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Sports Cars - The Definitive Discussion



  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Well after a few rides in a Cayman S I'll nominate it for visits to the back specialist as well. I didn't get all the specs but from the stop watch on top of the dash it has the sport chrono option, so a guess would be that it was fully optioned. If it had the well reviewed, by Edmunds, stability control system, that didn't keep the driver on track, which is something my Corvette hasn't done in three years tracking. The kid & I were lucky as he ended up a couple feet from a tire wall, my side, after I had told him to brake harder for a double apex turn for two full sessions and he still over cooked the entry, big time. The passenger seat was one of the most uncomfortable I've been in since the day before when I had several sessions in a early 90's Corvette. Seats that were noted by Edmunds as perfect, seem to not fit everyone.
  • My orthopedic surgeon, also an accomplished amateur racer, is picking up a new Ferrari 430 in about 4-6 weeks. But that didn't stop him from test driving a patient's Cayman S two weeks ago and then putting an order in on the spot. Now he really wants to sell me his 2001 Ferrari 360. :)

    I have not driven one yet, as they are all coming in pre-sold, but from sitting in one at my dealership, I don't believe the seats are any different than the ones in the 911 or Boxster. I'm 6', 185 and I fit fine. The "adaptive sport seats" can be tight for those with a little extra in the midsection.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Well after a few rides in a Cayman S I'll nominate it for visits to the back specialist as well.

    Randy, is there anything you won’t say when slamming Porsche? Nice try but you’re groping.

    I don't believe the seats are any different than the ones in the 911 or Boxster. I'm 6', 185 and I fit fine.

    Spirit, we must be identical twins. You’re right, the seats are the same. The Porsche seats are the most back-friendly I have ever driven. I could drive cross country in them. To my chagrin I can’t say the same about the seats in my 530, but Porsche seats rarely garner criticism. The only way I see them being a problem is if someone has had one slice too many.

    Cayman is coming up aces. But I’m curious to see how it makes it through the summer with testimonials on cabin heat. The Boxster trunk gets mighty toasty… now it’s up close and personal with the driver. This could become very apparent especially when combined with the greenhouse.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Sorry you feel I'm picking on Porsche, many good things about them on track even if I feel they are over priced for performance. As to the seat, maybe I don't know how to adjust it, got it tilted but I got no lumbar support and felt the seat was 'slab backed' at least from my POV. I did a couple 25 minute sessions in the car and it did handle well, just wish the driver was a quicker study. As to the slice too many comments, I'm a leading edge baby boomer, very leading edge, which doesn't make me too spry but I've maintained 6'3" and 195# for about the last 15 years which seems to be good enough to play in 3 recreational volleyball leagues each week. I'm no longer an upper B level player but good enough that we win the leagues once in awhile, still, got the T-Shirts.
    Enjoy Porsche, I'll still keep noting what I find as I get rides in anything new. BTW I felt good about the head room with helmet on so it has a few positives to go with the handling. ;)
  • perunestperunest Posts: 42
    I read the other reply to your question and my opinion is different from that of the Honda S2000 owner. I've owned two Miatas. One was an original 1990 (1600cc engine)and the other was a 2001 (1800cc engine) special edition. I autocrossed both these cars. The Miata is an awesome handing car, with 11 straight national championships in autocross. You will find little evidence of cowl shake, which is present in all cars to some extent. While the zero to 60 times doesn't make it a drag racer, you will find the acceleration satisfying. The S2000 is also a great car that has been successful at the national level in autocross.
    Here's the subjective part. When I was shopping for a roadster in 2002 I test drove several S2000s. In order to get the extra power over the Miata, I had to keep the revs very high, which was not an acceptable solution (for me). If you don't drive the S2000 with the engine buzzing at 6000 plus rpm, you won't feel any real power. You won't want to pass over the Bay Bridge that way with your wife. Additionally, The car was less than comfortable and my wife, who usually accepts whatever car I want, was very unhappy with the seating position. She asked that we not buy it. A week later we test drove a BMW Z3 3.0i and it had much more low end torque that the S2000. My wife, uncharacteristically, asked me to buy the Z3.
    I still think the S2000 is a very good car. Both it and the Miata have excellent reliability ratings. I drove both my Miatas very hard and had no problems. Drive a couple of these cars and buy what appeals to you personally. You can't go wrong either way. If you want to experience real cowl shake in a convertible, try the Toyota Solara - that's cowl shake you can really feel.
    I'm shopping for another car now and the Porsche 911 is at the top of my list. Good luck!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For it to handle like a Solistice you would have to add six 150 lb passengers to it somehow. :D

    FWIW, rattles are not common on Miatas, CR's car issue just came out and it said that 95% of owners of '04 Miatas had no complaints whatsoever.

