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2004 Subaru WRX STi

Mitsubishi has the dubious achievement of finishing first. When company officials announced the impending importation of the Evolution sports sedan, they had assumed that Subaru would soon be debuting its own—less powerful—STi version of the WRX. Subaru instead waited a week until the Detroit show, and shocked the assembled press into an energetic round of applause by showcasing its trump card. And it's an ace. Said Subaru vice president Fred Adcock, "all good things come to those who wait." The STi has a long list of good things, including a turbocharged, 300-horsepower 2.5-liter engine; a center differential; six-speed manual tranny; Brembo brakes; and an expected price tag under $35,000. The STi goes on sale June 1, a mere four months after the Evolution's official on-sale date. Assuming, that is, that impatient enthusiasts can wait 120 days for a fun-per-dollar exchange rate that's higher than the current Japanese yen. But we all know how to spell "assume."