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boxerman
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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday I had the opportunity to try the MP12 458 and GT3 as well as my old trusty 512 boxer back to back.

Please bear in mind that I probably tend to be old school in terms of driving expectations, more of a tracker than an arriver, think of these cars for weekebnd pleasure as opposed to dalies.

The Maclaren was first. the cockpit has that tight fighter jet feel, and the car has a narrowness which makes it feel compact width wide which is a plus if you drive curvy roads. The Maclarten seats feel more like a BMW, no leather arooma or particularily great to the touch. At idle and slow speed the motor has a porche type sound and is quite appealing. The shift paddles are indeed too stiff as the press reports and the wheel rim is an odd shape around the fingers, almost maybe like it was set up for thick racing gloves. I did like that the paddles were attached to the wheel. If you drive with two hads then you always know which fingers do what. That is of course if you like the whole flappy paddle idea.

The suspemsion tranny controls are not exactly intuitive, but you would get used to them. At speed everything feels slightly disconected. I found the only suspension setting that had good rebound damping was track. The paddles are Ok but frankly you can just leave it in auto. The acceleration is really fast, but did not feel epic like say a zo6. There is some slight turbo lag and different rates of accleration here and there depending on what the turbos are doing. To really get driving pleasure out of it you would need to be at a track, where the epic handling and power could be used. So capable is the car that where is the fun below 9/10ths, which already translates to a speed only achevable on the autobahn. The brakes though, and these were the steels were the nicest and best of any car I have ever driven. a firm pedal with no slop and braking can be metered so precisely with pedal pressure.

You can see out of it grreat and use it as a daily easily. Lastly the motor sound, at any type of "speed" there is no motor muisic, just loud blare, its also not a particularily smooth unit. I remember the Jaguar XJ200 motor was described as powerful but sounding like a bucket of bolts, maybe not that bad but you get the idea.. There is also a bit of wind noise here and there and there sounded like some loose exhaust pannels at lower speeds. Its like if lotus had stayed in business and built a esprit. A very nice car, but not a seminal one.

The 458, I love the looks, but its wide, maybe too wide for windys, but this also makes a spacious more airy cockpit. The Italians do aromatic leather so well, it makes the interior feel special in away the maclaren does not. That being said plenty of cheap plasticky bits abound, especialy things like door handles and various dash pieces. The Steering wheel is busy, I gues you woudl learn it in time.

Steering Feel is even less than the Maclaren, its basicaly nonexistent, but the compensation is ultra sharp steering, maybe a bit too sharp. Even going slow you need two hands on the wheel to progress smoothly. The tranny is clearly better than the Malcaren especialy doing paddle shift which are both faster and smoother. The ride is harder, but its relative, neither car has really soft intitail impact, the maclren maybe has more compliance. But the Ferrai feels more alive in terms of suspension on the road. the Motor is real smooth and very torquey till 3000 revs. After that its suprisingly flat till the last few thousand when it goes beserk. The result is that your either driving around town, or dropping three gears to go into manic mode. The motor sounds like an F! at full wail, truly epic. I thought the brakes sucked.

Hre is the thing with these cars. they are both designed to be traffic daily driveable, and they are superb at this. At the other end of the spectrum on a track say they would have truly epic performance. On the road though though tighter bends and twisties they are fast but just not really that much fun, both have weird steering in different ways. Its almost like both manufacturers were trying too hard to make a statement, instead of just building great driving cars.

I took both the Maclren and ferrari through some 120 ish bends, it was like a so what experience, almost like I was tapping a keyboard and telling the car what to do.

Now for the GT3. It was a revelation. the Motor sounded almost as good as the ferrari and was the smoothest of the punch. The power delivery was consistent thought, building with revs, so you could nete out power through the pedal exactly. the steering was as it should be, not toto heavy, too light or too sharp. You could as a consequence place the car exatly where you wanted on the road, much like a lotus only better. The stick allowed you to slot the exact gear how and when you wanted. Paddles are sequential. The stick also shifted like a Miata, even the knob fit the hand perfectly.

What the porche had, which the other two lacked was a man machine interface, the car spoke to you and you spoke to it, the man and the machine could meld into one. It also felt compact and narrow. As a result It was fun driving at all speeds, even if spec says its slower than the other two. If I could go get a new GT3 today I would, the other two would be fun if you had a lot of cars and wanted to try them as drive around cars, but are not must haves. It you love your lotus, thinbk of the Gt3 as a well built lotus on seroids with a great motor.