  • cluedweaselcluedweasel Posts: 150
    Front, middle or back? My preference is for mid-engined. The balance just feels better. I'd like to know what other folks think.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,565
    It doesn't matter as long as the car's weight balance is either neutral (50F/50R) or balanced towards the rear so you can steer with the throttle. ;)

    Since all modern race cars have their motors amidships you could say that the mid-engined location is ideal for sports cars but that ignores practical considerations as well as the fact that street driving is not the same as
    race driving.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Well said, and as noted somewhere up above in this thread, mid-engined has not been something that lends itself to mass production, it seems. Therefore, most experience in the real world is with front or rear engine options. We all seem to agree that the rear engine works very well if you have lots of experience, while the front engine can be balanced to 50/50 and is more bulletproof for the inexperienced driver. No matter your choice, most seem to agree, more power is better!

    BTW, Friday at Thunderhill with at least 5 Vettes, one a C6 Z06. Very much a test of sports cars having fun!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    All other things being equal, I'd say Mid, but all other things are never equal.

    Example: the Miata has a front engine, while the Toyota MR-S is mid. In autocross, where handling is key, the Miata has basically owned the MR-S.

    The Toyota also cost more and was a lot less practical, which is why it failed in the market place and was discontinued.

    However, my buddy's Boxster kicks asphalt. :shades:

  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Well for those that believe that Ferrari has the solution the front seems to be back, "In".
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,565
    Well for those that believe that Ferrari has the solution the front seems to be back, "In".

    While Ferrari's newest model has the motor up front (599GTB) the fastest and best handling Ferrari's wear the motors behind the driver(Enzo/FXX/F430).

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • As far as engine placement in a race car is concerned, rear-mid engine placement is a no brainer. If it's a car that is going to be used for pure driving pleasure and race car-like dynamics, the rear-mid engine is the way to go, a la Lotus Exige, Ferrari F430, Porsche Cayman, etc.

    However, with the exception of Porsche's offerings, a lot of the sports cars out there aren't practical as daily drivers because of their racy orientation.

    To that end, I say rear engined is the way to go. As long as you don't mind walking to the front to store things, every Porsche I've gotten behind the wheel of (with the exception of the standard C2 996) has been a joy on the road. The steering is spot on because the front wheels are completely dedicated to steering the car and nothing else.

    That leaves the rear end to carry the weight of the engine over the drive wheels. This lends the car dynamic weight distribution under acceleration and braking that other manufacturers can only dream about.

    Because the physics of the vehicle perform so well in their own right, the car doesn't need as much horsepower to accelerate at the same pace as it's competition. Under braking everything goes to nearly 50:50, which is why there isn't as big a difference in the front and rear brake specifications in comparison to other cars.

    Porsches have always been engineered to be very light weight sports cars, so they make due with medium displacement, highly tuned six cylinder engines with very good fuel economy considering the velocities the car is capable of.

    I'm a big fan of the 993 (I just crashed my Turbo in Germany), however I'm aware of the cornering limitations if the rear chassis can't be tamed. This makes me a huge fan of the new 997.

    Not that I don't have a blast in other cars, but the 997 is too brilliant to ignore.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    But then why didn't Porsche use that layout for the Carerra GT?

    You want the weight in the middle, not behind the rear axle, so that you can change directions quickly and not have the tail wag the dog in extreme circumstances, racing being a good example of that.

  • The reason is because Porsche never planned for the Carrera GT to be a mid-engined sports car. That was supposed to be a Le Mans racer, hence the ideal layout.

    For a modern sports car though, it's gotta be a little user friendly to make it in today's competitive market. Besides, with the advent of stability control systems, a rear engine layout isn't as hard to drive as it used to be.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,565
    I assume you guys are referring to the Cayman S which is mid-engined and not to the "Carrera GT" which like all 911 variants has the motor behind the rear axle.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Perhaps you are thinking of the GT3 or GT2. The Carrera GT is indeed mid-engine.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,565
    Doh! :cry: :blush:

    You are right, my bad the Carrera GT is indeed mid-engined and as the man said, based on the LMP-1 prototype.

    It's Porsche's fault for having so many similar names. :mad:

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    It's Porsche's fault for having so many similar names.

    I agree. It took me 6 months of being a pain in the [non-permissible content removed] before GEICO sent me an insurance renewal adjustment that finally correctly reflected my car. For the first 6 months, they claimed the VIN on my 2005 911S Cab was showing up in their system as a "Carrera S/GT". A non-S 911 was simply "911 Carrera". For the first 6 months of ownership I was paying over 2 times what a 911 non-S model would have run ($1,240 vs. $610). And the same as what Jay Leno pays for his Carrera GT. :(

    After my last heated conversation, I got a renewal notice that puts the 6-month premium of my 2005 911S at $16 less than my 2004 Acura TL 6 speed and well less than my former S2000. I think I'll keep my mouth shut on that one.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    It will be interesting to see if that CGT case will set any precedent and who will be faulted if anyone. It is also curious that Porsche had planned to produce 1500 CGTs but halted production in May after making only 1271 with less-than-desirable demand being cited as a reason.

    The driver of that CGT was an avid and popular poster at a Porsche-enthusiast website. It will also be interesting to see if and how his activity there will figure into the lawsuit, whether it will be used by defense or plaintiff in the case. In any event, the case will be closely watched.

    When is it beyond an average driver? Good question. I’d like to know who is qualified to take a Veyron up to 250. Should Piech be worried?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Check out Straighline Blogs, I think both events were covered.

