That feeling when you've had a good night's rest and you slowly regain consciousness but you struggle to wake up because it's just so inviting to lay in bed all day, under the sheets in a cold and dark room - until you realize that you have the keys to a Subaru WRX STI. It's time to rise.
Since it was a Sunday, I felt that it would be a great idea if I paid a visit to my grandmother for lunch. I fired up the car, and in its usual STI self, the boxer engine shook up my entire neighborhood with its low frequency subwoofer-like exhaust. I absolutely love the sound of this thing, on idle at least. I made my way up north to my grandmother's house, and voila, as soon as I got there, I was told that it would be better if I took her out for lunch instead. The funniest thing was that my 88 year old grandmother wanted to ride with me. Ha! This is going to be interesting to say the least.
I escorted her into the back seats of the car, to which she asked before entering, "Why does your car have a 'sampayan' at the back?", while pointing at the massive rear wing. I told her it was meant for reasons that wouldn't interest her at all, and for our purposes today, we wouldn't be needing that wing anyway. Interestingly, she said that she liked the back seats of the car, stating that she was getting a back massage by what I think would be the exhaust system. Now who ever thought that a lady pushing 90 would appreciate such a juvenile car? Not bad at all.
After having lunch with my family, I was up for a little drive. From Pasig, I headed back down to Alabang where I picked up one of my childhood friends, Ivan Go, who happens to be a locally renowned chef. He was our long-time chef at Aruga Café and the Rockwell Club. He has since continued to pursue other business ventures in the food industry. When we were growing up, I was always into cars and he was into basketball. As childhood best friends, we tried our best to influence each other to grow into what our own interests were, but it's safe to say that he doesn't really care what car he's in, and I still do not own a pair of basketball shoes.
One thing that we shared in common was our love for road trips. When we were in high school and when my Mom was operating Cucina Victoria, we would tag along on overnight catering projects just so that we could drive long distances without having to sneak out and eventually get ourselves in trouble. We would load up my Ford Explorer with multiple coolers filled with fresh ingredients and take them with us to the catering destination, which would be in places like Nasugbu and Tayabas. Naturally, the best part of it was that it was all-expenses paid. You know, our school allowances wouldn't have been able to pay for fuel, right?
It was great to finally catch up with my buddy, who I haven't really seen much of because of our opposite schedules. We did what we intended to do and went out for a drive just like old times. Ivan is used to fast cars, because his brother, Francis trades them as one of his businesses - that guy has got really lovely cars, some of which I desperately want to feature at Opus Macchina. Since we were already down south, we figured to head down to SLEX and bomb the empty highway. In typical STI fashion, this car devoured the road with its athletic pace.
There is one slight problem though. It has old school turbocharging, which means that the car tends to lean on its turbo so much that before hitting boost, it offers no power at all. Even in Sport Sharp (S#), it feeds in the torque at north of around 3,500 rpm which is ideal for the track where you can hold the revs high, but not really on public roads. Besides, that kind of driving drains your fuel tank quickly and this car does it unbashfully so. If you are zipping through moderate traffic, its late power delivery means that you are in the mercy of fast diesels.
Nonetheless, we entered Silangan where the roads were empty and it turned into our very own rally stage special. We were able to bond over a good set of roads and course some great food as well. Driving this car re-hashed memories of how we used to dream about doing this sort of thing when we got older, and today was just one of those days we could tick off our list of little things we were able to achieve. In these twisty roads, you feel the legendary Symmetrical all-wheel drive system supply all the grip needed to put all 305 horses down on the tarmac. Plus, you can bring four more people with you to enjoy the ride. It's a win.
I love the steering, the pedal feel, and the short throw gearbox. They're all so precise and they mesh together so coherently, it makes the whole driving experience so rewarding and addicting. As I mentioned a while back in my full review of this car, it has God-like grip. You feel it most through the corners when the tires are loaded up, yet after decreasing your steering angle, it has the ability to fire you out of a corner at unbelievable pace. No corner was too tight for this car. It was quick in all conditions and surfaces. It actually really enjoyed the rain too, but not as much as I did. After all, isn't that what the STI legend is all about?