in 102 feet was about as liberating as sliding into sheepskin slippers after a day in steel-toe boots.


In addition to the Mazda and Subaru, we brought along the all-new Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart and the sixth-generation Volkswagen GTI. The fifth-gen GTI, you may remember, won our last sport-compact shootout, a test that included sedans, hatchbacks, front-drivers, all-wheel-drivers, turbos, and natural aspirators. For this go-'round, though, we invited only turbocharged four-door hatchbacks, in search of the ultimate utility missile. Would the all-new Vee-Dub retain its title? Would the Mazda have the speed to throw an upset? Or would the all-wheel-drive Mitsu and Subaru, for years rally archrivals, be the bearers of bad news to their front-drive foes?

Time for a game of spring chicken.

Fourth Place: Lancer Sportback Ralliart


Rough Around the Edges
In some regards, the Lancer is as sharp as the weapon its namesake brought to battle. The six-speed TC-SST twin-clutch automatic, for instance, is a quick-firing, intuitive gearbox that dispels any wonderment as to why the Ralliart doesn't offer a manual. The steering too is precise, beautifully weighted, and full of feedback. Then there's the utility factor, in which the Mitsu tops all others in cargo capacity with the rear seat down-46.6 cubic feet, to be exact. That's an impressive figure, especially considering the steeply raked C-pillar that signifies the Sportback moniker.

Yet, in other regards, the Lancer's blade is a bit rough around the edges. The 2.0-liter single-scroll-turbo I-4 pulls strong -- 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds and the quarter mile in 14.2 at 95.9 mph -- but it's a boomy, coarse engine that often sounds overworked.

"Engine is really loud," says St. Antoine. Making things worse is the Ralliart's lack of sound deadening. "Heard and felt lots of road noise and tire slap; the whole car sounds hollow," notes Mortara. Given the Mitsu's porcine 3598-pound curb weight, it's reasonable to assume the car would sound solid and substantial -- not exactly. That curb weight, alas, also impedes handling and braking performance, as the Ralliart imparts a nose-heavy feel that jeopardizes front-end grip.

If it did, the Tri-Diamond would have a title contender on its hands. After all, the Ralliart bakes a lot into its $28,310 base price, notably Bluetooth, automatic climate control, 18-inch alloys, and full-time all-wheel drive with active center differential and front and rear limited slips. Our tester, which had the $2750 Recaro Sport Package -- Recaro seats, Xenon headlamps, Rockford Fosgate audio, and satellite radio -- came competitively priced at $31,060. But to place higher among this stout group, it takes more than just being competitive.

Unsurprisingly, the Lancer puts up the least favorable lateral acceleration (0.84 g), figure eight (26.6 at 0.67 g), and 60-to-0 braking (115 feet). Mitsubishi, it seems, needs to let more of the Lancer Evo goodness trickle down to the Ralliart.

Third Place: 5 Door WRX SPT


Fuji Hurried Industries
Except for a 2006 Impreza WRX STI sedan and a slammed 350-horse 2008 Cobb Tuning STI, the slightly modified WRX you see here is the quickest Subaru Motor Trend has ever tested. Well, at least to 60, which takes a scant 4.5 seconds. Quarter mile? Will 13.3 at 101.3 mph suffice? Better yet, the WRX isn't any slower to 60 than that '06 STI (it's equally quick) and is only 3/10ths behind at the quarter. And remember: That STI ran a 300-horse flat-four, a six-speed manual, a more advanced all-wheel-drive system, and bigger, stickier rubber.

We mentioned the WRX was slightly modified and here's the deal: Subaru had but one WRX hatchback in fleet and it happened to be fitted with a handful of Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT) parts. Some of the add-ons, such as a $370 front lip spoiler and a $170 STI shift knob, were more aesthetic than functional but most -- $820 cat-back exhaust system (adds roughly 10 horsepower and 10 pound-feet), $295 short-throw shifter, $25 STI shifter bushing, $230 front strut tower brace, $200 lower chassis brace -- played some role in enhancing performance. Compared with the '09 WRX in our last comparison, the '10 SPT delivers superior lateral acceleration (0.89 g versus 0.85) and 60-to-0 braking (102 feet versus 113) at the test track.


Out on our road loop, though, the SPT doesn't feel noticeably different from the standard WRX. The suspension still conveys a comparatively soft nature that is forgiving and compliant, especially over rough patches. There is noticeable roll upon turn-in, but it's moderate, and the car nonetheless delivers ample grip. The turbo flat-four exhibits a little lag below 3000 rpm but otherwise provides abundant power and lively response throughout the rev range. In fact, when spooled up, the growling flat-four pulls stronger than any mill here.

