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Sports Cars - The Definitive Discussion

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  • The balance needs to be ounce scale precise and the center of gravity had better be located in hell for the Solstice to have a fighting chance against the Miata, much less the M3. Those machines are benchmarks in the downshift/find your line/hold it/hit the apex perfectly/get straight/upshift/get outta there technique.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    I think it looks awesome.

    It will weigh more than a Miata but costs less than it. The Solstice will costs and weigh less than both an Audi TT and a BMW Z4. Plus, a limited-slip differential is available.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Having run the track with miata's that take the full straight to get up past 100mph when I'm doing 120+ at the point where I brake down to 105 into the first turn at Reno-Fernley, and they go through the turn without braking doing over 105, probably closer to 110mph, is amazing for a say 120hp car vs. my 350hp. Of couse I had to go slower through the prior turn too so they didn't have so much to overcome going down the straight. They are impressive machines in track form. All that will probably not make much difference in the public's view but I just don't see GM getting it right, again. :lemon: I hope I'm wrong.
    Randy
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Speeds2much… yeah I find Solstice to be refreshing. It's different yet unpretentious. It also has a shock factor. I can't describe it as handsome but it has a funkiness that may enchant buyers. The lines have curvy motion but it is a character—the front reminds me of soap suds overflowing from a broken washing machine. It has a mischievous look but is a bit stubby and perhaps a little cartoon-like. However sports cars can get away with this and it may work in its favor.

    Let's not forget the interior. Very clean and straightforward. Also, it appears you can knock off a couple of cannoli and get away with it, a factor that could be a dealbreaker when comparing to Miata if only in the mind of the casual sports-car enthusiast. But as far as I am concerned it has to pay its dues. It would have to show me it could dance and be reliable before I choose it over Miata. In any event I would think sports car lovers have to root for it.

    "…and the center of gravity had better be located in hell…" Love it.

    The new Miata. I don't care for the fender flares—they're incongruous. Mazda has this arthritic-knuckle look going that is personified by RX-8, and that the rest of the industry is hitchhiking onto. The outgoing Miata had an elemental weather-worn look to it, like a stone that has been in water for centuries. Those fenders come out of nowhere. The new Miata says to me… "Well, we had a deadline and had to do SOMETHING to it, but weren't sure what that was."

    Now, this is old stuff but I would like your takes on the Cien concept. In my opinion this is the design they couldn't pull off with CTS and XLR, the design that is a near-perfect study in asymmetrical angular detail. It's GM's Lambo and the legitimate styling son of Stingray. Bold attempts at styling ususally fail IMO but this was an extaordinary design effort. Lament. It will never make it to production.

    image
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,072
    It has its merits...I like how it kicks up in back and I see what they are trying to do but this car would bomb in the mainstream market....it's about 20 years too late (please see the first Lamborghini Countach). Cadillac is sooooo yesterday, always one step behind.

    Still, it LOOKS like a serious car. I like cars that look BAD (meaning good) and ARE bad, meaning good. Worse thing is to design a car that looks like a sports car and handles and runs like a minivan.

    GRADE: B or B- Clean up the ghastly front end and headlights, otherwise pretty darn good....oh, get rid of the pimpy wheels, something more disk-like, dial-like thank you. Thin spokes hollow out the wheel wells, looks like a hole in there....style is about the body, not the wheels...you want to bring the eye to the car, not what it rolls on.

    my two cents.

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  • speeds2muchspeeds2much Posts: 164
    Thanks for your sophisticated take on the Solstice, designman, but then again that's why you're the designman. ;o) I suppose I'm outvoted here on the nose, but in high school I dated a girl with an awkward-looking nose but...never mind.

    As for the Miata, I test drove one two years ago and didn't quite get it, insofar as I just couldn't get comfortable in the darned thing. My legs were cramped and the hood seemed too high and stretched too far in front for my tastes. I know this is a classic sports car configuration, but I never had that feeling of extension-of-self that I had in a Porsche Boxster. Loved the look, though, especially the side view, where the subtle curves along the top were truly inspired, not to mention the tan leather offered, etc. One of the few Japanese cars that rose to automotive art. I like the new Miata, too, but more for the wider stance and interior design.

