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Sports Cars - The Definitive Discussion



  • I also agree with the fact that the S2K is the best sports car you can buy for less than $40K.

    In addition, I concur that the Gallardo isn't the enthusiasts choice when it comes to out and out sports cars. I would just get one were I to be choosing a competitor to the M6 based on spec and feel.

    It's my feeling that because the M6 is trying very hard to be a sports car, and the Gallardo is a sports car and doesn't know it, these two would be perfect opposites to a common coin.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    And the rear bumper is ghastly.

    A sports car it is not.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,330
    I'm also not fond of what AWD does to a "sports car". I think it deadens it a bit. Certainly felt that way with the Porsche C4s. AWD does give you tremendous grip but also nails the car down a lot and increases driver effort. I like sports cars that feel very nimble and "electric"...if you slide around a little bit, all the better test of your skills. I'd rather rely on tires and suspension to keep me planted.

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  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    if the driver provides balance. That's why I understand it's so hard to drive a Porsche at the limit. It's harder to balance a 34/66 pendulum compared to a 51/49 bar. Although once you work it out, having all that weight over the back wheels seems to help a lot. And getting the proper slip angle as opposed to sliding will improve turn in providing a shorter route to the apex and better angle of exit to the track out. I just don't get why it's so interesting to master a flawed concept rather than doing quicker laps in a better design. Here's to watching Panoz (David) to see if it can come through more than once this season in ALMS. Always nice when the only junk yard dog in the ring shows up all the pedigrees! And it has a much nice sound to boot.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "I just don't get why it's so interesting to master a flawed concept rather than doing quicker laps in a better design."

    Same reason why men ride bulls in rodeos.

    “I like sports cars that feel very nimble and "electric"...if you slide around a little bit, all the better test of your skills.”

    Bingo, Shifty will get up on that bull.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,330
    You got it. Mastering the perfect, un-eventful, clinically perfect lap (to me anyway) is like driving to a car show and then talking about the gas mileage you got on the way over.

    This is also why watching modern racing is like looking at paint drying unless someone crashes or blows up, and why flying a small plane in Alaska is more fun than piloting a 747---so the pilots tell me. (I've flown in lotsa small planes but not piloted a 747, nor do I ever care to).

    I'd rather not even have power steering in a sports car, but the wider rubber we run now makes that a necessary evil that I'm willing to live with.

    It seems every day manufacturers conspire to take more and more feedback away from us.

    As I have so tediously mentioned before, it is no co-incidence that many gazillionaires who also love cars spend a great deal of time and money racing the most primitive types old machinery around the race courses all over the world.

    Well sure you don't have to go THAT FAR BACK to have a good time, but having every problem ironed out for you by technology is in my mind a most regrettable choice, as what you gain isn't as much as what you lose.

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  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    You all see it as a loss while I see the opportunity to learn something new, to me, in taking a current, fairly high powered sports car, around different tracks and learning the line to improve lap times up to something almost respectable as a challenge and an opportunity to develop. There are some things that need to be built on as opposed to jumped into with both feet, first time out. I doubt a lot of Bull riders got their start at that point of their career. Your approach smacks of absolutes without accomodating the fun steps in the process for others beginning at different levels and with different goals.
    Sure it would be nice to have an historic, saw a 850hp McClaren at Sears Point a couple weeks ago that would terrify me I'm sure, but at this point there are lots of basics that even at my age I still need to learn. Maybe that historic is off in the future, not too far off, but when I get there I expect I'll have driven a lot, taken several more classes, and learned a few things even from some of the technology available today. Keeping an open mind,

    PS Aren't pilots just bus drivers with wings?
  • All this talk about the tactile feel of sports cars is reminding me why I'm kicking the girlfriend out to make room for a new MX-5 (we can't co-exist, fights over the keys and what not).

    Now here's a car that is driven by an entire philosophy rather than just improving on spec and kit. I can't wait to first see if I can properly fit into it. Following that little test, I'm taking it for a weekend up the east coast. There's no doubt in my mind this sports car will rank as one of my top ten drives of any car (for it's own reasons, of course).

