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Warning: Long and detailed review ahead

So, I had one of these reviews a year or two ago when my buddy still had his B16 Spec V. He's originally from Maryland and sometimes visits back home for an extended amount of time. He always is nice enough to let me watch his car(aka drift into trees). So after some pretty big problems with his Spec V, he traded it in on an 09 white Speed3. This is the first year they've offered the white on the MS3 and would be my choice if I were to buy one. It is the sport model and is bone stock. I drive an 07 FBP coupe w/ navi and HFP lip kit as well as I/H/E, RSB, SS/Bushings.


Exterior:
Both have nice pearl paints, the MS3 white was gorgeous in comparison to my neighbors 07 LX.

The MS3 comes stock with foglights as well as projectors. Very clean and nice cutoff on these.

I'm pretty sure the tails aren't LED on the Speed, but when you lock the car, you can see what looks to be the individual bulbs lighting up the ground in a pretty cool fashion. The flat black tails also go well with the white color scheme.

I wouldn't know what other section to put this in but the MS3 horn is way better than the Si's lol. I hate our horn with a passion.


As far as looks go, I love them both in different ways, but the coupe wins here. I definitely wish I had the projectors and fogs like the Speed though.



Interior:
Speed is definitely quite different. The look and material of the seats are much nicer, but the Si has the slight edge as far as keeping you planted in your seat. The placement of the headrests is a little further back compared to my Si, which kinda sucks for a tall guy like me. Seems like I'm really trying hard to rest my head.

The steering wheel is much nicer looking, but seems a tad on the thin side compared to the Si. The steering is definitely a lot heavier than the Si, which is something I really liked. The steering wheel controls felt a lot more awkward, mostly due to the fact that the Si's are recessed in the wheel while the Speed's kind of portrude out and follow "plumpness" of the steering wheel spokes.

The lighting is nice. Orange faces during the day with dimmed orange on a blue background at night. Seems a bit more classy than the Si does. The Si's digital speedo and somewhat childish tach gauge made it feel a lot cheaper in comparison.

The radio was a tough comparison, obviously due to the fact that I have a navi system and he doesn't. The system as a whole I thought didn't sound as nice as the Si, and didn't have the equalization that the Si is capable of. Also, the lack of a sub was very evident in a lot of music (or if the Speed has one, the Si's is just better lol). The radio's volume increment was much smaller in the speed. Similar volume levels in the Si (say volume 12) would be equivalent to volume 20 in the Speed. Pretty small detail but I was bothered having to hit the volume button so many times to get where I wanted. One thing the speed had that the Si didn't was a mute button. Oh how I've missed a mute button from my Mustang.

The Speed has ACC, which is very nice. The actual AC system seemed to work much better than my Si's. I am very unhappy with the performance of the Si, as sometimes I will never cool off in a 20-30 minute drive with the AC on Max and 60 for the entire trip. I guess that's why AZ sucks though.

The visibility in the Speed is obviously much better due to it being a hatch. All four windows roll down completely, but only the driver window auto's down. The Speed didn't have a sunroof, which didn't bother me..but it did. I use it occassionally in the Si, but I wouldn't necessarily miss it.

The Si's center console is a bit bigger, and the adjustable arm rest was much missed during my drives.

The transmission was definitely night and day. The gates are very close, but the throws are very long on the Speed. The clutch was a bit tricky to get used to, as it catches somewhat low, but feels like it takes a great deal of travel before it "fully engages". It was a tough comparison since I have a SS as well as the bushings on my car. I seriously felt like my master cylinder was shot once I got back in the Si, just because the travel was much shorter overall, as well as the engagement points being much different. I never had a problem getting into a gear at least. Damn my third gear.


Overall, the Speed wins in interior, but obviously the Si had some things that I really missed or hated on the Speed.



Performance:
Engine wise, the Speed dominates. This thing is a monster. I was absolutely addicted to the torque and powerband of this thing. I was revving much lower in every gear, but pretty much could take off at will with no down shifting. The power really hits around ~3K, but is still satisfactory below. This is something I've really missed about my Mustang, and am growing tired of revving so high just to get going. The only downfall is the infamous ~6K rev range where it falls FLAT on it's face. I mean I've heard that the power starts tapering, but it's just ridiculous. It feels like reverse VTEC in that the power just suddenly disappears. Nothing aftermarket can't fix though and no concern at all really since you can shift at 6K and still be above or around 3K and start the fun over :D FWIW, my buddy easily pulls me in his Speed for those that will come in and say that they will be about equal with my mods. I have a feeling a lot of Speed drivers run to redline and seriously slow themselves down by being in that shitty power range.

