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Thread: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

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    ccd
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    What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    With each new generation of car, Porsche seems to be blurring the difference between sports car and luxury car. The new 991 will be better appointed than any 911 before it and the next generation Cayman will similarly be better appointed.

    And all the added appointments raise a question of what a proper sports car should be. How civilized should a sports car be and how much should a true sports car coddle is driver and passenger. My guess is that the Cayman R will be the model to own of the current generation of Caymans going forward, but not for any of the reasons usually offered. The car is lighter, but not by much and once you put back in things like A/C, the weight difference is negligible. No, the reason why the R may be destined to be a classic is because it embodies the classic sports car theme more so than any other Porsche without being barbarically stripped down like an Elise or Exige.

    The next gen Cayman will be a better car on paper, just as the 991 is a better 911 on paper. But for some of us, the statistics won't matter. Sort of like my feeling about PDK. There is no question that transmission can shift faster and better than I can, but I'm not sure I care. Part of me feels a proper sports car has a manual transmission and having a manual is part of the sports car experience. Maybe sports car should have a bit of a stripped down retro feel to them.

    How do others feel?

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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    For me the lines are always blurred because I refuse to have a car that is not my DD. that's why I went with the tiptronic. I can shift in the steering wheel when I am putzing around and let it do the work when I get in heavy traffic. This also lets my wife enjoy when she wants.
    Still feels like an F-22 Raptor when I take off and rip through the gears but it is definitely not the wife's Lexus in terms of ride, the CS is glued to the ground and can go from an easy cruise to triple digits without a blink.
    I think that P cars are opening up to a broader demographic with the added luxuries like the nav and auto climate and plush interior because it is plush but stout.
    Just my 2 cents and I am sure everyone else has a different opinion.
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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    I've always had sports cars. 914's when I first could afford a Porsche. A couple of 944s. A 911 in my single, trying to get laid days. Even a S2000 when my kids were young and for the last ten years an M3. I bought the sports car I had always coveted, a Mercedes SL55 AMG earlier this year and I hated the luxuriousness and ponderousness of the car. Yea, I looked good, but I don't need that. What I need is to be excited every time I get behind the wheel, whether it's to drive to Publix or work the twisties through the North Georgia Mountains. That's why I sold the SL and am now actively searching for a Cayman S.
    Now, on the other hand, I do want PDK. Technology doesn't necessarily have to be bad. It can and does improve our lives everyday. I personally think Porsche has done a good job maintaining their core values, while improving their cars and still appealing to the true sports car enthusiasts.
    jhthornley likes this.

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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    Roadster, point and accelerate handling, minimalist interior so you can concentrate on your driving, great sounding intake, motor and exhaust, excellent suspension, comfortable seats with support to compliment the acceleration and handling, great lines that demonstrate a heritage to the marques history. Oh wait, that's my Boxster!
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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    Quote Originally Posted by ccd View Post
    Sort of like my feeling about PDK. There is no question that transmission can shift faster and better than I can, but I'm not sure I care. Part of me feels a proper sports car has a manual transmission and having a manual is part of the sports car experience. Maybe sports car should have a bit of a stripped down retro feel to them.

    How do others feel?
    Like you, I too regret the passing of pen, ink and stamp as a means of communication. The gracious art of composition, the turn of a phrase, the perpetual search for "le mot juste" to express a thought, punctuated with the flourish of a signature from a proper quill. Ah....the halcyon days of paper.

    Get over it.

    Two years ago, the CEO I worked for left me the keys to his 1998 911/993 asking me to take it home a couple of days a week to keep the battery going while he was abroad on vacation. Compared to my 2008 Audi TT 3.2 quattro with an S-tronic gearbox....it was an absolute piece of sh*t. The TT - not a great car by any measure - could run circles around that 911.

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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    I predict this thread will go at least 10 pages.

    IMHO a true sports car isn’t about gobs of power. It’s about handling and feedback and road feel, like a go-kart. Small, light and stiff. It’s also about the sound. Mechanical noises and exhaust notes that send chills up the spine. It should be available in a soft top. It reminds one of their childhood and how amazing it is that their dream of possessing something so awesome has come true.

