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Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
2/10/17 9:24 a.m.

A car can be very powerful and still deliver it in a boring way. Like i mentioned before, i think in the normal day to day 'slow' speeds range, having a car that makes noise and moves around is fun. Once you get into the 'i could very well die' speed range, having a car that makes you feel confident and safe is the main factor in whether you will actually use its performance or not. For example, I've had a few different cars that could do 145ish, but the only one i felt comfortable enough in to do it for no good reason is my 911.

So i dont think it's just down to whether a car IS fast. It's about whether you're going to DRIVE it fast. If you're not actually going to go fast, bring on the drama and wheelspin and oversteer and sawing at the wheel. If you ARE going to go really fast, you would probably want to do it in a car that's going to be boring below 70mph. IF i'm picking a car to have fun on normal streets below 70mph, i'm going to have more fun in my turbo-torque-steering tire-burning FWD minivan that requires a shift every 20mph than my 911 that literally requires 1 shift to get to 70 and feels boring doing it despite the 4.9s 0-60 time.

Beardy
Beardy New Reader
8/5/19 7:35 p.m.

Fun to drive  vs. performance is something that I chew on constantly.  A great thread!

For work/cruising and such it's great to have power in excess in a convenient package which has a nice environment and is relatively quiet.  A 2008 XKR offers a sense of occasion and it plain works.  But for fun and/or touring the speed is a bit too easy and although it eats the miles, it doesn't deliver on an emotional level until speeds are positively antisocial.

I have had and enjoyed an MG Midget, a 350i TVR, a rally prepared TR7 V8, Ford V8 `91 Miata (which got close but the T5Z gearchange was too agricultural).  A 944 S2 (awesome brakes), an Elise that was beautiful and fabulous to steer, but undramatic (maybe needed less tire and/or more torque).  I have a stripped, normally aspirated `93 1.6 Miata on FM suspension and it's great fun to drive hard within socially acceptable limits, but by its very nature is a bit slow and raw. 

So I am torn by wanting something that excels `on paper', but in reality it's a secondary issue providing the `stats' are adequate: I think I want a soft top that performs optimally at <100mph, has gobs of instant acceleration, but can cruise at reasonable revs.  It needs to offer a sense of occasion and some drama and good sound track, but I also like a sleeper.  Not too much grip but responsive steering and full control of gears (manual or automated manual but not paddle shifted auto unless one can lock out kickdown under full throttle).  And it has to be old enough/simple enough that I can tinker... - Its a hobby after all.

An NC or ND with big engine appears to `work' but the Canbus puts me off these (newer) cars.

 

Beardy

 

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Dork
8/6/19 12:46 a.m.

This is also a topic I fitz with constantly.  First I just wanna say Keith go drive a water cooled 911, since you haven't already.  They are great driving cars inspite of the weight distribution.  Make sure your front tires are correctly inflated.  Yes, factory inflation on mid and rear engined Porsche's is lower than you expect.  That does a lot to help the understeer.  I've never had a tire shop set them correctly.

 

Okay I'm going to hit the big 50 in 15 months, and I'm seriously thinking what do I want for my 3rd car.   I really want something that meets all of the ideas posted here that I can drive well into retirement.  I'm so obsessed with the idea, I made a spreadsheet to evaluate potential rides (I have a spreadsheet for everything including my magic $# to retire).  I graded cars on weight (high weight is bad no matter what anyone says), 0-60, 1/4 mile ET, skid pad gs, handling (perceived), cost, cool factor, maintenance cost, old or new (new being generally more reliable and easier to drive further), coolness, etc.  I don't recall everything but I can share the spreadsheet / decision matrix with the group if desired.

The cars I scored:  FD RX-7 (always wanted one), C7 Z51 7 speed (going to seem uber cool soon), C8 Vette (guessed on a lot of parameters), ND Miata (going to have to have a Club with Recaros), Cayman 987S, Cayman or Boxster GTS (15/16), Mustang GT with supercharger (Lebanon), GT350, and older Boss 302.  To my surprise none of the Mustangs was in the running largely due to weight.  I simply ranked the cars 1 to 8 for these kinds of categories.  The top 4 where the C7 Z51, C8, 987 Cayman S, and ND Miata (not in that order). 

As an aside I then added an LS1 NA to the mix (I have an NA I can sell or convert), and an ND with a supercharger (can't find a 1/4 mile ET anywhere).  They both score in the middle of 1-4. 

I'm tempted to add a Focus RS to the mix too, and maybe a supercharged twin, but I don't think I'd really like either.  I know the 996/997 turbo will just cost too much to own and they weigh a lot more than a Cayman S, and a N/A flat six sounds OMG way better.  Maybe I should add sound?  I generally rank things like this fair, good, great, awesome.  I wouldn't own a car that sounds bad.  Handling and coolness were rated the same way. 