The turbo lag was somewhat noticeable, mainly when shifting to the next gear. Getting used to the tranny, it was a bit rough at first, but then I would be in gear and it would again feel rough due to the turbo finally spooling and giving me power. Was really strange at first, but doesn't bother me much anymore.

I didn't really take any corners or brake hard so I can't comment too much on this. I have 40K more miles than him, and my rotors are a bit warped, so braking felt nice in his car. Overall feel of the car, the Speed felt a bit more refined and comfortable to drive in, but the Si felt tight and more responsive.

The exhaust note was a nice change of pace. I have the WS2 paired with a DCRH and X intake, so it was a bit quieter than normal. My exhaust has a noticeable drone on the highway, but the Speed was the perfect level. In the low revs, the Speed is audible enough to please, but not loud enough to annoy. It sounds pretty close to a boxer engine below 2K and then gets a smoother tone past that. I really enjoyed it in comparison to my Si. I've never really cared for my Si's exhaust note, but I do like hearing something. This is pretty apples to oranges as the Speed is probably very similar to a stock Si's noise levels.



In the end, it's really pretty tough to call a "winner". I definitely love things about my Si, but are some really nice things about the Speed. I really want an engine upgrade, or a powerband shift if you will. I don't think I could get myself in a wagon at this point though. The Speed made me more excited for the turbo Genesis coupes to hit the lot. I'm really hoping that the Gencoupe will be a good combination of what I like about both of them: A decently quick turbo engine with a low revving powerband in a pretty nice looking coupe. RWD doesn't hurt anything either :D My ultimate goal is to get a reflash and maybe supporting mods to get close to stock Speed levels and call it day. So, what I'm really getting at is the Si and MS3 suck, Gencoupe FTW!! :dancingcoolsmiley:

If anyone is curious about other aspects that I may have forgot, go ahead and post up. I still got another day or two with it so I'm sure I can easily compare them.
 

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Blake, great review. Seems like there is a pro and con to every car. No car is perfect. I imagine the MS3 looks stunning white. Thanks for the write up!
 

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Before I got my SI I did alot of research on the Ms3. The main problem with its was the engine. I found a list on the Ms3 forum of around 100+ guys that has blow engines. Alot of them where stock or small things like intake and exhaust. I had my heart set on the car but the fact that they would not lower the price and the blow engines changed my mind. I couldnt get a qoute under 26,000. Everone dealership said "Its limited production, they only make 5,000 a year. And we can only get the premium model." So I went and got a si for 19,880. And I love it. Dont get me wrong its a great car. But you have to pay for it. Great review. I would agree with everything.
 

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I had a speed for a week, except it was the GT, so I didn't have any of the qualms about the interior or sound system that you do about the Sport. That aside, you are absolutely right about the clutch feel, it takes at least 200-300 miles of driving to get used to. Besides that, I only had two other gripes about the car.

For one, I absolutely HATED the speedo. It was only a 2/3 wrap around, with a 160mph limit, which means I actually had to pay extra attention to it, otherwise I would be going 10mph over the limit. One centimeter of travel from the needle was like 20mph lol, and after coming from an Si, where you know how fast you're going whether you want to or not, it was unbearable.

And my Speed3 did have a third gear problem, just not how you would think. Driver error really. The gates of the transmission are "oddly" placed to say the least. If I was trying to shift aggressively, I would miss third 2 out of 3 times. REALLY annoying. Nothing I wouldn't have gotten used to, I'm sure, but I did read a complaint about that from C&D as well, so I know it wasn't just me. Other than that, I loved that car.

Unfortunately, I tried to get into it right when the bank "crisis" was happening, and the company that was going to give me a loan got very skittish, and I had to give it back after a week. VERY emberassing. But, I did get my Si back, and there were no strings attached, so I basically drove a Speed3 for free for a week. :thumb:

Had that not happened though, I would have still driven the Speed3 GT and been happier with it than my Si.
 
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