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Can Front-wheel Drive cars be sportscars?


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I really get a kick out of people bashing the SRT-4's because.... it's just a neon....

Have you ever looked at a base Lancer? Talk about a complete piece of crap..... but people seem to love the evo's which I cannot understand why :)

It's also not about how much money you can dump into a car because that is only a very small part of the picture. Drivers skill is a very important factor, at least when at a roadcoarse it is.
 

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I will give the EVO a pardon though, because really it isn't anything like the base Lancer. Its the exception to the rule in terms of upgraded economy cars.

I don't think very much is shared. Different chassis, different drive line, different body panels. The dash may be about the only thing thats the same :D
 

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Wait, it IS a different chassis? That makes me rethink my view on whether the EVO is a sports car, from that other thread.
 

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yea... it's the same car....

same chassis just like your car is the same as a neon & my viggen is the same as a base 9-3. They did slightly restyle the exterior & added AWD, a better motor/suspension, but the chassis & interior is the same (except the seats).


I do not beleive the EVO's & STi's are sports cars. Sport sedans yes because they weigh to much, have to many doors, to many seats etc to be a sports car. It's not that they cannot beat many sports cars around a roadcoarse or on a rally stage, their base design just doesn't throw them in that class :)

Then again I feel some of the exotic cars like the Veyron as well as some cars out of Japan like the Supra's, 3000GT's & 300z's aren't sports cars either. They are GT cars due to their weight & amount of electorinc crap.... :)

on a completely different subject.... I am here on this site because I cannot decide between a Elise or a Esprit both of which to me are sports cars .... :) Somehow I got sucked into this debate
 

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Viggen said:
yea... it's the same car....

same chassis just like your car is the same as a neon & my viggen is the same as a base 9-3. They did slightly restyle the exterior & added AWD, a better motor/suspension, but the chassis & interior is the same (except the seats).


I do not beleive the EVO's & STi's are sports cars. Sport sedans yes because they weigh to much, have to many doors, to many seats etc to be a sports car. It's not that they cannot beat many sports cars around a roadcoarse or on a rally stage, their base design just doesn't throw them in that class :)

Then again I feel some of the exotic cars like the Veyron as well as some cars out of Japan like the Supra's, 3000GT's & 300z's aren't sports cars either. They are GT cars due to their weight & amount of electorinc crap.... :)

on a completely different subject.... I am here on this site because I cannot decide between a Elise or a Esprit both of which to me are sports cars .... :) Somehow I got sucked into this debate
You need to read a bit more. Fully seam-welded, only other major production car to do this is the 911.
 

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Hmm.......this thread lacks a bit of realism.

First, if you haven't driven a car you can't comment on it effectively. Overall, I'd agree that FWD cars aren't generally going to make the cut when it comes to a "true sportcar" (regardless how ambiguous one's definition might be). But, the M100 Elan IS a true sportcar. All you have to do is DRIVE one to see for yourself. This thread would be more aptly named "Is there only one true FWD sportcar?" The answer, then, would be YES!

Second, shame on all you Lotus owners that haven't said yes to this poll. And I do mean LOTUS owners, not "ELise" owners. You bought a LOTUS and there's an unwritten rule about loving all that is Lotus (even the quirks and other crap we all deal with). You Elise owners owes a lot to the M100 (and other past Lotus models) that lead to the car you love to drive today.

Those that understand what the M100 is have probably said yes to this poll. That's because you know you bought a LOTUS and understand the rich heritage behind the Lotus marquee. The Lotus you bought just happened to be ab Elise - the current state of Lotus design. In fact, you probably WANTED to buy a Lotus regardless of the Elise badge. The rest of you didn't buy a Lotus, you bought an Elise. You bought some fast street racer called an Elise or Exige that was a status symbol and makes you stand out in a crowd. Oh.....its made by Lotus? Think I've heard of them.....

Rule #1 when answering polls. Get educated before voting.
 

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good point about getting educated before voting. I'll quote wikipedia here (I didn't see that done in this thread): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_car

Some sport cars have used use the front-engine, front-wheel drive layout (FF), e.g. Lotus Elan M100, Fiat Coupé, Fiat Barchetta, Saab Sonett, and many Berkeley cars. This layout is advantageous for small, light, lower power sports cars, as it avoids the extra weight, increased transmission power loss, and packaging problems of a long driveshaft and longitudinal engine of FR vehicles. Yet, its conservative handling effect, particularly understeer, and the fact that many drivers, believing FR more appropriate for a sports car, this layout is atypical to high-performance sports cars. The FF layout, however, is common in sport compacts and hot hatches, such as the Honda Civic Si and Type-R, the Volkswagen Golf GTi, and the Peugeot 205 GTi.
 

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Elanlover said:
Hmm.......this thread lacks a bit of realism.

First, if you haven't driven a car you can't comment on it effectively. Overall, I'd agree that FWD cars aren't generally going to make the cut when it comes to a "true sportcar" (regardless how ambiguous one's definition might be). But, the M100 Elan IS a true sportcar. All you have to do is DRIVE one to see for yourself. This thread would be more aptly named "Is there only one true FWD sportcar?" The answer, then, would be YES!