    I'm glad there are still cars like the MX-5 on the market for the simple fact that it seems as if a lot of manufacturers have forgotten the simplicity that used to exist in a genuine sports car. If only Lotus could hear my cries, and build something that can fit taller drivers.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,330
    "PS Aren't pilots just bus drivers with wings? "

    At the United Airlines Terminal, perhaps. In Alaska, the bus drivers with wings are all dead. (as are the reckless cowboys I might add....ah, balance, all is balance....)

    I don't see how a person can truly learn something if the computer is doing half the driving for him. All he'll learn is how how and when the computer reacts...he is getting purely second hand information, since the computer has stopped the car from doing something. WHAT the car wanted to do, he will never personally experience. The computer is training him....he isn't training himself....

    True, this will save him both embarrassment and damage, so that's good, but he'll always be less of a driver than if he went in bare-[non-permissible content removed] nekkid IMO. If he can't ever crash, he can't back off that eensy teensy bit that makes a winner a winner. Think of a radar controlled baseball that is not allowed to touch a batter or something like that.

    Giving over control of the car to a computer might be GREAT for the driving-impaired on today's public roads, but not for the sports car lover IMO.

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  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    I might be willing to test out your theory. As a matter of fact I do, when I take a day or three in the open wheel Formula Mazda's at Infineon with instruction. And I have crashed, limited liability and all that. But for the fun of learning new tracks in what is my daily driver, btw it is fun on the street too, I will take a little coaching and learn when the system engages and what I can do to get around that particular corner a little faster without that happening the next time. It does get you to smooth out the driving, believe it or not.

    OTOH, while most I've met seem to believe as I do, I did run across a kid, mid 20's at Sears Point in a Z06 that flat out said he pushes to get the system to engage. I think he will live to regret it, personally, but hey I can deal with other approaches since I'm not saying my approach is the best for everyone. It just works for me.

    Was it Michener who wrote 'There are old pilots and bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots'? Or was he just quoting? That still leaves lots of room for bus drivers, it would seem!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,330
    Well let's wish the kid well, but really he should have started at age 15 in go karts.

    I am pleased to hear though that some manufacturers are not allowing the computer to drive the car until some fairly extreme situations arise.

    I learned a lot on the open wheel course....if you got loose, they flagged you and explained to you what happened, up front and personal. You got a time out and a lecture. Computers of course will not to that to the young man in the Z06. He will know that he went past his ability, that's true but he was cut a bit short in the learning curve. Sometimes getting scared by what you do can be a good thing. Computers take all the scary parts out, leaving you only with mental barriers to overcome, not so much the physical ones.

    I never screwed up at turn 6 at Laguna again the next two days. Can't say I went FASTER than I did when I got loose, but I went AS FAST and cleaner....I learned not to let up on the gas dummy.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,330
    Bobby Unser said something interesting during a road test when he was flying up Pike's Peak in a Porsche Cayenne (which he said by the way, could WIN the race if the driveline and chassis where mounted on a single seater body)...

    ANWAY....he said that he prefers to keep the SC on when he's on dry pavement but definitely turns it off on loose gravel or dirt because he felt that most computers "get confused" on surfaces like this and probably make driving more dangerous.

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 63,089
    You have to turn off the stability control in deep snow, or anything mucky, where you really need to spin the wheels to get moving..

    My wife got her 325i stuck in the parking lot at work.. about 8" of snow.. up to the side sills.... It didn't look that deep, and I thought I would get it out fairly easily (winter tire equipped).. It took me about 5 minutes of frustration, before I remembered to turn off the DSC... After I did that.. it popped right on out..

    Bobby Unser has more cojones than the rest of us combined.. I've seen that race on TV, and I almost crap myself just watching..


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  • erdal21erdal21 Posts: 1
    Hi guys..

    l have a pontiac firebird 2000. l would like to buy a new sports car. could you suggest me some sports cars? thank you...
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    That's a rather open ended question in a forum full of sports cars and roadsters that range from an under $20k Miata to a $200k+ Ferrari 430.

