I have not had the previous history of performance cars like yourself as my last car was a Mk1 MR2 but I have had my Evo 6 for the past 6 weeks and it is truely unbeliveable. I went for the Evo over the Skyline (R33) mainly due to the slight performance advantage and practicality of 4 doors. I completely ruled out an Impreza of any kind simply because they are too common now. Anyway to answer some of your questions:-
<u>What car to get?</u>
I went for a Grey Import Evo 6 GSR which I think has the best combination of price, performance and practicality.
Of course it depends whether outright performance or creature comforts is your priority. For outright performance then you should go for one of the RS versions (RS, RS2 or RSX). With the RS versions you get a light weight stripped out racer but no toys or not many toys to play with.
I went for a Grey Import rather than a Ralliart car because:
a) Grey Imports are a lot cheaper than official Ralliart
b) There is virtually no difference to a proper SVA Grey Import than a Ralliart car
c) I had heard of many horror stories of bad treatment by Ralliart Customer Care
I also went for an E6 over an E5 simply because they look better! There is not much difference between a 5 and 6 mechanically, however, the 5 maybe subject to the current Active Yaw Control Recall.
Grey Import EVO 6 GSR - from £18k for second hand (I did see one for this!) to anywhere up to £28k for a brand new E6
Grey Import Tommi Makinen Edition - £28k to £30k brand new
Ralliart EVO 6 GSR - 10% to 20% more expensive than an equivalent Grey Import
Ralliart Tommi Makinen Edition - £32k brand new
This is probably the worst point of the Evo. You can average 24mpg on 97 octane Super Unleaded. The Evo was meant for the Japanese home market only (apart from rallying) and was designed to run on 100 RON fuel which is readily available over there. You will have no trouble running an Evo on 97 Super as the ECU is self adaptable (within reason) to run on lower octane fuels. One question to ask when buying a second hand Evo is whether the car was brand new in the UK or was it run in Japan? The ECU adapts to the fuel first used so if it was on 100 RON in Japan before it was brought over to the UK then the ECU may become confused when you start putting 97 octane in. Evo's can be modified to run on 95 octane Unleaded by completely remapping the ECU but that is a whole new kettle of fish and is subject to a heated debate on another forum at the moment (see the 'Power Engineering' thread). The mpg combined with the small tank means a range of approximately 200 miles which is probably more of a 'gripe' than the mpg. The smile the performance will put on your face offsets this though [img]http://www.ltregister.f9.co.uk/graphics/happy1.gif border|EQU| 0 align|EQU| absmiddle ><!--e1-->
<u>Where to buy?</u>
Not from Ralliart! [img]http://www.ltregister.f9.co.uk/graphics/biggrin1.gif border|EQU| 0 align|EQU| absmiddle ><!--e13-->
I expect there will be replies to say that a Ralliart car is the only way to fly as I had this last time I posted about Ralliart cars (see the thread 'Differences between Ralliart and Grey Imports') but the 'Ralliart are great' comments were far outweighed by people who had bought Grey Imports and were extremely happy with them, just like me now!
I bought mine privately for a VERY reasonable price after getting a bit dissillusioned by my local import specialist. Where ever you buy just make sure it has a FULL service history as it is extremely important on such a high performance car. The Evo has to be serviced every 4.5k miles which is another downside to it although the servicing is no where near supercar money. Also for peace of mind a warranty would also be a bonus. These can be bought separately for a reasonable amount if you do not get one with your car.
I hope this helps. Read through the other threads on this forum to find out more about the Evo. I did and I found out a lot of stuff that you would simply not find out anywhere else!
If you would like to come and see my Evo some time I am in the North Hampshire area so not too far away from Southampton.
Drop me a mail at <a href|EQU| mailto:[email protected]