Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New car, new platform, new engine, new adventures!

Welcome to our latest blog, which is about our latest Mach V shop car, a 2015 Subaru WRX.  This blog will follow the modification of the car over time, and will share plenty of other observations and discoveries about the car.

First I should answer the question everyone asks about it, which is, "Why didn't you get an STI?"  We didn't because the WRX has a brand-new turbocharged variant of the FA20 engine that first appeared in the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S twins.  (We happen to own a BRZ shop car, too, which you can read about in another blog.)  The FA20 turbo is a fully direct injection engine -- not the hybrid port/direct setup in the BRZ.  All this is important to us because while the STI still soldiers on with the same EJ25 engine we've been working with since 2004, the FA20 DIT (Direct Injection Turbo) is all-new and I want to get started tuning on it.

Sure, I miss the direct-feeling and nearly-indestructible six-speed transmission that goes with the STI engine, and the Brembo brakes, and that fancy DCCD center diff from the STI.  But besides having the new engine, the WRX is about $8,000 less expensive.  That's a lot!  In the old days (like 2008), the gap between WRX and STI was huge.  The WRX had skinny body work, skinny tires, a weak 235hp, and tiny brakes.  Now the WRX gets the same wide bodywork as the STI, gets decently-fat 235mm tires, big (if squishy-feeling) brakes, and has 268 hp.  The difference between the two cars has narrowed, at least on paper.

Our car is a Limited model, which means it has LED headlamps (wait, let me say that again: LED headlamps!), leather-trimmed seats, a power-adjusted driver's seat, plus all the stuff in the Premium model, which includes a moon roof, trunk lid spoiler, fog lamps, and heated seats/mirrors/wipers.  Of course, we got the six-speed manual.  (You can pry my manual shifter from my cold dead heads.)  Speaking of cold and dead, though, the stock shifter feel on this car isn't too great.  I understand it's a new cable-actuated unit, and shifting it kind of feels like you're stirring pudding with a really long length of PVC pipe.

We bought the car from Heuberger Motors in Colorado Springs, CO.  We got an amazing price on the car, and the transaction was very straightforward.  They even arranged for delivery right to my door.

We don't plan to run the car on the dyno just yet -- I like to follow a factory-ordered break-in schedule -- but we will be swapping on some Mach V Awesome and Wicked Awesome wheels right away, with the goal of reducing weight and increasing the tire contact patch.  I'll post photos when that's done.