    My picks by price are (currently):

    Under $30k: Maita if you must, but I suggest you invest your money in the stock market (try XMSR) until you have enough to buy something over $30k.

    $30k to $50k: Honda S2000
    $50k to $75k: Porsche Boxster S
    $75k to $90k: Porsche 911 (base)
    $90k+ and a daily driver: Porsche 911 S Cabriolet
    $200k & not a daily driver: Ferrari 430

    As the above list might suggest, I value handling, balance and build quality over an unrefined musclecar.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986

    I can't recommend it from first-hand experience yet, but everything I've read to date suggests a worthwhile product in the sport category. I think it would be a mistake to leave it out of the mix in its price range.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    You've GOT to provide us with some constraints in here.

    Convertible? Sport coupe? RWD/FWD? Prefer manual or automatic only? Do you prefer handling or power? How much utility do you need? Will a 2 seater be enough or will you occasionally need more? Budget? Style? Effficiency?

    Needless to say, this whole thing could rapidly spiral way out of control and be of no benefit to you whatsoever. You've got to let us know what you expect out of a car.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    I'm with rorr, need some priorities. For example, I used to drive an MGB, 12 years and probably close to 150,000 miles and loved it. But 25 years later when I tried the S2000, Boxster, Miata and a few more they just were too tight to sit in and I'm under 200#'s at about 6'3". That led to the Corvette which is a great touring car and really comfortable for two on longer trips, plus fun to drive.

  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    Hi guys..

    l have a pontiac firebird 2000. l would like to buy a new sports car. could you suggest me some sports cars? thank you...

    Two most affordable 2006 sports cars: Pontiac Solstice and the Mazda MX-5

    One awesome sports car: new Corvette Z06

    While the new 911 is nice, it doesn't have dry-sump and some suffer from the RMS (rear main seal) leaks that plagued the previous 911.
  • dbrevindbrevin Posts: 3
    I am thinking about either the S2000 or Z3 as a "middle-life-crisis" car. You know - warm day, put the top down, racing along back country roads.....

    But I also plan to hold on to that car. Which will more likely be thought of as a classic in 15-20 years: S2000 or Z3?

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 63,089
    Neither.. both will basically be "commodity" cars... like a Miata.. albeit, worth a little more, owing to their higher original cost..

    Two cars that aren't all that popular now... While I'd love to have either one, I don't see them gaining in popularity down the road..



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  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    The pairing seems a little odd to me. The S2000 is a screamer that is a capable track car but to get performance must be run at the top end of the rev range. I've heard that those that keep the car love to really drive it, but many turn it over because they are not comfortable running at the high end of the rev range. Lower down it really is just not supposed to pull. The Z3 otoh is basically a cruiser in a sports car size, and very tight to boot. I turned around ouside the dealer lot and took it back in the other driveway since I just knew I wouldn't be comfortable in something that felt like I needed a shoe horn. Then again I'm 6'3".
    As much as I love passing a Porsche at the track I'd have to say the Boxster would be a better drive than the Z3 by a long shot, but for me the prior version is just too underpowered for the money. Maybe the newest model will be better but I'm sure it's going to cost a bundle. The C5 Corvette by comparison is much more capable for the $'s if not as tight or precise, having much more power, and torque is fun.

    Just one man's opinion,
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I'd probably have to generally agree with kyfdx's comments.

    However, as a former S2000 owner, my 2002 would fetch as much today as it did 14 months age when I traded it. The S2000 resale value relative to price is among the best of any car, and far superior to the BMW Z3/Z4.

    Also, unlike the Z3 that shares engine and other components with the 3-series, the S2000 was a single purpose pure-bred roadster designed from the ground up. The Honda engineering that went into the engine, chassis, suspension, brakes, etc. is pretty impressive. It's limited production and fit and finish are exceptional. From those perspecitves, I think the S2000 will always have a more serious sports car / cult following than the Z3, SLK, etc. The Miata was produced in large quatities and while it is a nice modern expression of the MG and other roadsters of the 60's and 70's, it is more "cute" than serious when it comes to performance.