So this thread is great.  I can use it to help me decide how to blow next years bonus for my birthday!    Even with a hefty down payment I'd end up financing part of a C8 or a 15/16 GTS, so they may just drop off the list.  Surprisingly to me the FD did not score well.  It's just a lot of maintenance, pretty unreliable, but oh so sexy and cool....  I may still get one.  I'm probably going to drive my top 5 more than once.

I wonder who has a supercharged ND nearby or an LS1 NA they will let me mess around with......  a lot of the other contenders I can just drive at a dealer. 

 

 

Vracer111
Vracer111 Reader
8/6/19 1:02 a.m.

Ever ridden in / drove a Tesla Model 3 Performance... that's a riot that goes from relaxed to warp speed with position of the accelerator pedal... not an ICE or manual transmission (or any transmission actually...) vehicle though so lacking the audible & tactile side of things most cars guys love. But it does literal neck snapping acceleration at any speed that is simply unexplainable and absolutely giggle to hysterical laugh inducing...ICE simply can't do instantaneous acceleration like it. Car full of people and snap all their necks upon launch... you got to warn people to brace before going 'full throttle' - never go full throttle unannounced...

That said... my choice for the past 7+ years has been an FR-S, and I really can't think of anything that can replace it - the longer I've had it the more I've fallen for it. Absolute joy to drive with that chassis and made to work on and customize with absolutely RIDICULOUS level of aftermarket support beyond anything else. They have more than enough performance stock to land you in jail if you lack personal restraint. And now that 949 Racing has come out with a 50mm steering column spacer for the twins tall people can finally get a perfect driving position with stock steering wheel, no compromise involved! I think fun to drive/character will always win over technical superiority for street use...

joey48442
joey48442 PowerDork
8/6/19 6:57 a.m.

In reply to Vracer111 :

I agree. I’ve had like a billion (slight exaggeration possible) cars, and keep changing my mind after a month or two. I had a focus ST and it was boring me, bad. My wife has a FiST that we love. 

I finally bought a low mileage used FR-S. I love that care. So much. After 3 months I love it more and am not at all thinking about selling it. Which essentially never happens. Basically on average I’ve bought and sold a car every 5.5 months since getting my drivers license 23 years ago!

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/6/19 7:37 a.m.

This is where I'm at for next fall. 

I really want an ND because I know it would be a blast to drive, quick enough to be entertaining, get good mpg, be reliable, etc. But then part of me still wants a newer Mustang/Camaro/Vette so I can hear a gnarly V8 start up every morning when I come into the office. 

Another part of me really wants a new Supra (even though I'm a bit sour on turbo BMW engines at the moment). Because I love the looks, the performance, 2 seater GT-style car that it is. Guess I'd just have to go for the extra, extra extended warranty?

 

Unfortunately, the main thing will probably be, "How much do I actually want to spend on something that isn't driven very many miles per year?" Although whatever car I buy, would also become the future road trip car for me and my better half. 

Window shopping is fun!

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
8/6/19 7:41 a.m.

I love my truck. What's not to love about 350+hp feeding a locked rear end with no weight. It's not a fast vehicle but it delivers it's power brutally and raw. It's a visceral experience from the time you hit the key until you turn it off. It steers with the throttle. IT will hold a drift all day long. But it's just not "it" for me. 

But, the most fun vehicle I've ever owned/driven was my old Forte. 165whp, 2800lbs and an open diff. The stats say it's boring, plebian even. But it did EVERYTHING you asked it to do. It was fun, connected. You could use ALL of it and feel great about it. I've driven some of the newer muscle cars and vettes and you can never use them in that manner. You don't mat the throttle through a 4 cone slalom and not come out facing the wrong direction. The Forte would do it flat. Banging the rev limiter at 68mph in second. Even at Putnam it never felt slow. Come out of the last turn onto the straight flat in 3rd gear, grab 4th halfway down the straight and hit the braking point at around 110 just shy of the rev limiter, downshift to third and go. 

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
8/6/19 8:27 a.m.

I agree with you Bob. My Abarth is about the most fun you could have without worrying about going to Jail. 165 hp in a 2500 lb car does not sound like fun, but to tell the truth, if it was not cute looking on the outside, it would be completely obnoxious. It farts, pops, and snarls with the best of them, goes like hell, and still gets 34 mpg in daily driving. The fact that it is cute as a button makes it attractive to everyone.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
8/6/19 8:34 a.m.

In reply to nderwater :

The reality has been stated by many, many times over:

 

"Driving a slow car fast is much more fun than driving a fast car slow"

or in my words:

 

"I'd rather berkeley an ordinary woman senseless than walk a supermodel down the street"

 

This is the secret that the BRZ/FRS  owners are in on. You pay dearly for HP in purchase, maintenance and insurance cost when in reality you don't get to use it on a daily basis.

