so after a few weeks of wondering if the car had sunk following the japan tsunami, we found my brother's ep3r had in fact made it all the way to australia without a scratch. it went through customs, quarantine, compliance, and was delivered a couple of days ago.
filthy, unwashed, still with japanese newspaper stuffed all inside the car (protecting what, i'm not sure). anyway, took it for a quick spin before delivering it to the mechanics for the final roadworthy certificate prior to final registration. and this thing is surprisingly quick! compared to the GDB wrx I had a few years ago, this has much better low-end torque and (duh) no turbo lag, and i wouldn't be surprised if it's quicker 0-100 and on the track, feels like a better car stock-for-stock (sorry subaru fanbois - and I'm one!). Gearbox is incredible - super-short shift and throw, light and easily engaged, a pleasure to use - especially compared to the grunt it took to shift gears roughly in my old r33 GTR. Revs very quick and smooth, spins the tyres in first through third (though it's probably the crappy tyres fitted to the stock 17s). A super hot hatch, and i think my brother will have lots of fun with this!