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Sports Cars - The Definitive Discussion



  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    It's all well and good to talk about what these rides can do but if you never get a chance to do it, it's all just talk. Exciting is getting out and participating, making that turn, launching onto the that straight from a perfect track out at the edge. So if you can never afford to experience a given ride, is it really worth considering? The Corvette isn't cheap but it is affordable to about 34k people a year, many of whom are seeding the future by turning over what they used to drive before getting the new one. At least if you go to the track in a Miata and get proficient you are likely to talk to the Ferrari driver and might even get a ride. Now I just have to see if I can get a ride next week at Thunderhill if there is a Ferrari around, there was one at Reno-Fernley.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    From a Web item:

    Pontiac will build hardtop Solstice
    General Motors will offer a removable hardtop on the Pontiac Solstice roadster in the
    first quarter of 2007, supplier and GM sources say. The variant is part of GM's
    attempt to race the Solstice in Sports Car Club of America events. To race there, an
    automaker must have a production version of a hardtop vehicle.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    Well you've kind of hit the nail on the head here.

    If a person hasn't had a ride in a Ferrari at race track speeds, they really can't talk about the car. It's like talking about China from reading postcards. The "real" experience is eye-opening to say the least.

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  • I have ridden in a Ferrari (My surgeon's 360) at a track (Summit Point) and it was quite an experience. However, of all of the other cars I've driven including 911S, 911TT, Boxster S, M3, M5, M1 (that's correct, a 1972), Ferrari 328, Lotus Espirit, Various Mercedes AMG models, Acura NSX, and Honda S2000, it is the last one - the S2000, that in some way had more in common with the Ferrari(s) than the others. I find it difficult that you would find the Boxster S to be more "visceral" than the S2000, given the high revving nature of the S2000 and Ferrari and relatively low redline and civilized nature of the Boxster S. I believe the S2000 lacks credibility in part because it is so inexpensive. If Honda/Acura came up with a 300 hp 2.7 liter version with a few more goodies and sold it for $50k, it would probably be more accepted by those (perhaps you) that can't believe anything priced at $32k could be so good.

    I do agree that the Boxster S is an excellent car, don't get me wrong. But it is damn near as comfortable as the M5 I am on the list for. Perhaps our definition of visceral differs, but there sure is a lot of comfort that goes into a Boxster S that is nowhere to be found on an S2000 or Lotus Elise.

    Oh, and for the Ferrari bashers, Ferrari was just named in the Robb Report as the best automotive investment for the past 50 years. No other vehicles - Classic Corvettes, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Maserattis, Shelbys, Aston Martens, Rolls Royces, Bentleys, etc. have come close to retaining their value and appreciating as much as Ferraris. You can't fool that many millionaires and billionares for that many decades by building "junk".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    I guess we are just gathering sensual data differently. I find no similarity between a Ferrari and an S2000 whatsoever--not a shred of similarity---apples and watermelons. An S2000 is a really reallynice little car but it's a much closer relative to a Miata than anything else. It's really very ordinary which makes it somewhat remarkable. It's like the NSX...a mini-supercar you can drive with one finger. But a little clickety typewriter engine up front is just not the same to me as a howling V-12 or a screaming turbo flat six right there in my face (or behind my head as the case may be). Not that I don't like little high revving engines...I very much do, -- but they don't make for the feel and sound of a Ferrari-----more like a modern MGB or Alfa.

    I'd get tired of an S2000 real fast, I'm sorry to say. But then, I do bore easily so maybe it's my problem and not the S2000's. :)

    I didn't mean to say the Boxster S was really "visceral" in the same way as Ferrari either.

    The Ferrari is a total wild man's car, it is without compromise and the Boxster and S2000 are loaded with compromise.

    BESIDES ALL THAT----- 4 cylinders? Eh...........
    Did you see the pix I posted of the SC S2000 that someone built near me? It's putting out over 300 HP and I have to say with the screaming blower on it and the smoking rear tires, I'm liking that one more.

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  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "...and I have to say with the screaming blower on it and the smoking rear tires, I'm liking that one more. "

    AHA!!!! I knew it, you are a sucker for torque, aren't you? Hey, the new Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500 etc. etc. etc. should be right up your alley then..... :P ;)
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    It's probably against Town Hall rules, but I'll give you even odds on any amount of money up to $100k (enough to buy you two Corvettes, if you win), that the factory Corvette will not beat the Ferrari 430 in a one mile straight run. If you are so sure the result will be the same as 2001, seems like you should take my offer.

