So lets get down to brass tacks; when searching for the ultimate affordable track day car that can also munch miles and handle the UK’s awful weather many cars spring to mind that can easily do at least 2 of those things, E46 BMWs, MX5s are total bargains and Mazda Rx8s are going for next to nothing and are all very capable track cars and from experience at least the BMW and RX8 are really great cars to drive day to day even if the RX8 is a little thirsty. However practically speaking when it gets snowy and icy on the roads, and if you can only afford to run one car, and its RWD, at worse things could get sketchy and at best you have to crawl everywhere… #life is miserable.
Now front wheel drive is going to be harder to dismiss nowadays with so many extremely capable hot FWD cars on the market ; from small hot city cars like the Twingo RS and Suzuki Swift Sport to furious family movers like 215 the focus ST/RS (I know the new one is 4WD), Renault Clio 200 and Mégane 225, 250 or 280RS!, the Civic Type R and my personal favourite the Integra DC5 Type R. That being said and I’m aware this may be divisive like most people born in the 80’s and after, I’ve grown up driving front wheel drive cars and dealing with daft understeer into lift off oversteer into #OMG everysteer! I feel perhaps I just missed the factory installed FWD trick-diff boat that seems to have revitalised the hot hatch market because I grew up not trusting that the front end of my Nova was never actually going to go where I pointed the damn wheel things got a lot better in my 106 Rallyé worse again in my Audi A3 (I wont mention the C4 Coupé) and a lot better again in my Swift Sport that car nearly tempted me to stay with the FWD crowd but having driven a few hot laps in Evos and Imprezas I knew Turbo AWD was what I wanted. Good power all kinds of grip huge tuning potential with a great aftermarket support; both the Evo and Impreza are great choices and you honestly wouldn’t regret buying either!
In all honesty I wanted an Evo I loved the poise and balance that car offers it feels like a much smaller car and are seriously over braked from the factory so it just feels so planted into and round the corners its a fantastic car and I could sing its praises all day. However, knowing whichever car I chose was going to be my only wheels, at least for the foreseeable future, I wanted one with all the mod cons for longer drives too (my wife and I often drive to Europe for holidays) like satnav, air-con integrated blue tooth and all that other good stuff. This is where surprisingly Subaru, not often known for quality interiors, outshone Mitsubishi – I’d have to plump up for the Evo-X to get those features as standard and with the Evo-X being the ‘last’ Evo (there are rumors of a hybrid Evo in the works) they have been holding their value quite high… slightly too high for someone like me who at the time of purchase was planning a wedding and a mortgage.
So after much searching a little blue WRX hatch showed up at a local dealer, packing all the factory options, and within the week it was mine. The 100bhp jump from my Swift Sport was, and still is, such a rush. However after a while on the road (about 6 months when I had become used to the power delivery) I noticed all the roumors that had been circulated about the hatch being a bit soft and numb were quite true. As with most of my cars previously I wanted to do track days and I enjoy driving so it quickly became an issue that needed rectifying. I managed to source some Yellow Speed coilovers (I believe they were the first set in the country) and Whiteline drop-links to help stiffen everything up… I have been really enjoying my track days and spirited drives ever since with the bonus of the aesthetically pleasing lowness.