    I think any Boxster or Cayman fits the perfect sports car in my mind. What bothers me about the model’s future is increasing size, electric assist steering, and turbo charging.
    gfspencer and XZL8R like this.

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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    Sports cars have one quality above all else that other cars do not possess - they allow a person to truly enjoy the 'drive'. There are times when you just need to get from point A to point B and any car from a Pinto to a Rolls Royce will do. But when a person wants to 'drive', they need a sports car. And by 'drive', you don't need to break laws or do crazy things. A good sports car allows you to 'feel' the road, the gears, the brakes and the engine. You get an enhanced sense of what is around you. If you're fortunate enough to live close to a nice twisty road, you get to appreciate a good sports car's ability to 'hug' the road in a way most people do not get to experience. In my mind, that is a luxury that so many people never have the chance to enjoy.

    But, with the technology that we have nowadays that simply wasn't available 50 years ago, we enjoy a level of engineering that also make these cars 'luxurious'. I love the heated/cooling seats and steering wheel on my Boxster. (Hey, if it's 100 degrees outside, I still want the top down, but having those cooling seats is really a nice touch... ) I love the PDK transmission on a busy highway drive. Sure, if I was just doing track time, the primal feeling you get grinding the gears would obviously increase the enjoyment (but not necessarily the times!). But with today's capabilities, we can get optimum fuel consumption during our normal daily commute and make adjustments when we have the opportunity. Simple luxuries like a powered top and glass back window make today's Boxsters (and 911s) much more enjoyable to drive. I'm truly amazed with the ability for today's Boxster to deaden outside noises with the top up. And while Porsche has been holding back a little when it comes to their sound systems (I know I feel limitations with the CDR-30 in my car), the mere fact that there are hundreds of posts on this website alone for modifications to these limitations tell me that a large portion of sports car drivers have no problem with making their rides more enjoyable with equipment that doesn't necessarily have to do with 'driving'.

    Porsche builds fantastic automobiles and Boxsters and Caymans are amazing sports cars. For the price and quality, there are very few true sports cars that can compete with them. No, they're generally not going to outrace other sports cars on the market on the track, they're not built for that.

    They're built for the 'drive'...
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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    I think the closest modern example of a perfect sports car is the Boxster Spyder.
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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    I have read more than once that just about any car of today is better than some of the best from 10-20 years ago. I suspect that there is some truth to that. Having said that and having owned more than 40 cars including S4s, C5s, M3s, my current CS is hands down, the most enjoyable daily driver I have ever owned. I am moving to a CR just to get a refinement and evolutionary upgrade to what I already have. I expect that in 10 years, however, we can look forward to Porsche keeping the faith and making vehicles even more on point than what we experience today. And, If I am still on this earth, I will likely be looking to drive one of those.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bill View Post
    I think the closest modern example of a perfect sports car is the Boxster Spyder.
    Two thumbs up! I heartily agree!
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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    Quote Originally Posted by abedh View Post
    Two thumbs up! I heartily agree!
    I'd agree with that. It just just about everything right. It's hard to define a sports car. I consider the Cayman to be a bit of a GT in that, as has been mentioned, it does the luxury cruiser thing really quite well. A Lotus Elise I'd see as the other end of the spectrum, an ultra light weight, driver focused machine that forgoes the luxuries in the pursuit of driving pleasure at it's purest. The Spyder sits quite comfortably in between the two taking the best bits of both. Certainly my car of the year 2011. I only wish I lived in a dryer country...

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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    Quote Originally Posted by ronaldvetteron View Post
    I have read more than once that just about any car of today is better than some of the best from 10-20 years ago. I suspect that there is some truth to that. Having said that and having owned more than 40 cars including S4s, C5s, M3s, my current CS is hands down, the most enjoyable daily driver I have ever owned. I am moving to a CR just to get a refinement and evolutionary upgrade to what I already have. I expect that in 10 years, however, we can look forward to Porsche keeping the faith and making vehicles even more on point than what we experience today. And, If I am still on this earth, I will likely be looking to drive one of those.
    Older cars are difficult. They are certainly not as well built or as efficient and likely nowhere near as quick. However they have their own character that can outweigh that. They can be good precisely because they're not perfect.