    I am obviously partial to the S2000. I just hope that my next purchase - either a Boxster S or 911 Cabriolet - will satisfy me to the same degree.

    My 2 cents and good luck.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,330
    Niether will be a classic in 20 years, but they will still be worth something because they are sports cars. Just don't expect high dollar value. What they will do is go down and down in value each year then level off and stay there and then slowly creep up with inflation....kinda like a 1985 Porsche 911 does now. But if you're thinking Hemi "Cuda money in 20-30 years, fergit it. They are too common a car and their options do not vary enough to create "one-offs" or low production options.

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  • 04_xkr04_xkr Posts: 3
    Neither will be classic but in 20 years if you have either one in 20 years it will be a rare find. When the z3 was introduced I thought it was pretty nice(I like it better than the Z4 even now). I owned the s2000 back when it first came out in 2000. It was nice because it was new and rare. After a year it was much more common, it felt like a kids toy or a go-kart, and had nothing to do in the interior. It was fast and good on turns though but had no torque...and it looks like a miata. People who don't look at the H are all like "oh it's just a miata" and then they say oh no, "it's that little honda" it's fairly common and much cheaper so it is now known by just about everybody. ..and 16yr olds always think it's sooo great j/k. The z3 3.0 will be the car you will much rather keep but If you can get a boxster, I think it is much more attractive than the z3(even though it's not faster) and it handles great(as long as you like the verrry loud engine right behind your ears once the rpm's go over 4,000). Oh, and the ride on the boxster is curiously barely bumpy at all for a roadster.
  • As a current BMW M5 owner and a former BMW M3 (2), and M1 owner (among others), my advice is to forget the attempt to buy a future classic and take the Honda.

    The BMW Z3 is a very weak attempt at a sports car. The Z4 is only marginally better. Even the Z8 would not have made it on my shopping list over a 911 if it were priced at $80k instead of $130k.

    On the classic front, of all the cars I've owned, the M1 was the most "classic". I sold it in the early 1980's for $50,000. I put that money into a stock portfolio, that is now worth a little under $2 million. I wish I had sold all my other "classic" assets and done the same.

    Todays cars are depreciating assets. Even if they eventually go up in value, they will fall far short of "investment" returns. I suggest buy whatever you like today, but of the two choices you picked, I can't imagine anyone thinking the Z3 is a better sports car than the Honda S2000.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081

    Did you buy it yet?

  • topspin628topspin628 Posts: 373
    I think this is the correct board to ask for advice. I am interested in a convertible sports/sporty car that I can use as a daily driver and won't punish me on rough roads nor be miserable to drive in city traffic. It should also be a car that can be used for 12 mos. in the NE, not one that goes into storage for winter months. I know that this is a tall order. I am not asking that it can plow through snow storms but I know a friend of mine had an M3 that was unusable once the roads got slick. I also need room for a set of golf clubs and it should be able to handle just a bit of luggage.
    The Boxster looks like a good starting point and I will test drive but not sure about the noise level. Sometimes I can be in the car for 2 hours plus and I don't want to walk out with a headache. I am also considering going back to a stick (have not been there for a long time) and just wanted to know if the trade offs of city congestion are worth the pleasure of the drive on open roads.

    Thank you for any input and suggestions.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Mercedes SLK

    With it's hardtop in lieu of cloth, I would imagine that it would be much more 4 seasons and extended driving friendly than the Boxster. It also shouldn't beat you up on rough roads or in city traffic.

    Don't know about storage space however.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Oh, you sure know how to tempt me!!

    I have a deal worked out on a new 2005 Boxster S at a very good price, which I need to move on in the next day or two. However, I am torn debating over the new 997 S cab, which I can custom order for November delivery. Essentially, although there are other pros and cons for each car, I am trying to evaluate whether I want to spend an extra $42,000 for a rear seat.

    I'll let you know what I decide, but feel free to tempt or advise me some more in the meantime!
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