    Before you do, however, you might want to consider just how much more powerful the 430 is than the outgoing 360. According to Edmunds, the Corvette and 430 are within 20 lbs of each other in weight. The 430's 4.3 liter engine puts out 490 horsepower, 90 more than the Corvette's 6 liter. The Corvette does have 57 more foot lbs of torque, but, given the Ferrari's 8,500 rpm redline, it has a lot more room to wind out, before shifts. The lower torque is also easier to control off the line. I'm sure you are aware that the average Formula 1 car has less torque than the 430.

    Edmund's lists the current Corvette's 0-60 time at 5.2 seconds. If that's correct, that's about 0.4 seconds behind a $50k M3 and a 4,000 lb M5. And light years behind the couple of early 430 tests I've read that were in the 3.8 second range. Even the Porsche 911 S which I am considering, at only 355 horsepower, beat the Corvette in a recent head to head acceleration test by one of the car magazines. The gobs of torque advantage that the Corvette had could not be put to the ground with nearly the efficiency and effectiveness of the rear engine 911. When it came to handling the twists and turns, the Corvette was even further behind the 911.

    The Ferrari 360 was, IMO, a great car. But the 430 is leaps and bounds above it in power. My friend with a 360 has test driven a 430 and admitted the difference is astounding. If any $190k car can be considered a a good deal, the mere 10-15% more that the 430 costs than the former 360 is indeed a relative bargain.

    So, take my bet if you remian confident. But be assured, I wouldn't be wagering the price of a 911S if I wasn't equally confident and had done some research to back it up. I would also accept a friendly wager of a couple of beers, if that is more appropriate to the spirit of Town Hall rules.

    P.S. On a sad note, I don't think any of the top 100 executives at GM care about our debate. They are desperately trying to keep the company afloat. As Jim Cramer of CNBC's "Mad Money" said, if Kirk Kerkorian hadn't stepped in, the next call from GM would have been Dr. Kevorkian. From my business associates who know Ferrari, they claim that everyone there is passionate about one thing - building the best race cars and sports cars in the world. Their management doesn't have unfunded pension liabilities or skyrocketing employee health care costs occupying 90% of their workday. I feel somewhat sorry for the pickle GM finds itself in, but I predicted it nearly 30 years ago when I bought my first Datsun while my parents' hard earned money was being pissed away on excessive repairs and maintenance on GM products.

    The Corvette's base price is around $45,000 while the 911 S starts at around $80,000.

    The new Corvette Z06 will obviously cost less than a 911 S and it has DRY-SUMP LUBRICATION which every 997 lacks.

    Car & Driver has tested a new Corvette at 0-60 in 4.1 seconds. I've

    Fiat owns Ferrari and Fiat isn't doing too well right now. Fiat whined and complained until GM gave them $2,000,000,000.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    I always liked torquey motors---even the MGB was torquey for its displacement...not sure how they did that, but....what I don't like is the "light flywheel" type of motor, which is why I never drove Japanese motorcycles, as excellent and fast as they are. I felt more flexible with British and German and Italian bikes. Harleys had torque but didn't handle at all (I often checked if the Harley steering was actually welded to only go in a straight line, but noooooo that wasn't the problem).

    But I digress...yes, I am presently on a torque binge, but I draw the line around 5 liters...bigger 'n that and I find them too much work. Turbo motors also can be an issue for me, depending on how well the turbo is engineered. But a supercharger certainly changes the overall character of the S2000. They won't let me drive it however, which hurts my feelings as you can well imagine.

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  • There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that if Honda wanted to go head to head, spec to spec, number to number with Ferrari, it could and would. There's also no doubt in my mind that Honda would do it in a more user friendly package given their standing with the general consumer.

    Fortunately for said consumer, the F20 inline four delivered the highest specific output for a naturally aspirated production engine (forget about the lack of low-end, I'm on a roll here), in automotive history. Clickety typewriter engine? You've gotta be kidding me. I've driven most performance cars. That car was meant to be on a tight track judging by the gear ratios alone. I'll let that one go seeing be that this is a forum and everyone's entitled to their own opinion.