Now to the 512 Boxer. Compared to the other three it felt slow, but in 4th gear could work thorugh traffic and blasts here and there better than all save the GT3. It had a sense of occasion, It feels bespoke, and also the smoothest motor. To go fast, you have to work it, and this provdes reward. The same 120ish bend in the boxer required concertration skill and work, it made for a rewarding driving experience.

If youre going to drive on public roads a GT3 is awsome, if you want exotic a Boxer provides a superior experience to the MP12 and 458. On the track the boxer would be dead last, the GT3 most fun, the Ferrari fastest and the Macca probably easiest.

But I cant help thinking that everything the 458 and Mp12 offer is avaialble in a Nissan GTR, except maybe badge and looks. When the boxer was new, there was vast performance and experience difference between it and mortal cars. Today with the moderns the performance difference is really not so huge, even a M5 is fast. What ferrari and Maclaren need to work on is the driving experience, something that rewards at all speeds. These cars today, are like video games you ride in, which is Ok but there is so much more to a sports car than that, it should be a full imersion experience. Interestingly Ferrari says that they are going to be adding driving fun back to the equation, just as porche seems to be losing it. Is the new GT3 going to have electric steering a flappy paddles? so it will be faster, but so what.

Now if you drive a Lotus youre missing nothing in terms of fun driving experience, the only one of the moderns that matches it for fun is the Gt3, and yes it has all the feel of a lotus, just faster, if not as raw.
 

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Good stuff!

Headed to local C&C in about 10 mins and I guarantee each of those cars will be represented. Typically I'll walk the lot and play "if money was not a factor what would I want to drive" - I think for my tastes the 512 wins...and I'd want to own the 458 for aesthetic reasons - gorgeous.

I've sat in the MP12 - that car does nothing for me.
 

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It is odd, but a modern Ferrari smells great, like living inside a football. :)

Now, as to the aromatic qualities of an Elise .... :eek:

The owner's manual does say that the car isn't water tight. ;)
 

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boxerman
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Discussion Starter #4
The smell is that of fine aromatic leather, think of a fine leather jacket.

The Mclaren has those leather seats the Japanese Gm and even BMW do so well, its leather but looks and feels close to plastic.

My lotus has aglue smell strangely reminicent of honey. A friend has a series 1 elise, he says it still smells like glue.
 

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boxerman
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Discussion Starter #5
Good stuff!

Headed to local C&C in about 10 mins and I guarantee each of those cars will be represented. Typically I'll walk the lot and play "if money was not a factor what would I want to drive" - I think for my tastes the 512 wins...and I'd want to own the 458 for aesthetic reasons - gorgeous.

I've sat in the MP12 - that car does nothing for me.
Of the Mid engined ferraris the 288 is astheticaly tops then the 512 Boxer then 458. The 458 is witout a doubt the most beautiful of the moderns, except maybe the 456, which is really dissapointing to drive..

But put a 458 next to a clean design like a boxer or even a euro 308 and you can see where size and legislation have led to heavyness in shape which they then use color variations to hide. 458 still georgeous though even with some tacky pastic bits inside, too bad it was such a dissapointment to drive.

When you hop in a elise and get going you can feel its great, everything is alive and works as it should. Frankly short of extreme velocitoes which can only be acheived on unpatroled highways youre not going faster or having anymore fun in anything on a twisty road or even trafficky highway compared to a lotus, Ok maybe a GT3 because of the torque and linear motor, but nothing else really comes close that I have tried. Comfort not thats another story, and what an M3 or SUV is for.
 

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My Elise smells very nice inside, of good leather and it's a solid, but not too strong or overpowering smell. Even if I leave the top off all the time, which I do, anytime I close the top and roll up the windows, I can smell the leather.

Now... the Noble... with the Alcantara interior, smells like a sweaty German tourist... no matter how much I leave the windows down, and I leave it down all the time, even while driving on the freeway, it won't get rid of the smell. I am thinking about just washing the interior pieces.
 

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Nice writeup!

I think I speak for most when I say we lament the loss of man/machine connection. Too many gadgets, too many interferences when it comes to new cars. The most complex bit of electronics in the car, other than the basic ECU, should be the radio. That's it.
 

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Nice writeup!

I think I speak for most when I say we lament the loss of man/machine connection. Too many gadgets, too many interferences when it comes to new cars. The most complex bit of electronics in the car, other than the basic ECU, should be the radio. That's it.
Totally agree. That it's why I went from the ultra competent but way over complicated BMW 650i to the Lotus Elise, which weighed almost half as much and had zero electronics other than the push start.

The Noble stayed in the same vein of pure car without the complications. It makes you feel like you're driving, not the machine interpreting what you're doing, then driving.
 

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Great review though from what I have heard (not in person mind you) the MP4 can't be THAT bad of an exhaust... can it?


