Going From Turbo to N/A: My Weird Journey from a GR STI to a AP2 S2000

Hello internet, you may have seen some of my work up on our social media streams in the last few months, but we have not officially met. I have now been working at Touge Tuning since December of 2015 doing photos, videos and media part time. The very persuasive Chris, owner of Touge Tuning, has prompted me start a journal series of my own (probably because he finds me to be an entertaining person). So without further hesitation let’s jump right in.

To get started I suppose that some background information on me is required, so here is the rundown. I work full time in the building engineering/design industry, but recently before this I was a student. I have now been out of school for 1.5 years, and have always had a deep passion for cars. Coming out of school and into the “working world” has had a bit of a profound effect on my life. In school things were always laid out for me and I was told what to do. Following guidelines had proven to be an important part of my life up to this point. I suppose this is why coming out of school I felt the need to do what everyone else does when they first acquire a well paid office job; get rid of my “boy racer” car and get a car that exudes responsibility and success. So that’s what I did, I sold my beloved 2012 STI sedan (which many of you know from the Exhaust Video MEME feat. Mike Richardson) and bought a brand new 2016 BMW 328d with X-Drive.

I know what you’re thinking at this point. You’re thinking what a stupid douchey thing to do.  The worst part is, I completely agree. Don’t get me wrong, the BMW was a nice car, it was comfortable, smooth and efficient, but it’s not a car that I enjoyed driving. Rather, the BMW 328d to me was a car that makes you forget that you’re driving. It wasn’t long after this reaslization that I felt my luxury sedan was made for people who hate their drive to and from work. They give you satellite radio, soft suspension, and lots of noise insulation to seclude you from your surroundings. This way you can crank up the premium sound system and close your eyes while sitting a red light and pretend that the slightly overweight middle aged woman next to you in her Hyundai Elantra is not jamming out to Celine Dion while annihilating a chicken drumstick from KFC. Needless to say, I felt like I was losing grasp of myself as an enthusiast.

Within 2 months I had decided it was time for the bimmer to go. I don’t need to tell you I lost a sh*t ton of money from depreciation but ended up buying a car that I had always wanted, the legendary Honda S2000. I purchased the car from a local dealership after shopping around a bit, it was a bone stock 2005 with 50,000 original kms in Rio Yellow. Never in my life would I have ever thought that I would own a yellow car. But this car was clean, we’re talking newly built hermetically sealed Nissan GTR factory clean, the type of clean that makes you want to lick the engine bay….not that I have or anything.

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Going from a Stage 2 pro-tuned STI with over 300 WTQ to an N/A engine with less than half of that is a bit like going from a rollercoaster full of highs and lows to the “It’s a Small World Afterall” ride at Disneyland, it’s nice but horribly uneventful. You get on the throttle and you wait for something interesting to happen, but nothing ever happens, all you get is a smooth and steady increase of speed and a nice engine note to match. No more being thrown back in your seat, no more pleas from passengers in fear for their lives.

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The things that I miss most about the STI are the turbo induction noises followed by the pops and bangs of my Tomei exhaust mated to the Grimmspeed catted downpipe. Oh and the practicality of a 4-door sedan with a usable trunk of course. At one point the car was loaded up with all my belongings and boxes full of new IKEA furniture while I was moving. I had a roof rack that could carry things from snowboards to road bikes, these are things I could never begin to imagine doing in my new S2000. In fact to this day I still have trouble finding a place for my sunglasses and 407 transponder. Don’t even mention the trunk space, there is no way you could kidnap Peter Dinklage with this car, not that I would do that, it just simply wouldn’t work.

What the S2000 lacks in brutal acceleration and practicality it makes up for in sharpness and pure driving enjoyment. If the STI was like an assault rifle, the S2000 is a Katana. The S2000 makes typical small economy cars feel like sloppy minivans, and minivans feel like 18-wheelers. This is the first car I have ever owned that was built from the ground up to be a thoroughbred sports car, this means the car has perfect weight distribution and low center of gravity. The rear OEM suspension even come with external fluid reservoirs, something that I was used to seeing in aftermarket units such as the KW V3 coilovers that I wanted but could not afford for the STI.

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Rather than focus on the technical specs of the car, which I assume people would use google for I wanted to touch quickly on the driving dynamics of S2000 and how it compared to my STI. First of all let me be the first one to say that I am no seasoned driver and I am going off based on my limited experience, so take it easy on me. The best way I can boil down the difference in driving feel between the two cars is the sensitivity to driver input. For example in the STI powering out of corners was simply a matter of giving as much throttle as you could while keeping the car from understeering off the road. The looming threat of your rear wheels breaking out sending your car into a slide that is beyond recovery is much less a concern. With the rear driven, short wheel base chassis of the S2000, too much trail braking or too much throttle mid corner will result in oversteer. This needs to be quickly corrected to maintain control of the car. Simply put there is a much narrower “sweet spot” for the S2000 than the STI. Playing it too safe resulted in a slow corner and taking too big of a risk meant putting yourself and the car in danger. However, if you get it “just right” the feeling is simply intoxicating, and thankfully it doesn’t take long to get it “just right”.

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Needless to say, I am really loving the car and I am set on keeping this one for a long time.  We are already making plans for this car here at Touge Tuning and we have just placed an order for some new Tires and Wheels to run a more aggressive “Square” set-up so stay tuned for updates, and feel free to throw us some suggestions for project names and what you would like to see in upcoming videos in the comments!

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