 

Pete

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
8/6/19 8:53 a.m.
NOHOME said:

"I'd rather berkeley an ordinary woman senseless than walk a supermodel down the street"

Bwahaha good analogy laugh

NOHOME said:

This is the secret that the BRZ/FRS  owners are in on. You pay dearly for HP in purchase, maintenance and insurance cost when in reality you don't get to use it on a daily basis.

Also an important point. I very much agree with the "slow car fast" recipe for a fun car on the street. My Samurai's so much fun on the street because you can drive it all over the place like you're in the Baja 500 without exceeding the speed limit too much. I think the sweet spot for street enjoyment ranges from a hilarious underpowered crapcan like a Citroen 2CV to a low-end sports car where you're starting to have trouble getting near its limits like a BRZ/FRS.

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
8/6/19 9:04 a.m.

My opinion is just about worthless, but the sentiments about the FRS/BRZ hold true for me as well. I love the car more than I thought possible. It literally makes me forget about my e30, which I didn't think possible. So it seems to do the impossible for me? Anyways, the only time I have been wanting more power is when I'm on a track getting a point by, but honestly it's not a severely strong desire. 

Here's the kicker though, I drive on hilly/curvy roads EVERY SINGLE DAY to get to work or anywhere else. My playground when not going to autocross or an HPDE is my daily commute.  It's a perfect environment for an FRS to me.

On the flip side, if it was just crappy 6 lane wide traffic I don't think this car would do it for me. Honestly no car would, cause I would just have to move or change jobs. Nothing sucks more than racing from exit to exit. I don't know how people do it. I actually drive ~10 minutes out of my way in the morning and afternoon to avoid the interstate for more engaging roads.

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Dork
8/6/19 9:04 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

This is exactly why used water cooled Porsche’s are incredible.  Guys buy the super model car walk it around the block some and save it so you can berkley the you know what out of it as it was designed.  You get the majority of the fun and little of the depreciation.

A guy on a P car forum was making fun of 996s, and one reply was priceless.  Yah she’s the ugliest Victoria’s secret model, but I’m still doing a Victoria’s secret model.

It’s really hard to find more for less than a 986/7 or 996/7, but like a model maintenance is high.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
8/6/19 9:19 a.m.
AnthonyGS said:

In reply to NOHOME :

This is exactly why used water cooled Porsche’s are incredible.  Guys buy the super model car walk it around the block some and save it so you can berkley the you know what out of it as it was designed.  You get the majority of the fun and little of the depreciation.

A guy on a P car forum was making fun of 996s, and one reply was priceless.  Yah she’s the ugliest Victoria’s secret model, but I’m still doing a Victoria’s secret model.

It’s really hard to find more for less than a 986/7 or 996/7, but like a model maintenance is high.

You had me right up until the last seven words.

 

Pete

CobraSpdRH
CobraSpdRH Reader
8/6/19 9:36 a.m.

Great thread, seems like a lot of us share similar thoughts in our collective headspace.

I find myself working my way up and down the used-car spectrum doing these exercises of performance/price/driveability. Start off looking for a third car like an E36 so I can keep my GX, but then I dive down the rabbit hole and an hour later a Hellcat seems like a good idea lol.

I like the BR-Z continually mentioned, but as a Honda/Acura fan myself I also consider a Civic Si. Screaming through the gears and hitting VTEC without breaking the speed limit seems like it could keep my somewhat boring commute more interesting, and I could always spice things up with a Kraftwerks supercharger and have the power to beat some muscle cars if I wanted. But it can also be docile, reliable and not too expensive to buy/run.

I've never owned a Porsche/Corvette, only an S2000, but I've also had a TBSS, SRT-4, LS-swapped S10, so lots of different experiences with different cars. They were all fun but as I don't still own any of them I got tired of them for one reason or another. Also, there are SO many others I want to try haha.

ronholm
ronholm Dork
8/6/19 9:45 a.m.

The general tone of this thread contrasted to some of the comments in the thread in which many were discussing Porsche SUV vs sports cars sales is really very interesting.

 

 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/6/19 9:56 a.m.

I miss BRZ now that it's gone. I should have kept it. Hindsight and all that. But knowing who typically owns them, I'd be afraid to buy a used one.

Hopefully the 2nd Gen will be announced next year. Same for the STi.