    Let's not forget that Honda has just as many resources at their disposal as Ferrari when it comes to racing. Flat crank engine? Yep. Titanium valves and valve springs? The S2K's already running with them. V8, V10, V12? No problem.

    However, because the company as a whole isn't as completely defined by racing as Ferrari is, the aforementioned contender hasn't surfaced (yet). But make no doubt that Honda is just as serious about it's racing programs as Ferrari is it's racing program. And provided I'm still in the "Definitive Discussion" racing definitely improves the breed.

    The S2000 is built by a company that knows racing. It's also built by a company that cares about it's consumers. Not that Ferrari doesn't, mind you. If they didn't then their cars would not have become so much more user friendly in the past 8 or so years. But to say that the Honda is loaded with compromise is a fallacy. If you'd stated that the NSX is loaded with compromise, I may have agreed with you. The S2000 takes the high output engine/small chassis concept in the right direction. If they wanted to incorporate more low end, it would have been in there, but there's a compromise that has be met. There was definitely more balance present than other attempts at the formula when the MkI debuted. The MkII is that much better despite having to bring the redline down to Ferrari levels.

    All apologies to you that Honda doesn't have the cachet that Ferrari or Porsche do.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    The fact that GM needs 7 liters of displacement to get 500 hp is not something I find impressive and certainly wouldn't brag about. Hand Ferrari 7 liters and they would be pushing 800 horsepower. Hand Honda's S2000 engineers 7 liters and they would be at 840 horsepower. Even the new BMW M5 I am eyeballing achieves 500 horsepower in less than 5 liters.

    The new LS7 is now rated at 505 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. The LS7 weighs less most other high-performance OHC engines. It has a low height. The Cadillac CTS-V uses an LS6 because Cadillac's 4.6 liter DOHC 320 hp V-8.

    The current BMW M3's I-6 has over 100 hp/liter but check this link

    BMW M3's engine
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Go to the Sears Point event for 4-3-05 and look at the class 7. Mostly
    S2000's with a C4 Corvette trying to keep up. Sidney is a very good driver
    but the S2000's on Race tires are really amazing for 240hp. Now they
    probably have a few more than that with modest bolt on's but not much.
    Consider that the Z06 is in class 6 and the times for S2000's show some
    of the drivers are getting out about what's available, it's a very nice package.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    I would never "knock" Honda. I've always had the highest respect for their products. All I'm saying is that an S2000 sounds, drives, feels and looks like a Honda, regardless of its performance numbers. Just like a Corvette feels like an American car. And why shouldn't it? After all, a company's products reflect its identity and "genetics". From the sound of the starter motor to the sound of the exhaust, an S2000 is a Honda true blue.

    And I'm sorry, but Honda could never build a Ferrari for regular production, but even if it did and I was totally wrong, it would cost as much as a Ferrari anyway. Why? Because of the type of components needed to go flat out at redline for 24 hours, the limited production necessary to maintain the "cache", and the enormous cost of customized lightweight castings for multi-cylinder engines and transmissions--to say nothing of paying a design team to make an outrageously good--looking supercar, which Honda has yet to do.

    Honda motorcycles are quite up to snuff with the Italian superbikes, but their cars aren't. An S2000 is a Miata with guts. That's why it costs as little as it does.

    Clever car and a great little sports car. I bow in homage to Honda's efforts with this car.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    here's the Edmunds road test on the 2004 S2200 (as I like to call it).

    I think I'd like this car more than the earlier ones, for the reasons stated in the article. But I'm afraid I still find the styling uninspiring. I'd love to put an S2200 driveline into an RX-7 twin turbo coupe, black on black...oh, momma.....

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  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Loved the understatement of:
    " ... and a new ABS system incorporating "yaw control logic." "

    Stability Control without telling you that it might save your bacon!

    If I can fit in it, I just might take one for a test drive after the initial interest wanes.
  • At the risk of sounding argumentative, I respect your right to personal preferences, but you I can't agree with your assessments. They make me think you've dreamed of Ferraris, but have never actually driven a modern one. May have never driven a Honda S2000 or Bosxter S or 911 TT for that matter.