    Cien. I like the way the V-shaped lines coverge on the C-pillar, which then takes the eye right over the face of the beast, suggesting to me a beast ready to pounce. Agree with Shiftright on the front end and headlights, though, and it's really very 70s-80s. Seeme like a Delorean that mated with a 1/2 Lambo and 1/2 Lotus Esprit Turbo. Or something like that.... :P
  • The Cien was a truly remarkable break in design for Cadillac. The rear is my favorite. Clean design with an integrated rear diffuser and short overhangs make up for the busy front end (although most likely purpose-driven). Integrated tailfin LEDs with a large center stoplight are a very simple break from some of the more risque (euphemism for ugly?) efforts from the competition.

    The only thing I'd change are the wheels. I totally agree that the incumbent wheels hollow out the already flared fenders. A nice deep dish design would accentuate the fender flares and allow the open-spoke rim to better show off the wonderful brakes.

    Oh yeah. A bigger back window to better gaze at the magnificent 750bhp XV12 engine.
  • Did any body watch the American Le Mans race last Sunday?
    Corvette did pretty darn good, it won it's class. Panoz won, (although it struggled to beat Alex job's Porsche). :mad:
    The new corvette is pretty impressive, I drove one! a definite improvement.
    Now my question is, what was GM thinking when they made the cady xlr and the chevy truck ssr?
    The xlr is a sharp looking car, but it's way overpriced; and the
    SSR no comment (ugly truck).
    The cien concept car would've been a better option for production.
    Also, do you guys think that maybe it was a bad idea to take the Camaro off the production line, instead of just making simple improvements? (I heard a rumor of it's return later sometime)
    GM has serious financial troubles right now; and I guess that answers my question. :(
  • The camaro just wasn't making the numbers GM needed or wanted, so they axed it. I'm not sure if a comeback could upset the runaway success of the new Mustang. GM would really have to pour some dollars into the things the last Camaro fell down on.

    The styling would have to be top notch. Maybe a modern take on the sexy 67-68 shape.

    The interior would need to be up to today's standards in terms of NVH and panel fitment. While comfort wasn't really an issue in the last car, the interior quality fell behind big time. Maybe setting a luxury coupe as their target would be the thing to do. While the bean counters may keep certain improvements from happening, it would be pretty nice if they fell a little bit short of say a CLK320.

    With those changes and the same type of knockout engine/tranny options (at least a 5 speed auto this time around) and a well sorted ride/handling setup, a new Camaro is definitely a viable option.

    Coupled with a slick enough marketing campaign, GM could have a chance.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,072
    The Mustang/Camaro market niche is a tough place to be. You get a lot of young, first-time buyers so you have to keep price down, but the Japanese are breathing down your neck with 4 cylinder cars that are really starting to get up and go....so you counter with V-8 power to give yourself a marketing edge. All well and good, but the car has to stop and handle now with 300HP or you're selling a death trap. But then there's this price thing.....so where do you cut the corners?

    Sure, Mustang cuts corners to deliver at the price they do, but most buyers don't see (or care) where those corners are cut. With Camaros, it was painfully obvious where the corners were cut.

    Even Corvette cuts corners to deliver such a fab car at the price but Corvette owners know they are buying performance--they don't want a Lexus and are not expecting a Porsche config or design. I think Corvette buyers are a more experienced lot, and of course also a much smaller audience than Camaro or Mustang.

    I think the new Mustang is a great deal for the money. Okay, let's say the interior gets ratty and bolts and nuts start to unravel in 5 years....still, you only paid $25K, not $50K. And you're in a sub 6 second car!

    But with Camaro, the unraveling seems to have started before the warranty ended, and it PO'd a lot of people.

    Last comment: There HAS to be a reason why a car is expensive, and buyers need to see that, and there has to be a compromise when a car is inexpensive, and buyers must NOT see that, at least not right away.

    Mustang and Corvette have learned this, and Camaro and Cadillac I don't think have (yet). Koreans learned it the hard way, Japanese learned it 20 years ago.

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  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    I'm not sure why Chevrolet went ahead with the SSR, but at least is has a better engine (6.0 liter 390 hp LS2 along with an Eaton limited-slip diff w/ 6 speed) for 2005.

    The Cadillac XLR is expensive, but it makes far more sense than the SSR.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Now, this is old stuff but I would like your takes on the Cien concept. In my opinion this is the design they couldn't pull off with CTS and XLR, the design that is a near-perfect study in asymmetrical angular detail. It's GM's Lambo and the legitimate styling son of Stingray. Bold attempts at styling ususally fail IMO but this was an extaordinary design effort."

    Exactly. To me this new styling direction is off in many ways for Cadillac. The XLR I think has failed to meet sales projections because of styling. I don't think people buying a 76K luxury GT want it to look like a jet fighter of some sort, they want elegant styling with a little edge like an SL or pure elegance like a Jaguar XK. The XLR while unique may be too much so for the segment.

