"WOW!" says photo intern Mike Shaffer. Our young photographer just unbelted from a 2011 Subaru Impreza
WRX STI after a spirited run on some of Southern California's most curvaceous paths. While the STI is capable of giving Munich's best sweaty brows and malodorous armpits, Shaffer's exclamation of surprise stems from the vast differences between the STI and another car he had just driven. Prior to jumping in the STI, he drove the same path in the Subie's well-established archrival: the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer MITSUBISHI EVOLUTION
X Special Edition.
"Compared to the Evo, the STI just feels sooo much heavier," Shaffer notes. "It understeers more than you'd want. But it makes up for slower cornering speeds with an all-out turbo blitz in the straights. The Evo, though, is phenomenal on a road like this -- very tightly twisted, even rutted at some points. MITSUBISHI I
know I'm not that great of a driver, but it made me feel like Superman out there."
Unlike the bulk of the MT staff, Shaffer is new to the long-running Evo vs. STI battle and the Superman phenomenon. This is the first time the newbie has tasted both potent varieties in one real-world sitting (no Gran Turismo 4 or 5 here), so his slate was figuratively clean.
Mitsubishi has traditionally used "Special Edition" lightly. The last time Americans got a three-diamond SE vehicle was in 2006. That car combined performance items from the higher MR trim into a cheaper model. Mitsubishi
used the latest SE as a sort of gateway into 2011's lower end "base" MR. Given this, only 340 SE examples were delivered in the second half of last year, and only now did we opt for a delivery of a tester.
Standard SE equipment includes Mitsu's lauded twin-clutch TC-SST gearbox, GSR styling cues (i.e. front clip with black side vents), small MR trunk lid spoiler, bi-xenon headlights, and heated black cloth Recaro buckets.