    There are only two cars in the aforementioned group or, for that matter, sold in America, that are meant to be driven at between 7,000 and 8,500+ rpm - the Ferrari 360/430 and the (pre 2004 model) S2000. And, although the Ferrari is rear engine, both of those cars are among the most nimble handling and steering in their peer groups. Driven at 8,000+ rpm, the Honda sounds exactly what I would expect a 2.0 liter Ferrari engine to sound like, based upon my experience in 308's, 328's and a 360. IMO, the innovative chassis and in-wheel suspension system of the Honda is better than the more traditional Boxster design in terms of structural rigidity and lack of cowl shake.

    I should point out that I have never personally owned a Honda. Probably never will. I have no axe to grind or personal agenda. But when I see comments suggesting that the Honda S2000's closest cousin is a Mazda Miata, I can't help but call a spade a spade. That comment smacks of snobbery, or engineering ignorance, take your pick. Would be like me stating that a 911 or Boxster S is nothing more than a gussied up Toyota MR2, simply because they are all mid/rear engine layouts.

    Porsche makes some of the finest cars in the world. As does Ferrari. But the Honda S2000 is perhaps the best sports car ever to come out of Japan. If you are anti-Japanese, that's your perogative. But as much as I am a BMW owner and fan, I'd have to go back to the 1972 M1 to find something that could compete with the S2000 in innovation and engineering. Certainly the Z3, Z4 and even $130k Z8 don't.

    So the fact that I could comfortably pay cash for a 360 or 430 doesn't cause me to thumb my nose at a 9,000 rpm Honda S2000 that costs a mere $32,000. And I will take the Honda 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine over the Lotus Elise's Toyota Celica borrowed engine anyday. Sorry "Honda" doesn't sound sexy to you, but in Formula One, they need to make no apologies.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I'd love to put an S2200 driveline into an RX-7 twin turbo coupe....."

    Actually, I REALLY want one of these:

    S2000 drivetrain in a 1400 lb. Lotus 7. Now THAT'S a sportscar....... :shades:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    Sure I've driven an S2000. know, I'm tryin' hard here, but I just don't see any correlation to the Ferrari experience, sorry. Even if I squint. I don't see where you are coming from on this one. Where is the "connection" exactly between an S2000 and a Ferrari? Is there anything substantial there?

    Are you saying an S2000 looks more like a Ferrari than it does a Miata? Or has more room than a Miata? Or is radically different in drivetrain layout? I don't personally think it has much connection with the Ferrari "concept" at all but a helluva lot of connection to a Miata "type" of car. Really, Miatas and S2000s are modern re-iterations of the MG and Austin Healey. They are not re-iteration of powerful & exclusive European GT or race cars.

    It's a small fast Japanese sports car and the price is about right for what you get, maybe a $10,000 bargain. A Boxster is a small fast German sports car and is not a bargain.

    So-- a Mustang is heck of a bargain too, but it isn't a Ferrari either. If it revs to 5,500 is it then 80% of a Ferrari? And if a Boxster revs to 6,000, same thing. It's nothing like a Ferrari.

    In fact, no car is remotely like a Ferrari, which is why everybody wants one. It's really not too much more complicated than that (of course, you add mystique and heritage, blah blah, but really what people want is the total uniqueness of it).

    I'm just not getting the logic here. Hopping from an S2000 to a Ferrari is two completely different universes. It's not like anyone would "confuse" one for the other IMO. It's not like people "cross-shop" them or anything.

    People always accuse those exercising discrimination as "snobs" or "elitists" because I guess they want everything on a level field. But with cars it's not like that. That's what makes them so interesting. They are all so different.

    (We aren't arguing, we are having fun! :) )

    RORR -- ooooh, that's nice. Interesting they offer TWO engines, a Honda S2000 and.....a Miata!!

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  • I have purchased a new 2005 911 Carrera S and experienced a huge problem with the overall comfort of the seats. Although it has a comfortable lower portion, the upper portion hits me directly in the shoulder blades making for a very unpleasant ride. Does anyone know whether or not Porsche or an after market company is planning on offering an adjustment to this problem?
  • And I'm sorry, but Honda could never build a Ferrari for regular production...

    You're obviously unaware of the fact that, and I quote, "Honda has enjoyed record sales of cars and light trucks in each of the past six years—surpassing one million vehicles sold in every year since 1998."

    "Worldwide unit sales of motorcycles, automobiles and power products all increased and set new records for the fiscal first half. Consolidated operating income increased mainly due to increased revenues and cost reduction effects which offset the negative effect from depreciation of the U.S. dollar."