    I too thought the world of the Cien concept. Would have made a great productionc car, but a Cadillac of that price and specification wouldn't have had a market outside of a few rich GM fanatics.

    As always its very interesting to read your take on styling of new cars. What is your take on the new Mustang.

    For me I'm not that crazy about it. The tires always look too small and the rear overhang too long. However at Detroit this year they had more tuner Mustangs than you could believe. They're so hot when done over by these tunning companies. The Saleen example was a sheer masterpiece imo. Isn't that something. I don't like the Ford version but love the aftermarket types!

    M
  • speeds2muchspeeds2much Posts: 164
    "Also, do you guys think that maybe it was a bad idea to take the Camaro off the production line, instead of just making simple improvements? (I heard a rumor of it's return later sometime)
    GM has serious financial troubles right now; and I guess that answers my question."

    Personally, I think Chevrolet should have kept it around during the go-go 90s when sports cars were more popular, but what's worse is that they killed the car in order to "refocus" and focused on....what? More bland cars with subpar interiors. As for their financial troubles, since their debt's already trading near junk levels, I assume the market believes they're going they way of Chapter 11. Terrible for the U.S.A., but it's not as if GM didn't have numerous chances over the years to get it right. Even with over $30 billion in cash, burning $3 billion per quarter is not sustainable, especially if the economy dips again and that burn rate ratchets up. :sick:
  • Let's hope the new Kappas will help end the slump. Not so much the Solstice as there has been much debate over that vehicle, but the a Saturn Sky. This vehicle is a masterful execution of the platform's styling potential.

    GM also needs to decide on an overall styling direction for their individual divisions. Something that looks good. It's not hard to figure out that people enjoy car that drives well and exudes an air of quality. The only thing GM has been doing in a quality fashion is avoiding styling trends and decent driving dynamics. Let's hope the Kappa will come through for us,

    As stated before regarding the Solstice, I can't wait for the drive.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    New to this forum, but have some thoughts based upon recent car shopping / test drives.

    From November 2001 until May 2004 I owned a 2002 Honda S2000. At the time, I thought it was the best bang for the buck "pure sports car" one could buy in the US. No unnecessary do-dads like power lumbar messaging seats or 20 speaker digital surround sound stereo. Just a ultra-tight chassis, nice light 2,800 lb curb weight, 9,000 rpm redline screamer of an engine. I thought the performance - especially the handling - was as good as one could get south of $50k+.

    Now that my circumstances have changed, I've been casually shooping for a new "fun" car. The new (997) 911 S Cabriolet is high on my list. The Boxster S is a consideration, as is the new SLK 6-speed. I even remotely considered the 430 Spider, since - if you can believe this - the wait on a "real" 6-speed is considerably less than an F1. Unfortunately, the $75,000 price premium is a deal killer. I could see paying $200k list for a car that I could drive for 3-4 years and sell for $150k. But the extra premium effectively doubles or triples the real cost of the car. I am also a bit turned off that, according to the dealer, driving the car 8,000 miles a year for 3-4 years would "kill" the resale. He had never seen a 360 with more than 25,000 miles, most 3+ year old models have less than 15,000 miles. Some "fun" car, if it needs to be a garage queen in order to preserve resale.

    During this casual shopping, I have come to appreciate even more the $32k Honda S2000. While the 911 S is certainly an impressive car (only drove the coupe, not the cabriolet), you would have to be a better driver than me to use any slight handling advantage that the $90k+ 911 S has over the Honda.
  • I've been shopping for an S2000 to play with for a while. I just got done working on one for a customer of mine and the test drive was phenomenal. I'm going to go for a 2002 model with the glass rear window and the 2000cc DOHC four (love the response of that engine).

    I believe if you have the patience and wherewithal to do the upgrades, go for a lightweight valvetrain, pulleys and flywheel. Your throttle response will be that much faster.

    A 17-inch wheel/tyre package and Ohlins aluminium HOV5A00 front and HOV6A00 rear shocks are probably the best I've seen on the car. Coupled with a nice progressive rate spring package, this setup takes away a lot the choppiness of the default setup for road use. On the street, this handily eliminates a lot of the handling advantages the 997 has. I suggest Tein as the company of choice for a good track spring.

    Because of the inherent quality found in anything with a Honda badge, it would be nothing for me to buy a 50-60k mile vehicle. Even after a while, a 80k mile or more example will be a value, because engine build ups are relatively easy when compared to exotic German or Italian iron.

