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2015 Forester XT CVT
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139 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
hello, after driving a bmw for about 9 years, thinking about switching over to a forester.

trying to decide between the NA model and the turbo model.

do i need to get the turbo model to enjoy driving it more?

not thrilled about having to continue to use premium gas.

thnx.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5X Premiu
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83 Posts
hello, after driving a bmw for about 9 years, thinking about switching over to a forester.

trying to decide between the NA model and the turbo model.

do i need to get the turbo model to enjoy driving it more?

not thrilled about having to continue to use premium gas.

thnx.
Fun to drive like a BMW? Er, no.

Took me about a month to really get used to the feel after my Acura CL (which I got after my BMW). Now, it feels right. It feels fun. The turbo is probably going to appeal to a recent BMW driver more than the std 2.5.
 

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2005 Forester XT 4eat
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4,583 Posts
Some suspension / wheel / tire modifications and a quicker steering rack might get an older model (2004-2008) XT closer to a BMW as far as the fun driving goes, but the rattling would probably drive you nuts to no end.
 

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Ah crap.. I'm back with my 05 XS
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8,294 Posts
Get a turbo. We NA owners see HG changes every 100k or so. And the power isn't anywhere close to the 330i (assuming that's your last car) as the 170-178hp is subject to drag from the drivetrain and AWD, so you're looking at about 110whp or so. Suspension mods will definitely make it more fun to drive and it's cheaper to mod than the bimmer but yeah, this will be a loud car compared to a bimmer man (this can be dealt with using sound deadening).. and the turbo will require premium gas as well.

Buying a subie is more of a hobby IMO. :)
 

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2009 Forester XT 4EAT
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2,265 Posts
I have driven several "performance" cars in the past and my best friend currently drives a BMW 528i. My '09 Foz XT is a LOT of fun to drive around in the mountains of North Georgia and a pleasure to drive every day in traffic.
My friend's 528 would probably smoke me on a road course (I am running stock suslension and tires still) but he cannot put the dog in the back as easily :icon_razz: and cannot venture very far off pavement, much less a gravel road.
I did consider the X-3 before I purchased mine, but comparing the price...ummm....I purchased my Foz and haven't looked back. :biggrin:
 

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2015 Forester XT CVT
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139 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Get a turbo. We NA owners see HG changes every 100k or so. And the power isn't anywhere close to the 330i (assuming that's your last car) as the 170-178hp is subject to drag from the drivetrain and AWD, so you're looking at about 110whp or so. Suspension mods will definitely make it more fun to drive and it's cheaper to mod than the bimmer but yeah, this will be a loud car compared to a bimmer man (this can be dealt with using sound deadening).. and the turbo will require premium gas as well.

Buying a subie is more of a hobby IMO. :)
what does "HG changes" mean?

yes, i currently have an 02 330i. it's great to drive but the repair costs are brutal.

i realize the forester won't drive like my bmw, but i just want to continue to have a little bit of fun.

thanks for the input guys.
 

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Ah crap.. I'm back with my 05 XS
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8,294 Posts
HG = head gaskets

non-turbo 2.5L blocks are open deck design and seem to see corrosion of the head gaskets much sooner than people would like.

of course, there are plenty of people who never need a head gasket change, but the reported cases are rising.

other than that, wheel bearings could be an issue (again, some never, some frequent) and maybe the axles and rear differential if you like driving spirited. all else seems ok.
 

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2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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29,449 Posts
Some suspension / wheel / tire modifications and a quicker steering rack might get an older model (2004-2008) XT closer to a BMW as far as the fun driving goes, but the rattling would probably drive you nuts to no end.
This.

I think the new generation is softer and slower, or maybe it's just the clientele that is less likely to modify and drive it like they stole it. I guess it's all about what you're willing to spend to make it handle & scoot. My 04 XT beats up on 540i's on the road course at Infineon Raceway (Sears Point), and the funnest part is having the BMW driver wonder how the girl in the soccer mom wagon got away with it. So yes, with the right stuff you can make it hella fun to sling around the backroads and race track, but like guroove said, don't expect the refinements of a BMW, or you might be disappointed.
 

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2008 FSXT 4EAT
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4,143 Posts
Just so you're not surprised - Subarus (in general) are not nearly as refined as German cars. I'm a former VW Passat owner, and when I purchased a Forester to replace it (was totaled), I dearly missed the "solid German feel" and refined interior. It took a while to get used to the differences, because the two cars exist (and shine) in completely different markets.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5XT
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51 Posts
Buying a subie is more of a hobby IMO. :)
No kidding, more of a PITA sometimes!!! All that aside I've really enjoyed my new XT. I purchased the vehicle based upon the offroad capability in a small, "fun-to-drive", and efficient package. I've had it on one offroad trip 80 miles round trip on Padre Island National Seashore. It went through some of the most awful, rutted soft sand beach you could imagine (fully loaded down with fishing and kayaking gear also).
 

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2017 VW Golf SportWagen 5MT
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10,784 Posts
My co-worker had a '00 328ci, then an '07 530i. He constantly made fun of my car being a rice rocket, cheaply-made, tin can for sheet metal econo-box. I can't really argue with any of that -- it is what it is, a cheap Japanese-made AWD swiss-army-knife vehicle that can be transformed easily from an off-road trail climber to a drag-racer to a very well handling twisty mobile. It has room to haul stuff, too.