So what kept the WRX from ranking higher? In light of the others', the Subie's helm comes across numb. "Steering is the least sharp of the bunch," says MT road test editor Scott Mortara. The five-speed too, even with the short-shift kit and STI bushing, feels sloppy and rubbery at times and could certainly use a sixth cog for highway duty. As for the interior, St. Antoine notes, "Interior is functional -- good seats, simple controls -- but it looks really dated, with outmoded display fonts and materials." Not that there isn't plenty to love with the WRX (c'mon, 4.5 seconds, anyone?). Mortara, who ranked the WRX second, sums it up: "Who needs an STI with this car around?"


Second Place: Mazdaspeed3


Speed Trap
If the WRX is a slip-sliding rally machine, the Speed3 is a point-and-shoot race car. The Mazda simply feels way more dialed in, ready to consume apexes for breakfast and checkered flags for lunch. There's no slop or slack on the Speed's menu. Sure the suspenders are discernibly tauter -- the downside is a more jarring ride -- but the reward is 0.90 g of lateral grip (best of the group) and a chassis that always feels alive. The body exhibits just a smidge of roll entering a turn, so steering inputs prompt instantaneous response. On-center steering feel is firm and precise, making the Subaru's feel loose and vague in comparison. Further, the standard six-speed manual offers a tightly spaced pattern that borders on Miata slickness, although a couple of us found it too tight on occasion, making it difficult to engage the desired gear.


Power from the 2.3-liter direct-injected turbo is nothing short of impressive -- 263 healthy ponies and 280 prodigious pound-feet-and, as a result, so are acceleration times. Zero to 60 takes only 5.8 seconds, the quarter mile just 14.3 at 98.9 mph. Both put it ahead of the other front-driver, the GTI. Sad to say, with that prodigious torque comes prodigious torque steer. According to Mortara, "Way too much torque steer, making the wheel almost pull from your hands as you try to drive through and exit a corner." Another vice: a highway fuel economy number (25 mpg) that barely surpasses the VW's city figure (24).

Inside, the Mazda delights with a modern, jazzy cockpit replete with Bluetooth phone and audio connections, automatic climate control, and leather-and-cloth seats. Our tester came with the $1895 Tech Package, which adds Bose audio, satellite radio, navigation, and pushbutton start. All said and done, our Speed3 cost just $25,840, or over $2000 less than the Mitsu and Subaru's base prices. So despite a "compact" nav screen that St. Antoine describes as "a bit of a laugher" and that nagging torque steer, the Mazda is one speed trap in which we're happy to get caught.

First Place: GTI


This we know: The GTI ranks last in acceleration times (6.0 from 0-60, 14.5 at 97.1 in the quarter) and behind the Mazda and Subaru in lateral acceleration (0.87 g), figure eight (26.5 at 0.67 g), and 60-to-0 braking (112 feet). This we also know: The GTI is the hot hatch we'd want parked in our garage. Heresy, you say?

Well, first let's establish that the GTI is far from slow or ill-handling, despite trailing some of the others' numbers. After all, 6.0 flat to 60, 0.87 g around the skidpad, and 112 feet from 60 are all plenty respectable. Second, the GTI was the only hatch to wear all-season tires (a $750 option that included 18-inch alloys), shoes that didn't exactly allow the VW to put its best foot forward. Want proof? At our Car of the Year program, we tested a negligibly lighter (3204 pounds) two-door dual-clutch summer-tired GTI that recorded 0-to-60 in 5.8, lateral acceleration of 0.91 g, and 60-0 braking in 113 feet. Most important, the GTI possesses the smoothest, most polished engine paired to the raciest, most fluid transmission. "Engine is nowhere near the most potent but you really don't miss it," notes St. Antoine. "No torque steer, good midrange pull, nice engine note (particularly the sporty burp during upshifts). DSG works perfectly, and I love the paddles -- sized and placed just right."


Dynamically and aesthetically, the GTI comes across as the most mature of the group. The taut, composed chassis offers a refined sportiness that makes a day of 9/10ths motoring feel more like a pleasant drive through the hills. St. Antoine logs, "Chassis is superb, with a class-benchmark balance of ride poise and handling prowess." Inside, the adult ambiance carries over. "I can't believe the interior," claims Mortara. "How does VW do this for the price? The refinement/fit/finish is unmatched by any other vehicle in this test; it's not even close." Even the exterior garnered a rave review for its quintessential form: "To my eye, it even looks the best on the outside; still retains those classic Giugiaro proportions," observes St. Antoine.

