Stunning car which is still a match for the Impreza and Evo boys. Engine is a thorough rework of the Cosworth / Ford 2.0 unit by ex-works Ford driver Andy Rouse and his engineering team. Develops a massive 300 lb/ft of torque which peaks low and holds through the rev range. Stunning in-gear acceleration will blow just about anything away. 60-80 in 4th takes just 2.5 seconds! No lag, no rough edges, just a wave of torque which squeezes you into the seat. It might be outdragged off the line by some of the more heavily tuned Cossies and Scoobys, but in any real road situation, this car just squats and leaves them standing. It still makes me laugh after all this time.
The chassis was also sorted by Rouse and sports reworked suspension and revised geometry. Steering has bags of feel and the gearbox is slick despite a slightly long throw. There is stupendous grip when cornering hard, and if you push on, it will give way to controllable power oversteer thanks to the rear biased 4wd system.
The whole car has a sorted, balanced feel and it's a testament to the engineering quality that despite 94,500 miles, this nigh on 150 bhp per litre engine is still rattle free, smooth and seriously quick. Even the oil consumption hasn't increased much.
This car does everything. It will cruise motorways in comfort with 5 people on board and a bootful of luggage, yet it will embarass much bigger badges on both road and track. I'm not sure a car exists today which can match its all round ability which is why I will never sell it!