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On what are you basing the "waaaaaay outgun" comment, may I ask ? I would say that you are mis-informed, to put it mildly.
I drive an Acura 3.2TL (0-60 6.7secs=Pontiac Grand Prix GTP acceleration), which will humiliate your Pontiac in acceleration and I can say honestly that the Auto-WRX would be as fast or maybe even faster than the Acura. All you do is step on the gas and feel the rocketing effect of the car (Auto-WRX). Do not be misled by all these anti-auto comments in these forums. You should drive the car extensively yourself and decide for yourself. It is your money. Also, at most the manual WRX should be about 0.5secs or so faster than the Auto-WRX. Both the Auto and the manual-WRX are dogs right off the line. Both of them rocket ahead once you cover about 50 ft from a standing start.
Another factor most of us are ignoring are:
a) The Auto-WRX has stiffer springs than the manual-WRX for better handling. This is a fact not fiction.b) The Auto-WRX has a waaaaaaaaay better AWD system when compared to the manual. This is a fact not something pulled out of thin air. This AWD distributes 55% of the torque to the rear wheels and 45% to the front wheels in normal driving. When starting from a stop (or when accelerating), the Torque-sensing Planetary gear center differential distributes 85% of the torque to the rear wheels. This ensures absolutely fabulous handling, especially while blasting along a curvy mountain road. The manual-WRX does not do anything of the above.c) The Auto-WRX is nearly as fast as the manual and is faster than pretty much all other vehicles on the road. And that is with a normal start not starting with high revs or any such abnormal way of starting.
May I suggest that you go through the below thread:
Below is a comment from a manual-WRX owner (on the handling of the manual-WRX in slippery conditions, something that will never occur with the Auto-WRX equipped with the VTD-AWD system):I have noticed that the VC does take awhile (especially when the WRX has just been started and the fluid is still cold) to engage. My first little snow traction test (with Arctic Alpins) was to goose it a little on a low speed curve in our lane. The rear kicked out like I was driving a RWD vehicle! No harm done but I was a little disappointed. My wife's RAV4 seems to do better, even w/o locking the center diff.Later...AH
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