At $32,360, our tester didn't exactly come cheap. But take away some of the dispensable options-$2750 Autobahn package (leather, sunroof), $1750 nav, $700 bi-Xenon headlamps-and the bottom line drops to $27,160. And that's with the $1100 DSG, $750 18-inch alloys, and $199 Bluetooth. And for another $140, summer tires can be had. Regardless, whether at $27,000 or $32,000, the GTI is a winner. Per St. Antoine: "Not the fastest machine in its class, but far and away the best enthusiast's car. Worth every bit of its bottom line."







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Last edited by SoDealer; 03-16-2010 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 03-16-2010, 03:50 PM   #2
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Funny how the WRX dominated the specs, and came in 3rd of 4. Which pretty much sums up Subaru owners, we don't care about looks or a little lack of luxury.
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:25 PM   #3
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Funny how the WRX dominated the specs, and came in 3rd of 4.
Uhh.. the MS3 literally ran away with the 45-65 passing test.
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:26 PM   #4
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Uhh.. the MS3 literally ran away with the 45-65 passing test.
Maybe you mistook the word 'dominated' for 'won every single category'. Or I need to recalibrate my sarcasm meter.
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:29 PM   #5
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.2 is not running away 13.3s at 101.3 mph is running away.
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Old 03-16-2010, 05:10 PM   #6
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Old 03-16-2010, 05:10 PM   #7
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0-60 in 4.5
others got OWNED!
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:44 PM   #8
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Lancer weighs in at 3596 lbs . What are they thinking? Mitsu is hopeless
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:08 PM   #9
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'dominated'


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Originally Posted by SoDealer View Post
.2 is not running away
When the times are 3.1 and 2.9 it's a huge difference.

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Originally Posted by SoDealer View Post
13.3s at 101.3 mph is running away.
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0-60 in 4.5
others got OWNED!
Yeah.. how many times can the WRX do that with an average driver behind the wheel? Lets ask Mr Owl...
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:22 PM   #10
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How about them 0-30 times though
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:23 PM   #11
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this is like the most "apples to oranges" test i have ever seen them do. The only thing they even have in common is the price range. The GTI shouldn't even be in this test at all. It is a TOTALLY different car in general. The lancer is BARELY in this test as well. Sounds to me like they just needed to fill some space, and did so accordingly. The funniest part about the entire test, is that after all the numbers were run, scores were added, etc, etc, they still chose their "favorite" the GTI even though it came in last in pretty much everything. Sounds to me like some SERIOUSLY biased reporting...
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:23 PM   #12
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How about them 0-30 times though
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:50 PM   #13
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Funny how the WRX dominated the specs, and came in 3rd of 4. Which pretty much sums up Subaru owners, we don't care about looks or a little lack of luxury.
How about steering or overall handling feel? Hell, even outright grip. Dynamically speaking, the MS3 is a better car, albeit slower.

To call that looks and a little lack of luxury? Get real.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:56 PM   #14
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^ if this is a category they could actually base their choice off of, the honda fit would have won.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:59 PM   #15
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^ if this is a category they could actually base their choice off of, the honda fit would have won.


They can make their choice on whatever categories they want. And as you see here, they did. They rank based on their overall subjective opinions, that takes in to account driving dynamics, measured performance numbers, etc.

There's a reason no car magazine ranks cars strickly based on performance numbers. Because you don't need to read a damn article to know which car is the fastest. They evaluate the cars based on their overall package and appeal, and normally, they, as well as most buyers are willing to trade stop-light drag racing performance for a better driving experience, nicer interior, etc.

That being said, the 09+ WRX is an awesome machine. Just think back to 08, when the WRX was not only softer, but slower. So we've handled half the problem. Come on SOA!

What are you talking about?
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:13 PM   #16
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They can make their choice on whatever categories they want. And as you see here, they did. They rank based on their overall subjective opinions, that takes in to account driving dynamics, measured performance numbers, etc.

There's a reason no car magazine ranks cars strickly based on performance numbers. Because you don't need to read a damn article to know which car is the fastest. They evaluate the cars based on their overall package and appeal, and normally, they, as well as most buyers are willing to trade stop-light drag racing performance for a better driving experience, nicer interior, etc.

That being said, the 09+ WRX is an awesome machine. Just think back to 08, when the WRX was not only softer, but slower. So we've handled half the problem. Come on SOA!

