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Some people love the way VTEC works and the way it sounds. I personally would rather have more usable power than power which is made at high revs only. The Si only makes 132 lb. ft. of torque @ 5500 RPM. That is pretty low, especially for a sporty car. Torque is what will make your car quick though, so this is why I like it. The GTI makes 173 lb. ft. of torque from 1900-5000 RPM. That makes for much more usable power. Not only does the 1.8T make more torque, it also makes it at a much lower RPM than the Si. This makes for a quicker car. With that kind of a powerband, all you need to do is hit the gas and the engine takes care of the rest. In an Si, you'd have to downshift a gear and maybe 2 just to keep up. Again, it's all about what you prefer. I myself prefer the more usable, wide powerband of my GTI than the peaky powerplant of the Si. Even the 200 HP engine in the RSX Type-S still doesn't make a lot of torque. 142 lb. ft @ 6000 RPM.
This all translates into what makes a car faster. Though the Si may be a slightly better handler than the GTI, you'd never be able to hang with it in the straights and a race betwen them would be a close one, each giving up something to the other. A few months back, I believe Motor trend even did a test between the GTI 1.8T, the Focus SVT and a Civic Si. If I can find the issue, I'll recommend it. I did, however, find a story from Road & Track, but it didn't have the GTI included. Still an interesting read though. The link for that story is http://www.roadandtrack.com/reviews/roadtests/ArticleDisplay.asp?ArticleID=234&page=1 Make sure you check out the lap times for all the vehicles. The Si came in 3rd in time and 3rd in average speed even though it handles great. That is not everything. The Si also has the smallest brakes, less power, and narrower tires. Anyway, I have to get going right now, but maybe I'll add a bit more later.
2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)
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