Klayfish
Klayfish PowerDork
8/6/19 10:00 a.m.
NOHOME said:

In reply to nderwater :

The reality has been stated by many, many times over:

 

"Driving a slow car fast is much more fun than driving a fast car slow"

 

 

While this is a revived zombie thread, I'll put my $.02 in on this.  I used to subscribe to that theory, but the older I get the less I do.  Sorry, for me driving a slow car fast just isn't all that exciting.  First, a slow car doesn't go fast, otherwise it wouldn't be a slow car...maybe the saying should be "drive a slow car hard is more fun than driving a fast car easy".  When I had my Elantra, I thoroughly respected it as fabulous point A to point B transportation.  I also loved...I mean LOVED...my HHR.  However, I won't lie and say I enjoyed beating the snot out of it just to merge onto the highway quick enough so that soccer mommy in her CR-V/Explorer/Murano convertible doesn't run my butt over.  Nah, not fun.  I would still enjoy driving an NA Miata (hope to have my sons' roadworthy soon) or an MK1 MR2, but the lack of power would drive me nuts for day to day use.  My wifes G37 is simply fun to drive from all angles.  If I want to merge on the highway, I just squeeze the throttle.  No fuss, no stress, no wringing-a-cats-neck noises.  Considering selling it for a used Kia Soul for family reasons.  While I'd love the Soul for the same reasons I loved my HHR, I would never consider it truly "fun" to wring out.

Pepe
Pepe New Reader
8/6/19 10:10 a.m.

I still don't quite get the BRZ being considered a slow car. Seems quite fast to me. I drive an Abarth and I already find it way too fast for street duties (let alone my SRT4). I love driving it on the track, but on the street I just don't see the appeal. Freeways are boring no matter what and on the backroads I can never go fast enough to make it "exciting." I guess I just don't find street driving all that entertaining.

joey48442
joey48442 PowerDork
8/6/19 11:34 a.m.
Pepe said:

I still don't quite get the BRZ being considered a slow car. Seems quite fast to me. I drive an Abarth and I already find it way too fast for street duties (let alone my SRT4). I love driving it on the track, but on the street I just don't see the appeal. Freeways are boring no matter what and on the backroads I can never go fast enough to make it "exciting." I guess I just don't find street driving all that entertaining.

It’s definitely not slow. Not super fast but certainly not slow. 

joey48442
joey48442 PowerDork
8/6/19 11:36 a.m.
z31maniac said:

I miss BRZ now that it's gone. I should have kept it. Hindsight and all that. But knowing who typically owns them, I'd be afraid to buy a used one.

Hopefully the 2nd Gen will be announced next year. Same for the STi.

Mine was owned by a Chinese guy who was here for work for a few years. He bought it new. He rear ended someone early on but I saw the repair write up, mostly headlights and paint work. No airbags. He also had initial d stuff all over. But.... he also had ever single receipt and repair and everything. Totally awesome. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/6/19 2:02 p.m.
Pepe said:

I still don't quite get the BRZ being considered a slow car. Seems quite fast to me. I drive an Abarth and I already find it way too fast for street duties (let alone my SRT4). I love driving it on the track, but on the street I just don't see the appeal. Freeways are boring no matter what and on the backroads I can never go fast enough to make it "exciting." I guess I just don't find street driving all that entertaining.

Previous cars include:
S52 swapped E30

135i

Coyote-engine Mustang GT

350Z

Mazdaspeed 3

 

And my first ever "track day" experience was on a sport bike. So by that measure, the BRZ isn't "slow" but it certainly isn't fast. 

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
8/6/19 2:57 p.m.

What a difference two and a half years makes, thanks for bringing this one back.

I ended up replacing my EV with a Jag XK: a big, sexy grand touring coupe with a ~400hp v8 that makes fantastic noises. It looks the business and has a super luxe interior... and has cost me silly money to maintain.  I've posted it elsewhere, but over the past 18 months I've spent about $450 a month on maintenance, and that trend is continuing (the CD changer just broke, one of the cats is failing, list goes on). With the car payment, fuel and insurance I'm in for maybe $1,200 a month, averaged over time.

Owning the Jag checked a lot of boxes for me but I'm not in love with it.  It's quick and agile but the limits are no where near as accessible as they were in my Miatas, E30s or my E36 M3, so the 'fun' in driving it is from the style and acceleration and noises and not from grabbing it by the scruff of its neck and flogging it like I was used to with many of my older cars.

I'm thinking of replacing it with something with a 4 cylendar engine (gasp!) and friskier handling. Gotta have a back seat for my kids, so a BRZ/FRS is on the list along with a 2 Series BMW.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
8/6/19 3:02 p.m.

In reply to Klayfish :

I agree.  Driving a slow car fast can be fun, but sometimes you need to pop 55 to 85 as soon as possible if not sooner... and for that you need power.

joey48442
joey48442 PowerDork
8/6/19 3:13 p.m.

In reply to nderwater :

Make sure the kids fit in back behind you. The back of the drivers seat is quite seriously about two inches from the bottom of the back seat. No one with legs is sitting back there!

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
8/6/19 3:20 p.m.

It's a similar story with my current car. I'm a smaller guy and three of my kids are six and under, so we can make it work laugh

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