    In short, this means they have money. Lots of money. Regardless of your alleged "snobbery," Shifty, money talks. Honda has a lot of it. Last I checked, Ferrari was busy digging itself out of financial purgatory, albeit with a steady modicum of success. So regardless of who makes cars like this or like that, Honda's the bigger dog in the global market. It's unfair to assume that they can't do a Ferrari challenger. Cachet aside, it's obviously not the direction Honda's headed.

    Because of the type of components needed to go flat out at redline for 24 hours,

    I'll quickly let you know that if there were a Ferrari fighter in the Honda camp, the owners of the Hondas would be the ones hanging out at redline without fear of depreciation and resale. They'd be the ones speaking excitedly of their much repeated adventures in the hallowed blurry zone (above 130mph from what I can recall on the drive home, hehe). I've been up to the high 180's in a slightly modded NSX at the owners request.

    the limited production necessary to maintain the "cache",

    The numbers mean nothing. This is a case of value vs. cachet. No reason to start this fire again. Besides, cache isn't necessary when building a supercar. If it's a good enough value, it will sell. This is what keeps the Vette sales strong and also what killed the NSX.

    and the enormous cost of customized lightweight castings for multi-cylinder engines and transmissions--

    Did I hear the word cost? Are we forgetting who's got more dough?

    to say nothing of paying a design team to make an outrageously good--looking supercar, which Honda has yet to do.

    If form follows function as it did in the HSC concept a couple of years ago, good looking isn't that far of a stretch.

    It's not as if we're trying to run a head to head comparison between the S2K and an F430. That's not it at all. Try not to be so ignorant to the fact that Honda knows just as much about racing as the Europeans do. If sports cars are representatives of racing cars on the consumer level, as most members have painstakingly agreed, then it's a safe to say that they know just as much about sports cars as well.

    This fact is nothing new. In the sixties, there were exactly 2 car companies in the entire world that employed production engines with specific outputs north of 80bhp/liter, Honda and Ferrari. Honda even had an F1 victory in 1965. These facts may not have much to say about Honda's cachet, but it does show that Ferrari isn't the only player in the game with a history of building sports cars.

    Remember that Honda is consumer oriented. They have to appeal to a wide range of people, not just the select few as Ferrari does. I think it's amazing that despite their plebeian entries into the market, Honda is still mentioned in sports car conversations worldwide.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    I don't think you are reading what I am saying, UD.

    Car designers are, as Road and Track said "cultural architects", that is, they reflect their country's culture. Ferraris are very romantic cars, Hondas are simply not at all like that. The Japanese are pragmatic, and much enamored of gadgetry and modernity but also a very conformist culture and very homogeneous. The very chaos and individuality of Italy clashes mightily with the orderliness of Japan and Germany.

    Honda couldn't build a Ferrari with a hundred gazillion dollars, unless they hired Italians to build it for them and gave them carte blanche. it's not in their culture to build such a car. They would revolt at the sheer craziness of a Ferrari.

    They can duplicate the performance of a Ferrari, they can copy the style of a Ferrari but not the soul of it. I don't think so anyway.

    But why would they want to duplicate another country's cars? The suggestion is rather pointless. Hondas need to be Hondas. What could be more perfect?

    Ferraris are for people who don't want Hondas, that's the whole idea. And what possible benefit could it be to Honda to steal the Ferrari market?

    Liking Ferraris more than Hondas isn't "snobbery". It's discrimination in one's tastes. The more a person knows about something, the more he discriminates between one thing and another. That doesn't make him "right", that only means he recognizes a difference and is willing to pay for it. To presume the lover of a certain car has no educated levels of discrimination but is merely a slave to fashion or his own vanity or a tool of advertising is to suggest that all these enthusiasts with their passion for whatever car they choose have all made meaningless and erroneous choices.. You like crafted microbrews, I like wine, he likes ports, she likes cognacs. Why should I switch to sake -- because it costs less and gets me just as drunk? Not good reasons, just like buying stats on paper isn't a good reason to love a car.

    The love of a certain car is extremely complex and no amount of statistics will explain it any more than it does love among humans IMO.

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  • I'm not sure you're picking up what I'm putting down, Shiftmeister.