Was it the sport version?
 

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boxerman
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Discussion Starter #10
Great review though from what I have heard (not in person mind you) the MP4 can't be THAT bad of an exhaust... can it?


Was it the sport version?
It was the sport exhaust, volume was not the issue, it was all just noise though, like a blare with no tone. Soprano it was not, an elise sounds way way better by comparison, and it was nothing like the 458 which was great if not synthetic. The GT3 was the real thing all around, no fakery.

BTW went on a run with local Ferrari club sunday. Seems 360's and 430's with a stick are worth 10k more these days and out of 10 that were there half had the stick, and those were the ones being DRIVEN as opposed to cruised.
 

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boxerman
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Discussion Starter #11
Totally agree. That it's why I went from the ultra competent but way over complicated BMW 650i to the Lotus Elise, which weighed almost half as much and had zero electronics other than the push start.

The Noble stayed in the same vein of pure car without the complications. It makes you feel like you're driving, not the machine interpreting what you're doing, then driving.

How do you enjoy the Noble. Have you tracked it ever, was thinking this would be the ideal elise upgrade ever since seeing a Rossion at the track.
 

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How do you enjoy the Noble. Have you tracked it ever, was thinking this would be the ideal elise upgrade ever since seeing a Rossion at the track.
Read one review which encapsulated it perfectly... something along the lines of, if an Exige grew up, this is what it would be....:clap:

The Noble is pretty much an improvement in every way you could want out of the Exige platform, including:

+ Easier ingress/egress, no stupid tall sills:shrug:
+ More spacious interior, not that it's that hard to do compared to the Exige
+ More comfortable interior with more carpets and plusher seats
+ Way way way more power and torque:up:
+ Better interior appointments, again, not a big feat
+ Not much more weight, at 2,400 pounds claimed:coolnana:
+ Not much more money, might be cheaper than that S240 or S260 even
+ Clams swing out both ends for easier maintenance and access
+ Power steering:shift:
+ Front sway bars and full roll cage standard (on the M400)
+ Same quirky and unpredictable British handbuilt quality:DV:
+ Decent mpg too if you don't hammer it all the time, mid-20's for me
+ Way better view out front with the generous cockpit:D
+ Better view out the rear for backing up than the Exige, not the Elise
+ Way more rare than any Elige
+ True exotic supercar, no debate about it like with the Elige/Evora:evil:

Yes, I really like my Noble, but truth be told, it is a very scary car to drive on the street. You can light up the rear tires rolling in 2nd or 3rd just like that by stepping on the fun pedal. Done it accidentally once... or twice.:shift:

I had it for a little more than +2 months, haven't tracked it, heck, haven't finished with the tedious registration process in CA and haven't fully sorted it out yet, which every Noble owner has had to go through I guess... but eventually, when I find the right time at AutoClub Speedway, I do intend on seeing how fast I can make myself soil my undergarments.:UK:
 

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boxerman
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Discussion Starter #13
Yes read a few threads on Nobles, its the sorting that scars me off. Plus not suren that the way the turbos ramp up power that you can really balance it on a track. Very cool car though.

Would love to hear from someone who has tracked a lotus and a Noble/rossion.
 

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Yes read a few threads on Nobles, its the sorting that scars me off. Plus not suren that the way the turbos ramp up power that you can really balance it on a track. Very cool car though.

Would love to hear from someone who has tracked a lotus and a Noble/rossion.
I will honestly say it generates the most brutal acceleration that I have ever felt in a car and it will give any literbike I have ridden a good run for the money.

I only agreed to buy the car because I have raced an open class formula 1 GSXR1000 for a few years on the track and thought I was able to handle whatever could be dished out on 4 wheels... yeah... I thought I was king **** because I was able to handle big motor on 2 wheels and got cocky.

First time I punched it in the Noble and spun the tires in 2nd gear at 60mph... and the other time when I spun the tires in 3rd gear... at a higher speed... and the car fishtailed back and forth a few times before regaining grip... I decided that I was nowhere close to being able to handle this car.

There is a guy who races his Noble on the west coast. He will be racing BW soon and running Fontana beginning next year. I plan on going out there and talking to him and the Turbo Hoses crew to learn more about the car and how it is at the limits.
 

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Can't wait to see your Noble in person!!!!!
 

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Can't wait to see your Noble in person!!!!!
Mine is nowhere as clean or pristine as my buddy's that you will also see on Saturday. But mine is red and his is grey, so I do have a few extra horsepowers from the color alone.

You'll learn all about the differences between his M12 GTO 3R and my M400 and how we like each other's car better. You'll learn things you have no interest in... The only cure is to run away screaming from us.
 
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