e36 M3 ('95) to '13 WRX Hatch - what to expect?
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This is a discussion on e36 M3 ('95) to '13 WRX Hatch - what to expect? within the New Member Hangout forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Hi All, Long time member of a popular bmw forum, joined here recently after an interest in the WRX. I ...

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    e36 M3 ('95) to '13 WRX Hatch - what to expect?

    Hi All,

    Long time member of a popular bmw forum, joined here recently after an interest in the WRX.

    I still own a pretty rare form of the M3, but it's become a little to raw and firm for my dd. I test drove the wrx and liked that while still retaining sporty performance, it seems to be more practical and comfortable in most conditions.

    What else should I expect?? Looking to grab a silver 5 door base.

    I did notice on the test drive that the shifting is very sloppy compared to my current M3. Should I expect the subbie ssk to enhance this?

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    -Eric

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    I'm pretty interested in hearing this as well. I have 2 DD's right now a modified Jeep and an E46 330i and I've been thinking about replacing them with 1 vehicle. My choices have been an E90 330xi or 335xi, a base Cayenne V6 with a 6-speed or a turbo Subaru. I really like the idea of having a hatch and I could pick up a used WRX for what I could get out of my two vehicles. There are some possible issues with the E90's and if I ever ran into trouble with the Cayenne I have a feeling most mechanics in my area would be afraid to touch it because of the porsche badge.

    My only concern with the WRX is the possible ringland issue. That should be a problem with the 2013 because it will still be covered under warranty.

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    Resident meany-rator 06wrx4me's Avatar
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    Howdy!

    IIRC the 95 M3 was the "purist" form in the eyes of many aficionados because of its tendency to oversteer and OEM suspension setup. I always liked them.

    What to expect:

    *Understeer
    --The Subi has the engine in front of the front axle centerline because of lay out. This prones it to understeer, but it can be made more neutral with some suspension bits. It doesn make clutch changes and getting to bellhousing bolts much better than the bimmer though.

    *Slow gear changes
    --The 5MT in the WRX is an old clunky unit. You can buy busings to firm it up, and a shifter to shorten the throw, but 1st gear will always be stiff and wont want to engage below 20mph. Just the nature of the beast. It can never be made as precision an instrument as the 6MT in say an S2k. The STI 6spd is a much better unit for strength and precision if your pocket book allows.

    * a totally different driving experience.
    --Most people coming from 2wd have to relearn how to drive these cars. There are no "bangin gears".

    *Mild turbo lag with the AC on.

    *a ton of added power for very little money.
    --Since it has a turbo, it responds very well to mods. There is an insane amount of aftermarket support as well. The ECU is a thing of beauty. For the price of a name brand axle back on a BMW, you can add 80HP with a wrx.

    * must replace all 4 tires at once.

    Did that spawn any specific questions?
    2014 Ford Fiesta ST

    06 WRX, HAWKEYE # 001 <T-boned and sold>

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    Thanks! That's a great start. Bummed to hear about the tranny, is the ssk worth the few hundred from the dealer?

    Hopefully the understeer won't drive me up a wall. But I feel the practicalities and the performance will make it a very solid dd for many years to come!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Esmcblur View Post
    Thanks! That's a great start. Bummed to hear about the tranny, is the ssk worth the few hundred from the dealer?

    Hopefully the understeer won't drive me up a wall. But I feel the practicalities and the performance will make it a very solid dd for many years to come!
    Personally I wouldnt buy the factory SSK. I'd buy this one:

    Subaru Double Adjustable Short Throw Shifter

    The understeer is semi cureable. A good alignment that throws some negative camber at the front, and a set of adjustable sway bars and you are in business.
    2014 Ford Fiesta ST

    06 WRX, HAWKEYE # 001 <T-boned and sold>

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    I just bought a WRX hatch, and there seems to be some variation even on what should be the same setup. I drove a pearl white WRX with factory ssk, and the shift 1-2 was notchy and kinda vague, though it got a bit better after the car warmed up.

    I decided to buy, but switched to a WRB car with the same config, just a base and ssk, and test-drove that, and the shifter is just fantastic. Can't praise it too much. Very positive and 'mechanical', precisely defined gate coupled with a quite light, but pretty sharpish clutch.

    To be honest, I'm massively surprised how good my WRX shifts, with just the slow dogleg to 5th being the only real blemise.

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    Hopefully the dealer will have on the lot with the ssk so I can try it!

    Will adding larger sways (or no sways from factory??) firm the ride up while improving turn in and body roll? To be honest, I do not want to firm it up much if any, this is one of the main reasons I'm selling my M3.

    In the last I've run hpde sessions which were great, but simply no time - so my interests are now still sporty, but much more streetable. I would like to do some come chasing however with this guy if I can find the time!

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    On my 2013 wrx hatch, I just installed the rear STI sway (a 19mm I think) - direct 15 minute swap. It was around $85 shipped and it helped the understear a bit on my daily commute. However, it did make the car a bit more nervous/jittery (just a little) at highway speeds.

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    I think the base WRX needs *something* in the suspension. Mine is wayyyyy softer than the GTI, and softer than my SRT-4, which is ok, but I need to clean up the weird pitching about in bumpy corners.

    Overall the ride is great, really happy with it, much more comfortable than the GTI, but could use being tightened up a tiny bit. Steering is light at freeway speeds and feels 'flighty'. I haven't got enough miles yet to know what's really happening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kabz View Post
    I think the base WRX needs *something* in the suspension. Mine is wayyyyy softer than the GTI, and softer than my SRT-4, which is ok, but I need to clean up the weird pitching about in bumpy corners.

    Overall the ride is great, really happy with it, much more comfortable than the GTI, but could use being tightened up a tiny bit. Steering is light at freeway speeds and feels 'flighty'. I haven't got enough miles yet to know what's really happening.
    I don't have personal experience...yet...but by all accounts upgraded sways and endlinks along with a custom alignment will make a big difference.
    - Will
    First Mods: What to do and what not to do
    Current Car: 2014 Golf TDI
    Previous Cars:2012 WRB WRX Hatch, 2004 RSX-S, 1998 Grand Prix GTP
    "Isn't it amazing how smart you feel when you just aren't being stupid?"

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    Resident meany-rator 06wrx4me's Avatar
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    The sway bars will add a slight amount of stiffness but not bad at all. I ran 22mm sways, end links and mounts on my 06 wrx for 95k miles and the ride was awesome. Then I switched to my current set up after the stock struts were very blown.
    2014 Ford Fiesta ST

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    thanks, my weird handling was cured by taking almost 20 psi out of the stock Dunlops. grrrrrrrr

    the car rides a lot better now.

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    M3 is sold.. now in negotiations for a 2013 hatch in silver..

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    Nice!
    2014 Ford Fiesta ST

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    FWIW - as a daily driver the stock suspension really is effective. I push my car as much as anyone, but do not compete in autosports. The understeer is very manageable once you understand how to manage it in a AWD car. The car does have some lean to it when pushed, but it still grips fine. If you intend to track the car at all then the suspension would definitely be an important upgrade.

    As for the motor reliability - there is a bad rep legacy from some motors found in the 08 and early 09s, but the issue was resolved and now the reliability is typical for any smaller turbocharged motor.

    Good luck with your negotiations.
    - Chris
    2011 WRX DGM (The Fastest Color) 5DR
    Cobb AP Stage 2 93, Cobb DP, RAs, STS (the dream comes true ...)

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