    If that's the kick you were on from the beginning, then you should've said so. First of all, I doubt Hondas will ever possess the soul of Ferrari at all. I've never questioned the almighty Ferrari mystique. Not in the slightest. I was merely stating that Honda possesses the resources to produce a Ferrari fighter, cachet aside (I hope I don't have to say it again).

    However, when the downplaying one of the greatest sports cars in the world occurs, it reeks of a blatant refusal to acknowledge the car for what it is. It seems as if this perspective is looking down from the top, sipping wine (hehe), laughing at the S2000 perspective.

    To put the effort of Honda and the S2000 on the same level of the Miata is a slanted view of the automotive landscape. True, the ethos behind the two is the same, but that only reinforces how correct the Japanese have on what true sports cars are.

    Don't take it the wrong way, as to say that the other sports car makers in the world have the definition wrong. They don't. It's just that the MX-5 and S2000 have a unity about them that really screams "sports car" more so than it speaks of their individual identities. When I drove the S2000 with the top down and the engine humming and screaming (depending on my preference) along the Florida coast, the thought came to mind that, "this is a great sports car." During the rental of a 360 in Miami--engine screaming or humming depending on how I felt--I thought, This is an awesome Ferrari."

    It's just what separates the two. The Honda staying true to all of the elements of a sports car while offering a user-friendly interface, the Ferrari further evolving the elements of it's own great sports cars with each generation, getting more user-friendly with each generation.

    I'm going to repeat, this isn't to say that anyone else has it wrong. I'm just speaking from the perspective of a person in the market for both cars, but holds value over cachet as priority (which is why I'm also in the market for a Ferrari). Shifty is merely the opposite and that's fine.

    It'd be nice if the host of "The Definitive Discussion" had a more holistic view of the automotive landscape. But the fact that this is a forum, and the host doesn't have that view, makes for awesome debate. Thanks, Shifty.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    I'm not the host here actually, just visiting.

    I'm not sure where we're going with this at all, so maybe others have something they'd like to say?

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  • Just a difference in 2 opinions. Nothing more. As long as I'm me, and you're you, this debate is perpetual. No need to stretch it out anymore.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Well they say the best way to speed is via RPM. However part of the RPM mystique is the noise that comes with it. Noise is macho. Lack of comfort is macho. You get a enough of both with the S2000. Cue… pound chest, yodel like Tarzan… think… my car is a Ferrari.

    In defense of the bargain darling… I think the S2000’s RPM takes you into the testosterone zone. When you are sticking it into the torque peak it is screamin-mimi fun, even if you have to parry with it as the Edmunds reviewer put it. And you nearly have to redline it because peak torque and redline are not too far apart. So the Ferrari… I mean the S2000… definitely has the machismo factor.

    I also disagree with any notion that S2000 styling is Japanese-derivative. In my opinion it’s one of the best-looking sports cars around and the newer 2.2 interior is drop-dead gorgeous. As far as cachet I could care less. The smallness of any sports car plus the inherent qualities are enough for me. Just don’t make it ugly like a Z4 and you have a friend here. Spinning an S2000’s engine with wind in hair goes a long way with any true sports car lover. Impressing the valets and snobs? They can kiss my cantaloupes. Now, go easy with this cachet business or I’ll spoof you again with Eustace Tilly. Sports cars are mostly about the elements and the roller coaster ride.

    What I want to know is, what is everyone going to do when electric motors come to the performance world? They have maximum torque at 1 RPM, maintain it throughout the rev range and can spin up to 12K. The problem? No noise. Not very macho.

  • speeds2muchspeeds2much Posts: 164
    Aha, designman pinpoints the Ferrari-S2000 connection via wailing RPMs. I wholeheartedly agree. (Of course for an extra 200 grand one gets a better sound).

    ...but what an interesting question regarding electric motors. I suppose it depends on how silent the motor and overall car is, and what sounds replace the sounds of the motor. Imagine the paradigm shift for the space age: instead of barnstorming, it's space flight. There's no sound in space, and no air resistance, making for incredible smooth power delivery and supersonic speeds. So what would an electric sports car deliver? Ungodly torque and acceleration along with maybe a little sound of the elements, wind and road, and the sound of the clock ticking inside like the old Bentley ads.....sign me up! :shades:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    ELECTRIC sports cars? Well, I guess, as long as it is somehow MECHANICAL or machine-like. I mean, even the F-16 pilot must like the noise and the stress on his body and the danger. At least those things can't be missing. But you don't need a piston engine particularly, although personally I'd miss it. Who wants a sports car that sounds like an elevator going up and down. 1925 cars are still fun, I hope 2025 cars are too.