I work on my car myself, while he struggles with taking his 530 to the dealership under warranty. I drive the crap out of my car in the twisties and everywhere else, he cruises. I could not afford to maintain a BMW, which is why I'm driving what I'm driving. I like the M5s and 5-series wagons.

Stan
 

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2013 Kia Rio Automatic
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1,614 Posts
If you decide to get a Forester, get an XT. The only regret I ever had about
my Forester was that I got the NA version.

Fun to drive? As is, yes.

For $500 +/- you can make it exceedingly fun to drive with some minor suspension work.
Add new tires for $600-700 and you are set. Compare the price of an XT plus the suspension
work/tires to a new BMW and the choice may be easier!

Have you owned AWD/4WD vehicles before? There is an adjustment period in how the vehicle handles....

Good luck with your decision. If you go Forester...you gotta post pics!
 

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2006 FAXT 5mt
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525 Posts
check this out the forester xt is listed as the world's fastest suv. these cars are designed by mechnics and engineers that have no concept of luxerey. so if u need a car that can park it self, or tell ur to close to some cars bumper. buy a european car thats designed for people who don't kno how to drive a car. now if you drive in a manner that requires two hands to drive and that doesn't mean one to hold your coffee. then you should buy a subaru. im mean these guys didn't put cup holders in their cars till 1996.
 

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2010 Forester Sport-Tech
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169 Posts
HG = head gaskets

non-turbo 2.5L blocks are open deck design and seem to see corrosion of the head gaskets much sooner than people would like.

of course, there are plenty of people who never need a head gasket change, but the reported cases are rising.

other than that, wheel bearings could be an issue (again, some never, some frequent) and maybe the axles and rear differential if you like driving spirited. all else seems ok.
Anyone know of HG problems on MY09 / MY10 as well?
 

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2009 Forester X Premium
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3,091 Posts
I think my N/A's a blast to drive.. Sure its not going to win any drag races against turbos or 8 cylinder muscle cars, but it is surprisingly quick for a N/A 4cyl engine. Its in the turns where I really love mine it handles like its on rails and corners very well even stock, reminds me of driving my dad's 300zx the way it hugs the road. And if you put some money into suspension it's only going get better. You definitely dont need the turbo to have fun in the Forester that's for sure. :woohoo:
2009 Subaru Forester: Unsupervised Off-Road Mayhem
 

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Ah crap.. I'm back with my 05 XS
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8,294 Posts
Anyone know of HG problems on MY09 / MY10 as well?
There have been a few cases but they look isolated for now. Be sure to keep checking around the 60k-100k mark, as it has been reported that some 09+ have been using the xx632 gasket, and not the revised xx633.
 

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2015 Outback Limited
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1,513 Posts
Go XT, and 04-08. I've had mine for two years and love it. Does it have things that bother me? Sure, it seems like they painted it with a crayon, I think the wheel bearings are going on it and it is NOISY inside. But, it goes like stink in stock form, handles really well for a "suv", holds a lot of gear, has AWD surefootedness and has never broken down on me. I've had fun on the road and off with a simple change of tires. If you want a great all around vehicle, join us. ;)
 

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39 Posts
Ex-E46 owner here.

I have a SG Forester XT (2005 FXT) that is bone stock.

The Forester is not nearly as fun to drive as a BMW. I had a 2000 328i (E46 sedan) with coilovers (JIC/Cross) before I got the Forester XT. While the turbo is fun, I really miss the smoothness of the I6 in the BMW. Also, the gearing is a little short for the highway, it would do great with a 6-speed. The boxer rumble of the Forester is great, though.

The handling in the E46 was a million times better, so much more direct and communicative. The suspension on the Forester is so soft and floats around everywhere, it feels uncomfortable/unstable on the highway compared to the BMW. From my research, it seems that this has to do with the variable steering ratio rack in the Foresters. It really is unfair to compare a BMW and a Forester as they have completely different purposes, but I can't help missing the E46 when I drive the Forester.

In addition to suspension, the brakes on the Foresters are horrid compared to a BMW, they are so mushy and unresponsive. There is a huge dead pedal range and once you get into braking, its just a slew of mush. I can't even lock up ABS with my Forester (on stock pads/rotors, recently had brake fluid flush by dealership).

While upgrades can be made to make the Forester handle better (coilovers, sway bars, anti lift kit, STi steering rack, and a whole slew of other stuff) and brake better (STi master cyl/brake booster, H6 rear brake upgrade, SSBL, pads, rotors, or 4pot/2pot conversion, or STi brembos), it is just so much more work to make a Forester, which obviously isn't meant to handle / drive like a BMW, more sporty.

That said...I can't wait to get back into a BMW. I'm currently looking for a E36 M3, though with my ridiculous summer schedule, I doubt I'll have time to search for one and buy it until the summer of 2011. Until then, I'll drive the Forester. It's still a great car and has been reliable so far. I love being able to fit a million things in it, the boxer rumble, and hitting boost. It really is a great car for being a station wagon / small SUV, but I really really miss the feeling of a sports car and can't wait to be back in one.

PS. gas mileage on the XT sucks, I get around 21mpg highway when I'm going relatively fast, up to 25mpg if I'm driving conservatively. headlights also stink, the bihalogen (whatever they're called) have horrible light output, sometimes when I'm on the highway I can't even tell they're on.
 
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