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My Blue Heaven
Subdriven Compares The STi, Evo and R32
by: Travis Kriza

Last edited: 06.03.03
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Introduction
R32 Overview
Evo Overview
STI Overview
Time to Compare Pt.1
Time to Compare Pt.2
Performance Comparison
The Final Element
Counter Points
Performance Comparison

How we did it:
Nearly everyone that will review these cars has, or will, take them to a race track to compare their performance. We at Subdriven took the opportunity to test the cars at the TireRackís test facility which provided us with a track that emulated real world situations and behaviors for the cars. The course consisted of a turn into a short slalom testing maneuvering stability going into another quick turn going into a skidpad exiting into a high-speed area with a rapid braking zone leading into another turn and going back into the same course.

The results:
The early consensus before all the testing was that the R32 wouldnít stay with the STi and Evo and obviously there were mixed thoughts on how the STi and Evo would compare on this course. We were stunned by some of the results including how our subjective thoughts turned out in reality.

The first thing to point out is that each car is a lot of fun to drive. Early driving preferences had people preferring the Evo over the others. Common thoughts included how stable the car felt, the quick steering, how the car didnít pitch/dive and roll as much as the STi and so on. The interesting results were that in our observations of the STi and Evo back to back, the Evo actually appeared to have more bodyroll than the STi. Definitely interesting as often the common complaint with the STi was how it felt sloppy in comparison to the Evo, mostly attributable to the steering response of the Evo versus the STi. However, as the times went on, the majority of participants in our driving tests were faster in the STi.

Hereís a connection Iíd like to draw that some may be able to appreciate. In the sportbike world, there is often a very tight fight in the top superbike class. Often times the capabilities (such as with the STi and Evo) are so close, it comes down to preference. In the case of superbikes, Iíd liken the Evo to an R1, and the STi to that of a GSX-R1000. Often when racing sportbikes, most riders are more comfortable in the lighter and easier to maneuver (or fling bikes). For some riders these bikes are down right twitchy. Such is the case of the R1. Arguably one of the greatest handling bikes with incomparable steering response and chassis dynamics, it remains an easy bike to fling into the corners. Take into consideration a GSX-R1000 with a factory steering damper and youíll get a very different feeling motorcycle. It can be pushed just as far, but many riders may consider it sluggish and harder to push to the limit. Yet both bikes handle so well and are very close on capabilities that often the most important part is driver comfort and confidence with the machine. The same is true in this case. As driverís became more comfortable with the STi, they were more comfortable pushing it. However, just as with motorcycles, some were still more comfortable with the specific type of feel and feedback the Evo had instead of the STi.

So as you can tell, the STi and Evo must have been real close. In fact, they were extremely close. Our times resulted in the STi taking the overall best time by 1/10th of a second. The Evo and STi came within less than 1/100th on their top 10 average times. If that doesnít tell you anything, then stop reading and go somewhere else. The R32 obviously couldnít hold up to the STi and Evo, especially as the R32 comes stock with Michelin Pilot Sport street tires versus the nearly R compound custom tires that come stock on the STi and Evo. The R32ís best time fell within 1 second of the STi and Evoís best times, and the R32ís top 10 average was about a full second off. Given better tires, the R32 couldíve held in even closer, but it was clearly held back by them during our tests. It still doesnít have the power of the STi and Evo, but it has quite nearly a true track suspension straight from the dealership.

What about grip? On our clean track, both our STi and Evo pulled a .99g on the skidpad with the Evo just edging out the STi on average with a .97g versus .96g. The R32 was left back with a best skidpad of .94g and an average skidpad of .93g. Considering the R32 exhibited the best overall suspension handling for the skidpad, tires seemed to be a restriction yet again.

So what does this tell you? Iíll tell you what it tells me. Either the STi or the Evo would be an awesome car to have for pure performance. They come so close that the only thing that should matter is which car you like better. Neither is number one. And if you want the mix of the performance plus creature comforts, the R32 is a great offer but a tough call in this crowd.

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