    I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss cachet as irrelevant in the human psyche. The mere fact that owners of less expensive or less exclusive cars are so self-conscious about it speaks volumes about its enormous pressure in the marketplace. I sure lust for cars I can't have. Ditto fashion, electronics, you name it. It's like the man who spends all day telling us he doesn't care about money. He doth protest too much.

    Cachet is almost cave-man stuff. He with the biggest sword, the most glittering crown, the mightiest steed. Sure, it's a perfect object for ridicule, but there's tremendous power in it and some carmakers thrive on it and strive to own it for their products. Why after all, did Toyota become Lexus? Lexus has cache, Toyota doesn't, and you can't say Lexus is just a fluffy little nothing of people's vanity. There's a stark reality to cache. Also, rich car enthusiasts are not collectively stupid. A Ferrari is worth every penny you pay for it. What you DO with it is another story--that's not the car's fault. You can hitch a thoroughbred horse to a pony cart but don't call it a nag.

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  • I adore the idea of a zero emissions sports car. I'd have fewer complaints from my significant other (she's an environmentalist to the nth power), while still being able to get my thrills.

    I've loved the T Zero since it debuted some years back. Not sure about the noise thing, though. It sounds like a golf cart (not that I haven't drag raced a couple of those, hehe). On track days my eyes are glued to the tach as if my life depended on it.

    I could see a powerful electric motor further defining a GT or a luxury car's mission, but it's harder to realize in a true sports car.

    In addition, the range would be the thing keeping such a wonderful car out of my driveway. 100 miles at 60mph? That figure regulates it to being a weekender.

    It'd be something very different to acclimate to.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    I bet you'll see a larger electric/gas hybrid GT car pretty soon...I can't imagine current hybrid technology fitting into a Miata, but I could see it in a large fast GT coupe of some type.

    Personally in a full electric sports car, I'd need at least 150 mile range. The problem is that the idea of "sportscar" , as in full-on acceleratioin (why else would you drive one, to putter?), isn't so compatible with electric cars and how they work---yeah you get the torque from the get-go, but you drain the system pretty fast, too.

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  • speeds2muchspeeds2much Posts: 164
    Shifty, what would the weight distribution be in a hybrid GT? As far as sports cars and GTs go, I wonder if the hybrid platform is compatible. A low center of gravity and 50/50 weight distribution along with good steering feel would go a long way toward making a hybrid GT work, but if it's rear or front-heavy, that wouldn't be so hot.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Actually I was alluding to hybrids. Lexus claims F1 teams are interested in the technology but it is not sanctioned by the F1 governing body.

    “ELECTRIC sports cars? Well, I guess, as long as it is somehow MECHANICAL or machine-like. I mean, even the F-16 pilot must like the noise and the stress on his body and the danger.”

    Needless to say hybrids are as mechanical as it gets what with dual power sources, planetary gear sets and engineering/optimizing power and transmission for performance. Ditto pure electric. Hybrid success will mostly depend on advances in battery technology. Fascinating challenges here. I have no doubt they will be pushing the limits though. They have to, the world’s gas tank will be running on empty; estimates say 30-100 years.

    I’d like to see where CVTs go. On paper it has to be the fastest form of transmission. I understand there are problems making them strong enough for massive amounts of torque.

    I think today’s fighter jets are pretty quiet in the cockpit, and the faster they go the quieter they get due to the sound/speed relationship. Yeah, g forces on the body are something else. Take a ride in a P-51… there’s your noise. Might as well strap your head to a Marshall amp while a hard rock band is playing. WWII pilots came home with hearing problems. That said, there’s nothing like the sound of those 1600hp 12 cyl Rolls Royce Merlin engines roaring across the sky.

    I love speculating where tech is going but I guess I’m glad Scottie can’t beam us up yet. No fun getting there.

    Speeds2much… I think they’re working hybrid into the ideal front/rear/vertical balance. As always total weight is the challenge. Internal combustion engine, electric motor, batteries… sounds like an engineering nightmare for performance cars. Who cares how fast they can go? Gotta toss it! There ya go, you just gave me an idea. Maybe I’ll change my screen name to Corners2much.

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