    An example of this away from the sports car arena is my old 190E. A 19 year old family saloon. Contrast this with a current Ford Mondeo, which is without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most competent all round cars I've ever encountered. Drive the 2.0TDCi and it's big enough for 5 adults in comfort, has a huge practical boot/trunk, is effortlessly economical, pokey enough, drives well and is cheap. I challenge anyone to drive one and find anything at all wrong with it.

    This is the thing. Not that faults equal character (the terrible gearbox in the Merc is not endearing), it's that supreme competence isn't everything. What the Merc has is a laziness. It just won't be rushed and as such driving it is stress free and relaxing. It makes you feel good. The Mondeo just doesn't make you feel anything at all. It's merely a tool to get you and it's contents from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible.

    Is the Mondeo a better car than the 190? Good god yes in every way you can imagine. But I don't *want* a Mondeo. I like my 190, even with it's shitty gearbox. This is why old cars will always have an appeal and why, for example, I find current M3's a little bit dull and would take an old 4 pot M3 over it any day of the week.
    Last edited by juansolo; 01-01-2012 at 07:36 AM.

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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    Quote Originally Posted by BadToTheBox View Post
    Roadster, point and accelerate handling, minimalist interior so you can concentrate on your driving, great sounding intake, motor and exhaust, excellent suspension, comfortable seats with support to compliment the acceleration and handling, great lines that demonstrate a heritage to the marques history. Oh wait, that's my Boxster!
    Surely you jest!

    Roadster - yes
    Point and Shoot handling -yes
    Minimalist interior - Yes but this disqualifies your Boxster that has gadgets like a stereo system, air conditioning and 8 way power adjustable heated seats..
    Great sounding motor and exhaust - Yes, but again this may disqualify the Boxster unless it has mods the exhaust is way too timid
    Excellent suspension - yes
    Comfortable seats - I disagree here, some of the best sports cars haven't had terrific seats, but we'll call it a wash
    Great lines - Yes
    Heritage - it should not echo heritage it should BE heritage

    Thus, in answer to your list there is really only one car that comes to mind...



    Oh and I'd throw in NO power steering like the Boxster and NO power assisted brakes like the Boxster, in fact no power anything.

    Oh and the polarity on your battery must be a Positive Ground system to qualify as well!

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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    See Pictures Below.
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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bill View Post
    I think the closest modern example of a perfect sports car is the Boxster Spyder.
    Ha! That's only because you own one. In my unbiased opinion, the CR is the perfect sports car.
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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrocRDoc View Post
    Ha! That's only because you own one. In my unbiased opinion, the CR is the perfect sports car.
    Some people would tell you that anything hardtop is not a sports car.
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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    Quote Originally Posted by K-Man S View Post
    Surely you jest!
    She's definitely a sports car. Gorgeous!

    A lack of practicality is a necessity. A true sports car says that all other practicalities be gone -- only my attributes (light, growly, fast, sexy) matter.
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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    This same debate has been going on and off since the '50s. It even took up space in Car & Driver (then Sports Cars Illustrated) for several months (including letters to the editor), but that may have been in the early '60s.

    At that time, C&D decided that a sports car had to have a soft top that took sufficient time to raise that the occupants could get soaked before securing the top in a sudden storm. Sports cars didn't even have roll-up windows; they had "side curtains." I think it was okay to have an AM radio and heater, but the heater had to be ineffective.

    Ken's Jag would likely qualify as a sports car, but it would have been a relatively comfortable high-end sports car. I owned one car that qualified; a '55 MG-TF 1500. I also had a '63 TR-4 (had roll-up window though), and a '64 Austin Mini Cooper 1275 S (hard top though).

    The fine line between a sports car and something else (GT, sporty, etc.) keeps changing, but I think cars like the Boxster and Miata still meet the intent of the original definition

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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    A sports car should be light and nimble.







    Add big horsepower and a sports car becomes a supercar?





    Add some weight, size and luxury and a sports car becomes a GT?

    To the guy who drives a Cadillac or SUV a Boxster/Cayman is a raw sports car.

    The guy who drives a Lotus Elise or Super 7 sees a Boxster/Cayman as a bloated GT.

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    Re: What Qualities Should Sports Car Have?

    Very nice...

    With Lucas electronics to keep you on your toes of course...
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