Honda's engines are an engineering marvel (power figures on the S200 are pretty crazy for an NA 4-banger), but the fact is, you don't even start to get any pull until you hit 5,400 RPM, and then upwards of 7k. There is no low end torque, and it is not faster than GTI stock vs. stock.
I've owned two regular Acura Integras, both great cars. I find the driving position of the GTI better and for me, I get more road feel with the GTI.
I've never swapped ends while driving any of my VWs, though I did it several times on each of the Integras. May just be my driving style, or lack thereof