A lot changes after the quarter-mile mark. We started doing Standing Mile runs with the world’s newest, hottest cars to prove that point. Some are slow off the line but pick up steam quickly, some get out of the hole in a hurry but can’t keep truckin’ after the 60-mph mark, and some cook right from the start line and keep cooking until they cross the finish line, 5280 feet further down the runway.
An unlikely match-up that makes sense
Pitting a 2015 Subaru WRX STI
against a 2014 Porsche Cayman
in our Standing Mile might not make a lot of sense on the surface. Sure, both have boxer engines mated to six-speed manual transmissions, but the similarities sort of end there. The big, blue Subaru sedan with a giant rear wing has all-wheel drive, a turbo-four in the front of the car, and room for five. The low-slung Porsche sports car has rear-wheel drive, a flat-six engine in the middle of the car, and as many trunks as it has seats. But dig a bit beneath the surface, and you’ll discover that these two put down similar performance numbers, albeit in very different ways.
The snap-neck Subaru
With traction control totally turned off, we launched the 2015 Subaru WRX STI just south of its redline. Dumping the clutch in an all-wheel-drive car when its engine is screaming is a violent experience. All four tires slip, the whole car jolts forward, and you’re thrown into the back of the driver’s seat. That ferocity, though, also makes for vicious acceleration. We flew through first, second, third, and fourth gear in no time at all. Shifting into fifth, we looked at the STI’s rearview mirror and saw a small, white speck. It seemed like the Subaru would demolish the Porsche at the half-mile mark. In fifth gear, though, the STI’s forward charge slowed, and the speck in the rearview mirror got bigger.
The progressive Porsche
We did a hard launch in the Porsche, too, but the Cayman couldn’t get off the line like the Subaru. When it got going, it couldn’t match the turbocharged sedan’s brutal acceleration. Instead, it began to build speed gradually. The 2014 Porsche Cayman smoothly built speed until the gap between the Porsche and Subaru stopped growing around the half-mile mark. When the Subaru’s performance started to fall off, the Porsche continued to go faster and faster and faster.
Approaching the one-mile mark
The 2015 Subaru WRX STI saw top gear well before the one-mile mark. We shifted the 2014 Porsche Cayman in fourth gear halfway down the runway, and it stayed in fourth gear until just before the finish line when we had to upshift one last time. With every foot after the half-mile mark, the 2014 Porsche Cayman made up ground and gained on the 2015 Subaru WRX STI. As we approached the one-mile mark, we had no idea which car would win. Want to find out which one did? Watch the video below.