What are you talking about?
Agreed. Took the words out of my mouth.....didn't have to stop drinking mah cuurs
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:25 PM   #17
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yes i totally agree with this, but what is messed up is that in the end the top choice was not based on any facts whatsoever. It is based solely on their personal infatuation with that specific vehicle. They started the test with certain categories that the vehicles would be scored in, and then threw all that data out the window. I also totally agree with you that the overall package is more appealing than stoplight to stoplight performance, however, at no point did i ever incenuate that this is what i was going for. You have automatically assumed that i only am interested in how fast the cars are in the article. These articles are supposed to inform people on how all these cars perform as a package when stacked up against each other. If all people were interested in was "how fast" they are compared to each other, they would have just done a drag race, but they didn't. They did a whole package test on each vehicle, and then in the end, chose the car that doesn't even belong in the test. Look at the cars they tested, and tell me one thing besides price that justifies that gti being in there.

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They can make their choice on whatever categories they want. And as you see here, they did. They rank based on their overall subjective opinions, that takes in to account driving dynamics, measured performance numbers, etc.

There's a reason no car magazine ranks cars strickly based on performance numbers. Because you don't need to read a damn article to know which car is the fastest. They evaluate the cars based on their overall package and appeal, and normally, they, as well as most buyers are willing to trade stop-light drag racing performance for a better driving experience, nicer interior, etc.

That being said, the 09+ WRX is an awesome machine. Just think back to 08, when the WRX was not only softer, but slower. So we've handled half the problem. Come on SOA!

What are you talking about?
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:33 PM   #18
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ychose the car that doesn't even belong in the test. Look at the cars they tested, and tell me one thing besides price that justifies that gti being in there.
?

Funny, as mentioned the summer-tired GTi they recently tested out gripped the WRX, and ran within .1 seconds of the Lancer to 60.

Care to explain how the GTI, the original, and still extremely popular hot-hatch doesn't belong in that test?

You think if you're going to have a test of hot hatches, you should a make separate test for the ****boxes with monster engines, and the less powerful ones with nicer interiors?

Funny, if you're not going to make the test about only measurable performance (as you claim makes sense), how would you not want the GTI in there?

It makes no apologies about trading some performance for other strengths. And lately, more people have been picking it, from 25 year olds to road test editors.

A GTI doesn't belong in a test of hot-hatches? Please, do tell.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:39 PM   #19
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it isn't the same size, it has a totally different power plant, hell, it doesn't even have 5 doors....of course the summer tired gti outgripped them. I am not saying it is a bad car. I love the gti, but i am saying that a go kart is going to out corner a limo. That is why in my first post i said that this is an "apples to oranges" thread.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:57 PM   #20
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I think, until there are more choices, that all the cars belong in the test, I just think they were butthurt how their favorite GTI didnt score well due to equippage. Hell, it wasnt that long ago that the WRX didnt do as well thanks to the A/S RE92's instead of summer rubber. They inserted another GTI for justification. Given how Motor Trend and others do these 'tests' or 'comparos' and then just name the winner they want for no clear reason other than 'liking it', we all know by now how much merit to give C&D, MT, etc with these 'tests'.

To me, a test is scientific, objective, and has either a clear winner or a tie.

A comparo should encompass the subjectivity aspect of it, and the 'despite the numbers, we like the XXX best'.

I by no means am butthurt that the WRX doesnt win this or every test, I'd just like to see an actual black-and-white test.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:01 PM   #21
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^ this is exactly what i am saying
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:02 PM   #22
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and to think, you summarized it into one post......
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:06 PM   #23
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I like the GTI, and would consider it. But the AWD is a major difference in the NE weather, and the upcoming R will likely be too much $$.

I think each car has it's qualities...
The GTI is the most grown up. it's quick enough to not be slow.
The MS3 is the racecar of the group, with more predictable handling (although its easier to improve hangling than wring more power)
The WRX is the all-arounder quickest on a crap road. and on a drag strip. and in the snow.
The ralliart is also-ran crap and should only be considered at deep discount.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:07 PM   #24
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of course the summer tired gti outgripped them. I am not saying it is a bad car.
The other cars are wearing summer tires in the test. The GTI was the one that wasn't.


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it isn't the same size


What? It's wheel base is a bit shorter, the interior room, cargo space, etc. is RIGHT on point with the others.

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it has a totally different power plant.
(this one gets 3)

Different power pant? The WRX is the only car with a different power plant...flat turbo 4, the rest have inline turbo 4s. Which car has the different power plant again? Are you on drugs?

These cars are all near identical in size and are direct competitors of one another.

Which one are you attempting to call the limo, and which the go-kart again?

Last edited by REX8; 03-16-2010 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:10 PM   #25
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^ this is exactly what i am saying
Funny, because you also said the GTI doesn't even belong in the test. That has nothing to do with what he was saying. Matter of fact, he'd wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. And all the patently false "facts" you made in support of it.
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