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something else forever
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey! Howdy! Hello!

(I was unable to decide how to greet everyone taking a few minutes to read this award-winning post)


Met up with a very old friend who I had not seen in almost a year. We hung out with some other mutual friends but then wanted to kick it back and try carving the back roads in the area for fun. I had my 2014 WRX and he had his brand new 2016 BMW 340i with him. Well not technically "brand new" but pretty new. Less than 10k miles on it. His was automatic (not DCT since only the "M-series" have them) but it legit was fully loaded with all of the luxury options, creature comforts, and performance options available. He gave me the run down of the numbers and actually admitted that if he wanted to shell out another five grand or so he could have had a base model M3 with nothing on it at all.

So we hit the curves and corners and had a really good time. I drove my car and showed him how good (and responsible) I was. He did not drive my car since he did not want to ruin my clutch and transmission, and I respect that. His previous car was an older e36 (similar to mine) and it was stick but he was never too good at it. I digress. Then I was given a ride in his BMW on the same exact roads. It was fun. Not as fast (we both agreed since it was RWD and he is far from a professional driver) since he was being pretty cautious but still very enjoyable. Then I was given a shot at it. The first five minutes I was very slow and careful. I did my thing and got used to the car. Then I really started to push it. I realized something very quickly; driving my WRX for so long and only occasionally trying out other RWD cars actually made me an over-confident and "worse" driver. I did not crash or anything but there were times where I felt like if I gave the BMW even 5% more power it could be a little issue on my end.

So here is my question: Does the WRX just handle so much better or am I used to it more or does the AWD really mask my mistakes and I am just used to it now? The BMW felt more fun but was slower and a tad scarier. Ever since I got my WRX in May 2014 all other cars I drove for fun or test out were normally on highways or straight roads where handling did not mean anything. This was my first time driving a none-awd car on the "twisties" in about two years.

Second question, which is more of a pop quiz, but should I improve the handling of my WRX this summer? New pads and rotors and better brake fluid? I have the stock set up now, and although it is pretty good, I do think about how much better it could be with aftermarket parts which are stronger and can handle more.

Also, what do you all think about the new BMW three series?

Let me know what you all think! :D

(side note to the adults)

I have a flawless driving record and have never in my life been in an accident. I know how to be safe and responsible. I will be 23 years old in about a month and have been driving since I was 16 years of age. My experience with driving performance cars ranges but I have serious skill and understanding of how to keep powerful cars under control and when to ease off and call it a day. Do not worry, nobody was in danger nor was anyone or anything in potential harm.
 

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The AWD system hides how bad your are failing to the point of killing you unexpectedly.

I'm indifferent on the new BMWs. I'd venture the newer turbo models with the m sport package would kill the WRX on a skid pad and in handling precision, and likely if they have it in AWD in a quarter as well.

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something else forever
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The AWD system hides how bad your are failing to the point of killing you unexpectedly.

I'm indifferent on the new BMWs. I'd venture the newer turbo models with the m sport package would kill the WRX on a skid pad and in handling precision, and likely if they have it in AWD in a quarter as well.

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Fair enough. Yea in some ways I will admit that I miss my e36 and how it handled and felt. But I do love the power and sound of my current ride more.

Would you prefer "x-drive" over "quattro" or "4matic" or any of the other German AWD variants?
 

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The x-drive is nice. The cars I've driven with with it handled really well and didn't have the heavy understeer my WRX has.

I haven't driven a modern Audi to say how it would compare.

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something else forever
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The x-drive is nice. The cars I've driven with with it handled really well and didn't have the heavy understeer my WRX has.

I haven't driven a modern Audi to say how it would compare.

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Fair enough. I love my WRX so much though. Just wish it would not rattle or shake sometimes though.

Definitely a better performance car than my buddy's 3-series we tried out today. Not as refined or comfortable though, but still a great car.

I will say that I personally have only driven an AWD BMW a few times, and never hard, so I am unable to comment on it performance wise.
 

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The 340i with X-drive can put down a 4.6 second 0-60, plus the acceleration curve is very linear, so it is seriously fast.

It weighs about 500 lbs more, so it may not feel as fast or as maneuverable, and costs at least $20K more than the WRX. Plus maintenance costs, less generous warranty, etc.

I agree the AWD masks your skills. I had a RWD Z4 3.0 liter which was super fun on twisty roads. You learn how to drive it, and how to throw the rear out in a controlled fashion. Recent BMW's have less road feel with the steering IMO, which is one of the reasons I like the WRX.

I still like BMW's. I think the 2-series is even more of a driver's car than the 3/4 series--0-60 in 4.2 seconds.

I don't think it's really fair to compare the WRX to a $45-50K car. The way to look at it is how much driving fun can I get for $30K?
 

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That's the key, it does compete there, but there isn't a comparison there. The more expensive luxury sport cars have superb fit, finish and dialed in feel that is hard to hit near the 30k mark.

