My sister has a 2002 SE-R and it is a fast car. I raced a worked (intake and REALLY LOUD exhuast) last gen 2.5RS and he couldn't pull on me. He got half a car length from his launch and I stayed with him the rest of the way. A little work to the SE-R and my sis should be kicking some butt in that car.
The thing that really impresses me about the SE-R is the handling. It's like a four-door go-kart! It weighs 2800lbs and had a 2.5L continuously variable valve time engine.
Granted the SE-R is no competiton for the WRX, but it costs less that $18,000 with a SUNROOF, floor mats, and a 7 speaker stereo that makes my upgraded Subie stereo look like a joke.