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September 10 2002

The Subaru Impreza WRX STi has topped a giant 28-car field in Motor magazine's 2002 Bang for your Bucks performance car contest.

The STi beat the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, BMW M3 SMG-II and Nissan 200SX, among other hot contenders.

It is Subaru's third BFYB win in the contest's nine-year history - Impreza WRX won in 1998 and 1999.

BFYB uses a formula which takes consideration of each car's rankings in the 0-100 km/h and standing 400 metre sprints, their lap times, cornering speeds and top speeds on the straight. It also averages the rankings from each of the six judges, which this year included V8 Supercar stars Marcos Ambrose and Cameron McConville.

Cars are ranked in six price categories before an overall winner is selected. STi topped the $50-80,000 segment and was then chosen for the top award.

Nick Senior, General Manager, Subaru Australia said: "We're delighted that the STi has been independently recognised as the great all-round performance package.

"Subaru takes a lot of trouble to set every model up for Australian conditions and that's reflected in STi's Bang for you Bucks win."

Motor Editor, Michael Taylor said: "It's a brilliant car, actually. It never put a foot wrong, it was always near the top of the time sheets, it was terrific value in its class and you could easily live with it every day.

"It's also very fast, very secure and very safe. It's entertaining without being overly demanding and it's a very worthy champion."

Other competitors this year included the Mini Cooper S, Honda Integra Type R, Renault Clio Sport, Holden Monaro CV8, HSV GTO Coupe, Jaguar S-Type R, Lotus Elise and Mercedes-Benz C32 AMG.

Motor says "The biggest thing in the STi's favour is probably its ability to feel friendly and accessible on the track. Where the Evo is holding a gun to your head, daring you to put a foot wrong, the STi is licking your face and fetching your slippers."

Motor adds: "The diffs really earn their keep in the STi and while you can still eventually make the Sube run wide (unlike the Evo) it's probably the most harmless compromise you could brew up without ruining the fun."

The STi "rated highly with the judges too. Nobody had it worse than third and two of them gave it top billing. And, remember, that's before its massive price advantage over the Evo is taken into account."

The report says the Subaru could be driven every day. "Your grandma could drive the STi to within a couple of seconds of its best lap time on any track you like, so benign and friendly is its character.

"That doesn't mean it's boring. It hooks up stupendously well out of corners and, while you can get the tail a-wagging under provocation in the first half of a corner, it prefers a slightly understeering stance on the way out. Its gear ratios are just about perfectly spaced and the shift itself is slicker than it has a right to feel. And the seats are a bit spesh, too."

Motor concludes: "Love the quick Subies or hate them, their sheer consistency always puts them around the money at the end of the game. It's no real surprise to us, then, that Subaru's Impreza WRX STi has taken out the Big One."

For the full story, see October's edition of "Motor" magazine, out now.

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