    The S2000 is an awesome car regardless of the money. I've seen sub-5 second cars through nothing but bolt-ons. Coupled with the numerous suspension setups available in the aftermarket, the Honda is an incredible value.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,072
    check out the album labelled "S2000"

    http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/nigelshiftright/my_photos

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  • Always impressive to find a well done example. Although they may not have the cachet of the others, they're just as much sports cars. Furthermore, you don't feel guilty taking it around the coast or across the state.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    Watch out for RMS (rear main seal) leaks of the new 997. Porsche refuses to fix the RMS leaks which first came out with the 1997 Boxster.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,072
    Would you please not spam the boards with this same message in the future? Your point has been made numerous times and some users find it annoying. Thanks!

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  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    habitat1 considered the Porsche 911 Carrera S cabriolet on this sports cars thread.

    I was simply letting him know to watch out for those leaks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,072
    I appreciate that, but you've posted this many many times in many forums, so please let's drop it and go on to other subjects. This is beating a dead horse and is off topic here anyway, okay? Okay!

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  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    okay.

    so anyways.

    new topic.

    Are sports cars that are raced better than sports cars that aren't raced?
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    I'm not racing! The fact that I came in third in a time trial does not mean that I passed anyone or that anyone passed me. If they do a good job of qualifying the faster cars go away and the slower cars do the same in the rear view. I think there were almost a dozen in the last time trial I did and 6 were in my class for power to weight and grip, two left me in the dust, well the first place guy did, and the other three didn't seem to keep up too well. Let's you focus on staying smooth and staying on line.
    Racing is a whole different game, from taking some racing classes, and I for one am not ready to mix it up wheel to wheel. Yesterday at Dega showed me why graphically. I don't think racing has much to do with the definition, but ability to race or at least drive on a track, does bring out some of the better qualities or lack thereof. Love passing Boxsters, even if they are underpowered!
  • This brings us back to that definition of sports car. I, being an avid BMW enthusiast and driver, would support the claim that racing does nothing more than improve the breed. In the case of BMW, it improves every product in the company's lineup.

    Of course I'll meet a counterpoint in our esteemed host, the honorable Mr. Shifty who has previously stated that sedan based coupes aren't proper sports cars. If this were entirely true, then that would leave the M3 and the rest of BMW's small car lineup for nearly the past 40 or so years (read 1800ti and 2002 models) in a bit of a void in the automotive universe.

    But I'm not going to dwell on that. I definitely know that racing is where a sports car that wants to call itself a sports ca earns it's stripes. It makes me feel better about aggressive driving in a car whose manufacturer has been improving the breed for the better part of the last half century. 'Nuff said.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    BMW didn't start making their sporty new cars until the 1960s, not the 1950s.
  • Not sure where I eluded to the 50's in that last post. My apologies for the erroneous information.

    "...and the rest of BMW's small car lineup for nearly the past 40 or so years"

    Placing the era in the 60's, or so I thought.

    "...for the better part of the last half century"
    In reference to the previous statement.

    Sorry about that everyone.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "Love passing Boxsters, even if they are underpowered!"

    You've explained your preference for power but I sniff something else roiling around here. Would like to hear what's so special about passing a Boxster.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,072
    Well if he means a bulldog can beat up a canary, well sure. Look at the comparative displacments. At almost TWICE the horsepower, shame on him if he doesn't pass a Boxster.

    But a Corvette is still a bit of a brute next to a Boxster. You have to balance all the factors. If it was just "who passes who" we would declare the Viper the best sports car ever built in the world and we'd be very wrong. Even with 125 fewer horses the Boxster S will keep up with a Corvette at terminal speed (over 160 mph).

    If he means a Corvette is the best PERFORMANCE bang for the buck (best stats) in the sports car market, he's probably right. For the mid $50K bracket, it's hard to beat.

    Still speaking for myself, I like a sports car of a certain size, agility, build quality and styling, so I wouldn't be shopping a Corvette, as it doesn't have most of those things, at least not in the flavor I like. I mean, a Subaru STi can beat up my Porsche 928, and do I now lust after Subarus? Not at all. It's fast, rides like a truck, torque steers and is styled for 25 year olds. Not my style but just perfect for others. Drive what you like and be happy.

    RE: M3s --- are sports sedans, not sports cars. They have trunks and back seats and cupholders and power seats-- I mean REALLY!

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  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    what do you think of the new Corvette Z06?
This discussion has been closed.