Battle of 1,000 Horsepower: Golf R Impreza WRX STI Drag Racing
I always thought these STIs were fascinating, although I would much prefer the sedan version instead. You can get them for a relatively low price, and other than reliability issues, I imagine they’re a lot of fun. Meanwhile, looking at the Golf R Estate, it looks like the boring sister of the Leon Cupra. I think the only reason it makes sense to choose the Golf R is because it’s all-wheel drive.
Before we jump into today’s challenge, let’s take a look at what makes these two cars particularly special. They are both rated at around 500 horsepower. But the Subaru uses a PPG straight cut 5-speed gearbox, while the Golf R has a more modern 7-speed dual-clutch. The STI weighs 2,535 lbs (1,150 kg). The Golf R is considerably heavier, even if it has a stripped down interior: 3,306 lbs (1,500 kg) in total!
Mathematically speaking, it seems that STI should have no difficulty dominating this challenge. But let’s not anticipate here. Both cars will have their 0-60 mph (96 km / h) times recorded for the first test. A quick pre-race soundcheck reveals what everyone could have guessed from the start: the boxer engine sounds great! With a flat-footed shift to the side, the Subaru needs 3.16 seconds to pick up speed.
The heavier Volkswagen manages to outdo its opponent, with a time of 2.97 seconds. Is it all down to the gearbox? Is it over for the Subaru? The quarter-mile (402-meter) test is next. The cars will perform solo races on the track, before the main race. The WRX STI Wagon crosses the finish line in 11.38 seconds, with a trap speed of 125 mph (201 km / h)!
The Golf R is just slightly slower, completing the quarter-mile test in 11.50 seconds, with a trap speed of 122 mph (196 km / h). With such a small difference between the two cars, anything can still happen in the main race. However, the WRX STI is off to a much better start and it looks like the Golf R is not performing at 100% of its potential. The Japanese wagon wins, but its opponent demands a recovery.
This time around, I feel like I’m watching a completely different movie. The Golf R takes the lead and wins the quarter-mile race hands down. After fixing a mechanical problem, the Subaru lines up for the third round. It’s the closest so far, and Volkswagen barely takes the win. The roll race is the last part of the challenge. The weight advantage kicks in, and the Subaru takes revenge.