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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I finally passed the 600 mile mark, so I took the car out on some backroads that I'm intimately familiar with to put it through its paces and see how it performs when pushed harder. By no means is this 10/10ths driving; I don't even go 10/10ths at the track, but I would say solidly 7/10ths on roads with very good visibility that I know like the back of my hand.

For context, other FWD cars I've owned and/or hustled around these roads: FA5 Si, Focus ST, 500 Abarth, K24 TLX, Mk7 GTI, ILX, MS3.

I previously griped about the terrible stock tires, so I swapped them out for a set of well-worn 245/40R19 BFG gForce Comp2 summers tires. Yeah, I know these are about 5% taller than factory, but I'm still waiting on some new rubber; three sets that I've already tried ordering are on backorder :(.

Overall I'm very impressed with the suspension setup. When hitting bumps mid-corner, the car never gets unsettled even under throttle, which is pretty impressive for a FWD car. It's remarkably stable even on bad pavement. The LSD is also the real deal and quite impressive. While the car does still understeer at the limit on throttle (duh it's FWD), that limit is a heck of a lot higher than other FWD cars without LSDs. You have to really drive it like an ape to spin the wheels enough to get VSC to cut the throttle.

The handling is a bit numb, and the heavy weight in Sport mode feels especially artificial. With the heavier and wider wheels/tires, I actually found Comfort to be best. That said, turn-in is quick, and the car feels very nimble and easy to toss around. I wasn't able to get the car to rotate much by lifiting off the throttle (likely due to the sticker tires), but trail-braking is pretty easy and controllable. Pedal placement for heel-toe is also great.

As for the gearing, it's set up very well for the twisties. The short gears may not be ideal for 0-60 times, but on tighter roads you're able to stay in the meat of the powerband in 2nd, and you're not lugging it if you do want to drive at a more relaxed pace in 3rd.

A few downside; the stock brakes are not up to snuff for more spirited driving. They fade and turn to mush pretty quickly. They might be OK on a low-speed AutoX course, but it's a little disappointing to see them give up so quickly even on the backroads. Shouldn't be too surprising but I was hoping they'd fare at least a little bit better since the car is so light. Also, the intake/exhaust is too quiet, and I found myself having to look at the tach more than I'd like. I just couldn't hear the engine or exhaust over the road noise at higher speeds. I suppose at least it doesn't sound bad; it sounds nowhere near as good as a screaming K20, but it also doesn't sound like a vacuum cleaner like some other turbo-4s. And of course, the car could use some more power. There were definitely times when I had the gas pedal matted coming through a sweeper and I thought the LSD and tires could definitely handle more power. It's got some of that Miata DNA in that sense ;). I'm planning to snag a KTuner during the BF/CM sales, so hopefully a tune will help address that.
 

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Thanks for the real world review.

Not much throttle steer? The Gen 9 does that as well as any car I’ve driven, but it also has torque steer that took me over a year to develop quick reflexes to catch and use.
 
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