The car is fantastic, at least half of the miles are from day long road trips for the sake of driving!
The power is enough to get out of it’s own way, handling is fantastic being 2500lbs, steering is well weighed and precise, pedal placement is spot on for heel-toe, averages about 27 mpg with mixed highway and city driving. It’s a car that makes you want to keep driving, the experience is quite rewarding even long highway stretches are pleasing. Since you asked, Yes the front and sideskirt vents are functional, as youd imagine they channel air into the wheelwell for brake cooling, that being said overheating brake pads can still happens. Would hate to have standard S brakes if the 4 pot larger rotor JCW’s are just enough.
The interior space with rear seats that fold flat is very usable, it easily fit a v8 engine block with plenty of room to spare. The layout of the roof coupled with the seat placement leads to a pillbox feel through the windshield you may hate it you may like it, forward visibility is excellent but you sit further away from the A pillar then most cars meaning to see close stoplights you must lean forward. This makes the space feel like a cockpit but isnt the most practical for city use. At the rear the roof that seems flat actually rakes down, the barn doors put a large post in the middle of the rear windows, the B and C pillars are very thick which leads to limited rear visablilty. The blind spot is large enough to park a full size pickup and checking over your shoulder is almost pointless due to the pillar dimensions and placement.
The turn signal is a poor design where it returns to it’s original position even when engaged which is finicky to use. The sport button changes throttle position to pedal ratio so if you learn clutch engagement with sport mode on you must relearn when its off, As a result every time you start the car the sport button must be pressed or you’ll probably stall it. Being held together with clips means the interior rattles like crazy, this becomes a non issue over time as your NVH standards get lower. Theres a dead spot in the oem tune similar to a 90's Civic where the car will hesitate at low throttle position and rpm
What has broken and or needed replacing? Bought its 98k now its 110k
The turbo needs to be replaced, took a while to track down the issue but the internal wastegate flap has too much play to hold a seal so the turbo cant make full boost. Buying another turbo is slightly complicated since the factory Jcw uses a turbo thats ever so slightly different from the S model
Michilan Pilot Sports with 75% tread lasted about 9000 miles, so they’ve been replaced with something more.....in my budget.
Brake pads wore out and got replaced with Brembos
Rear fender flare fell off for no apparent reason and got replaced.
Iinterior door handle surround is falling off because somehow its clips broke.(everything on this car is held on with clips)
A pillar exterior trim got brittle at the mount point and broke, drove 5 hours to a junkyard and replaced them.
Rear shocks are giving up, have yet to be replace because I’m cheap.
Even with the short overhang I’ve clobbered the front lip pretty good.
Timing chain is beginning to rattle when cold, it was replaced about 25,000 miles ago.
Intermittently stopped charging on a few occations, not sure if it’s the alternator or belt/tensioner.
Valve stem seals are leaking something fierce, it billows smoke in stop and go traffic conditions.
Turbo oil feed line started leaking, it got replaced along with the drain line.
Lca bushings are nearly gone.(replacement is not simple)
3 oil changes along with topping the car off every week since it eats alot of oil.
In an effort to solve the boost deviation limp mode issues these parts were thrown at the car: Stainless steel catless downpipe(also to preserve my stock downpipe for future smog), rubber charge pipe replaced with silicone, charge air muffler unit removed, intake sound into the interior device removed, stock Bov replaced, all PVC lines replaced, valve cover replaced.
It has yet to strand me but theres a very real threat, still with all the downsides and the inevitable engine rebuild coming up the car has earned its keep through the driving experience where all the little problems melt away and it does what it’s good at. On the other hand maybe I’m just a tad crazy.