Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Forza Motorsport 6: AWD Bipolar Opposites

Ever since Subaru launched the WRX S4 in the Japanese market two years ago, its main purpose was intended to be a chief rival to the Volvo S60. Now with hotter versions like the WRX STi and the S60 Polestar in the picture, these all-wheel drive bipolar opposites are going head to head round the Top Gear Test Track to see which one is the best.

s60 (2)

But before I tackle this unique comparison between the two all-weather super saloons, let's get to know more about these two.

wrx

A year after the Subaru WRX made its world premiere at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, the long-awaited return of the high-performance WRX STi sports saloon made its premiere at the 2014 North American International Auto Show.

For global markets, including the US, the new WRX STi comes with the EJ25 engine developing 305HP of power and 290lb-ft of torque while mated with a 6-speed manual gearbox. New for the 2015 WRX STi is the Active Torque Vectoring, which joins alongside other tech such as Driver Controlled Center Differential, Symmetrical AWD, Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control, and Brembo Performance Brake System with Super Sport ABS.

In Japan, two kinds of WRX models are offered such as the S4 model which features a brand new FA20 Direct Injection Turbo engine developing over 300PS of power while mated with a Sport Lineartronic gearbox as seen in its station wagon derivative, the Levorg, and this one equipped with the smaller EJ20 turbo engine which produces a similar power output of over three hundred horsepower. Both these models launched in August of 2014.

s60

Based on the facelifted second-generation Volvo S60, the high-performance Polestar edition is a Volvo that is born at the track, built for the road. With its responsive handling, smooth shifting, and precise stopping, the S60 Polestar is made with the experience and engineering of nearly two decades of Volvo's motorsport activity and it has undergone extensive development to become a super saloon worthy of wearing the Polestar badge. It was made to be a limited-edition model.

The 2015MY Polestar model uses the T6 variant of the S60 as its foundation and thanks to Polestar, it develops 345HP of power and 369lb-ft of torque, while mated with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, tweaked by Polestar. Apart from the engine, the Polestar S60 comes with stiffer springs, Öhlins shock absorbers, high-capacity brake system, and other chassis upgrades.

The S60 Polestar is an impressive, aile, and extremely responsive complete package as each component is designed and crafted to maximize drivability and control everywhere, no matter the odds.

wrx (2)s60 (3)

Now that we get to know more about these two, it's time to take these two for a spin round the Top Gear Test Track because...it's fun to try out the hottest rides here. It's a great thing we have a game that featured this iconic testing ground as seen on TV.

Here's a quick tidbit. In terms of performance, the S60 Polestar has more power than the WRX STi's because its T6 engine develops 345HP of power. However, the S60's almost 300lbs heavier than the Subie, meaning it's going to be one-sided. Anyway, no time to explain because it's time to get some answers round the track.


At the end of their one-lap session, the results are in. The WRX STi did it in 1:27.809 while the S60 Polestar, despite its high power advantage and quicker shifts, did it in 1:29.221, almost two seconds slower.

It's quite amazing that despite its aged performance in a more modernized look, it's no surprising that the old-school Japanese tuner saloon beats the high-tech Swedish luxury saloon by a slight margin reserved for forensics and mediums alike and with the WRX STi, it's still Subaru's coup de grace.

It's been fifty long years since Subaru had its first boxer engine-powered car in history but with a car like the WRX STi's, the history of Subaru boxer engine remains one heck of a fight club because with its low centre of gravity compared to others, a Subie like this can squeeze itself out from the cold and it's great to have a living legend like this.

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