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something else forever
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am impressed then with those figures. I always thought that BMW's RWD vehicles were built better than their AWD vehicles since the entire "M" lineup is only offered in RWD. I stand corrected though. Seems like their AWD variants are, in some ways, better for performance.

Yes I do agree. Comparing cars that are almost double the price with more expensive maintenance is a bit silly, but, sometimes life isn't fair and you're gonna roll up to a new Aventador on the next light. BMW's are pretty impressive vehicles though.

Side note though, I am not a fan of the new 2-series, even the M2. :(
 

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I really can't comment on the newer 3/440 series machines. My experience was with the older 3 series and 5 series. When I was shopping, I test drove a 340 and a 440 but did not push them in any way.

Generally, AWD platforms will be tuned to under-steer. The WRX is tuned to do so. Some systems allow for adjusting the split to give a more rear wheel bias. This will give the vehicle a bit more of a neutral feel. However, it is still more difficult to induce an over-steer scenario with an AWD platform, unless you are doing a 5%/95% split like some of the exotics.

Audi has the weight distribution issue that almost insures that at the limit, they will want to plow ahead. The AWD actually helps pull the front end around a bit as you modulate the power delivery. Lately, I am of the opinion that Audi is making the cars more softly sprung than in the past. An S7 and S8L that I have had the pleasure of driving some lately (neighbor in the 'hood has them) felt a bit closer to floaty than nailed down.

I also think that too much emphasis is placed on 0-60 magazine times. Smaller, turbo powered, AWD cars may be able to post low numbers under strip / track conditions. However, in the real world of true power on demand situations, these cars will not be able to keep up with cars that post similar numbers, but boast big, fat, wide torque curves (plateaus), in the real world. A very dramatic instance of this was the Head to Head between the SS Camaro and the BMW M4. While track testing yielded nearly identical times, rear world testing had the SS beating the M4, 8 out of 9 times over a ~90 run test sample.

Long winded post. ..

IMHO, the WRX delivers a value performance mix for what it is at its price point. BMW still does what it does very well. However, I think that BWM is drifting away from the pure drivers experience to try to find a wider audience. I am not a big fan of their electric steering or the fact that they feel a bit softer in the push.

What do I know anyway. My friend and his GT3 RS continues to kick my butt, even with his slow a$$ driving it.
 

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tag for later
 

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I need to get a ride (or better yet, drive) in a newer 3. The last time was when I was looking for a car back in 2005; I found a nice, slightly-used E46 330i, the car that the magazines and online folks were raving about. I think my expectations were too high..I drove it, and came away with meh. Everyone says that the newer ones are softer..not what I'm looking for.

A buddy had an E30 back in the day, that I loved. Honestly, it's driving dynamic felt somewhat close to my BRZ. Light, controllable, tight, tail-happy. Lovely.
 

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Germz you would really like the 15+ wrx I bet. Kind of a mix between the feeling you would get from the 14 wrx and the newer bimmers. More refined than prior gen but very tossable and lighter than a bmw 3 series x drive.

As for handling mods for your WRX, I'd do sway bars and tires.
 

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I need to get a ride (or better yet, drive) in a newer 3. The last time was when I was looking for a car back in 2005; I found a nice, slightly-used E46 330i, the car that the magazines and online folks were raving about. I think my expectations were too high..I drove it, and came away with meh. Everyone says that the newer ones are softer..not what I'm looking for.

A buddy had an E30 back in the day, that I loved. Honestly, it's driving dynamic felt somewhat close to my BRZ. Light, controllable, tight, tail-happy. Lovely.

Ray,

Sometimes it is hard for the hype and the expectations to align properly with reality. The BMW is still a very nice car. It will drive and handle very well. It will cost ~$50K-$55K for a nice 440 well equipped. I have noticed a lot of folks switching from the BMW brand to domestic brands due to the costs of ownership and repairs. The sweet spot seems to be a 36,000 mile / 3 year lease. A fair amount are leaving the M Series, too.
 

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Yeah, I wasn't meaning to throw an insult at the brand. I have a particular set of desired attributes for my sports sedan/car; I think after the E36, BMW headed away from what I look for. I accept that I'm an outlier. The fact that it's expensive isn't really the issue; I'd just take the same money and go buy a nicely-maintained 997 Porsche. :)

I also try to keep an open mind! I'd love to drive the newer models, and see what they're about.
 

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Comparing the WRX to luxury brands and you will always be to some extent disappointed. The car is not built to last without a ton of repairs.

You could compare it to entry level luxury like Volvo.

As a middle class average dude I do not want to be driving around what amounts to a house down-payment where I live thus the mid to low 30s is my max on a car I have to drive daily to commute with. Seriously, if the WRX became a 40k+ car I would be driving a VW GTI and just having to deal with the bad resale, maintenance, and lack of AWD. Options are limited for us in that price range really if you want something practical enough and somewhat fun to drive that is not going to be a house down-payment.
 
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