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Off topic, but having seen pictures of both cars, it looked to me like the damage to the Porsche was not nearly as severe as to the Enzo, yet two killed in the GT and a bloody nose in the Enzo. Anybody else get that impression?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    At those extreme forces, a lot of it has to do with dumb luck. The Enzo broke in half but it looks like it was hit behind the passenger cabin, which was relatively intact.

  • Hooray for BMW! Making a sports car for people who love sports cars. I can't wait to get my hands on an M Coupe and a Cayman back to back.

    Finally more German car companies are joining in the fun of manufacturing quasi purpose-built vehicles. Of course, there will always be amenities to be had in the interest of staying competitive. However it's great to see lighter weight, four and six cylinder sports cars.
  • This is a weird one. I can think of a handful of cars for less money that would have given this idiot less trouble and more fun than a CLK-GTR.

    As an engineer and automotive technical advisor, I've always suggested against importing these homoligation specials for a few reasons. The biggest reason is that you're buying a RACE CAR, not a road car. Race cars only need to be as reliable as the race season is long.

    If it's a factory effort (which it was), then every system of that vehicle has the shelf life of a room temperature carton of milk. The reason for this is because if a problem occurs within the vehicle during the race, there is a team of super smart engineers to fix it as soon as it goes wrong. That car will remain a carbon-fibre/kevlar paperweight until someone realizes that all the diagnostic equipment is locked away with AMGs discontinued race effort.

    Sour Benzo: Car Dealer Demands $2 Million for Defective Supercar
  • Hold your "hoorays" until actually drive the car.

    BMW's previous attempts at true sports cars have been very weak, IMO. The former M coupe was a loser out of the box. The Z3/Z4 have an extra 500 lbs and have a fraction of the visceral feel of a $30k Honda S2000, let alone a Cayman or Boxster.

    I say this as a pretty seious BMW loyalist. I currently drive a 2003 M5 and was one of under 500 original owners of a 1979 M1. Unfortunately, I do not think BMW has made anything since that could be considered an advancement in terms of true "sportscariness". I gave the Z8 some consideration, but a single test drive - at BMW's own track, no less - convinced me that it was a $120k+ wannabe compared to similar priced offerings from Ferrari and Porsche.

    I will defend to near death BMW's superiority in sports sedans. The M3 and M5 reign as kings in their respective fields. And no 1,000 hp overweight AMG or Audi offering is going to change that. But I think for a real sports car, BMW needs to abandon engine sharing and do what Honda did - hand a bunch of engineers a completely clean slate.

    P.S. On your CLK-GTR comments, I fully agree. Why anyone would buy one of those over a proven, superior $450k Carerra GT or even a $200k production Ferrari 430 is beyond me. Just because they only produced 5 doesn't automatically make it a good car.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    There's also the irony that McLaren-Mercedes would've been likely to win last year's F1 championship if Raikkonen's car had been reliable enough to finish its races.

    On the other hand, there are other homologated cars that haven't been lemons, like the STi and Evo (homologated from Group N rallying, not full-blown WRC).

    As for why anyone would buy a CLK-GTR, I don't think that's the sort of purchase you can apply logic to. It's not like they're daily drivers. Lots of people are Mercedes fans and lots of rich people have had their cars for a long time. They find themselves in a position to buy a supercar... why not buy the pinnacle of their brand? The SLR wasn't out yet and even after it was, the CLK-GTR was more expensive, exclusive, and hardcore.

    Speaking of the STi and Evo, I'm thinking that the only reason I don't call them sports cars is because they don't look like sports cars. So I wonder if a Mitsubishi 3000GT would be called a sports car just on looks (it was FWD with optional AWD). Any 6-year old would call it a sports car, and we're not far removed from them. Or not me, anyway...
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,017
    A national newspaper is looking to interview Porsche owners who would like to talk about their satisfaction with the brand. Please send an e-mail to no later than Tuesday June 20, 2006 by 2:00 PM PST/5:00 EST containing your daytime contact information with the make and model Porsche you own.

    Chintan Talati
    Corporate Communications


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • Spirit, I'll have to agree with you on the fact that BMW has been handed its fair share of leftovers when it comes to building sports cars. However, this batch of leftovers still make for an appealing entree as all of the core components are present for the makings of a really good little sports car.

    I too would love to see BMW finally throw down and do an awesome sports/super car from scratch (with a spiritual descendant of the Gen III M70B60-read McLaren F1). However we can only wait with crossed fingers as we look forward to the management spending more time with the drivetrain/chassis engineers, instead of the design team.

    Carlisimo, the STI and Evo aren't homoligation specials in the same sense as the CLK-GTR. The Benz was designed for racing and softened for the street. The turbo twins followed the opposite route being designed for the street, and hardened for racing duty.

    Also, I'd say that the 3000GT fits the bill of sports car by design intention only. The design may not have been very good, but the intention was there. Fortunately those inherent problems can be remedied, or at least better ignored, thanks to the aftermarket. Enjoy.
This discussion has been closed.