Second, shame on all you Lotus owners that haven't said yes to this poll. And I do mean LOTUS owners, not "ELise" owners. You bought a LOTUS and there's an unwritten rule about loving all that is Lotus (even the quirks and other crap we all deal with). You Elise owners owes a lot to the M100 (and other past Lotus models) that lead to the car you love to drive today.

Those that understand what the M100 is have probably said yes to this poll. That's because you know you bought a LOTUS and understand the rich heritage behind the Lotus marquee. The Lotus you bought just happened to be ab Elise - the current state of Lotus design. In fact, you probably WANTED to buy a Lotus regardless of the Elise badge. The rest of you didn't buy a Lotus, you bought an Elise. You bought some fast street racer called an Elise or Exige that was a status symbol and makes you stand out in a crowd. Oh.....its made by Lotus? Think I've heard of them.....

Rule #1 when answering polls. Get educated before voting.
I think that you may be too emotionally involved (regarding the M100) to have a clear and unbiased view of the situation.

I'll agree that the M100 is a sports car but as a GENERAL RULE, sports cars are RWD. It's a common fact understood by the entire industry.
 

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But this thread simply asked...

Is there an FWD sportscar or not?

The M100 is a sportscar. It is FWD. Therefore, the answer is yes, case closed, no?
 

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Slade said:
good point about getting educated before voting. I'll quote wikipedia here (I didn't see that done in this thread): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_car

Some sport cars have used use the front-engine, front-wheel drive layout (FF), e.g. Lotus Elan M100, Fiat Coupé, Fiat Barchetta, Saab Sonett, and many Berkeley cars. This layout is advantageous for small, light, lower power sports cars, as it avoids the extra weight, increased transmission power loss, and packaging problems of a long driveshaft and longitudinal engine of FR vehicles. Yet, its conservative handling effect, particularly understeer, and the fact that many drivers, believing FR more appropriate for a sports car, this layout is atypical to high-performance sports cars. The FF layout, however, is common in sport compacts and hot hatches, such as the Honda Civic Si and Type-R, the Volkswagen Golf GTi, and the Peugeot 205 GTi.
Well, I'm into it now and there's no turning back. :eek:

Slade, not sure what you're saying from that wik quote. FWD can or can't be a sportscar??? So, without knowing for sure let me just add that the Elan is remarkable becuase it changed the general thinking that all sportscars must be RWD. If you've never driven one you'll be amazed. Zero torque steer, spectacular - race inspried handling, magnificent fun and still raced on the track today.

Someone on a post elsewhere here (think it was one about 4 door cars being sportscars) commented that a sports car is designed to be just that from its inception. Not a car that someone makes sporty when its already mostly designed. The Elan was definitely that. A good read through Mark Hughes book on the build and history of the Elan would convince anyone its a true sportcar.

Or, a run on the track ;)
 

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mini63 said:
I think that you may be too emotionally involved (regarding the M100) to have a clear and unbiased view of the situation.
Guilty as charged. Was my login name a clue? :D But, there's a reason why som many M100 owners are fanatical about their car. It can be a terror on the track but still be a fabulous daily driver.



mini63 said:
I'll agree that the M100 is a sports car but as a GENERAL RULE, sports cars are RWD. It's a common fact understood by the entire industry.
Agree completely. I think it would be hard to make a case for any other FWD car to fall into this category. Perhaps not impossible, but not as easily as you can build a case for the M100. I'd let smarter people than I debate that one.

Let's not forget that Lotus were and always have been innovators. Making the first (and possibly only) FWD sportscar was a challenge they took on and succeded with.
 

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bhtooefr said:
But this thread simply asked...

Is there an FWD sportscar or not?

The M100 is a sportscar. It is FWD. Therefore, the answer is yes, case closed, no?
I said GENERAL RULE. There are obvious exceptions with the M100 definitely being one of them.

All that I'm saying is that my opinion isn't biased (though this may be too strong of a word) by the fact that I own a FWD car. I'm going on what I've read from industry experts and professional drivers in books, magazines, etc. - I've owned (and loved) both FWD and RWD cars and don't have a special interest in either layout.
 

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Elanlover said:
Guilty as charged. Was my login name a clue? :D But, there's a reason why som many M100 owners are fanatical about their car. It can be a terror on the track but still be a fabulous daily driver.





Agree completely. I think it would be hard to make a case for any other FWD car to fall into this category. Perhaps not impossible, but not as easily as you can build a case for the M100. I'd let smarter people than I debate that one.

Let's not forget that Lotus were and always have been innovators. Making the first (and possibly only) FWD sportscar was a challenge they took on and succeded with.
Very good point indeed! Lotus has always been a trend-setter.
 

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Discussion Starter #75
Elanlover said:
Hmm.......this thread lacks a bit of realism.

First, if you haven't driven a car you can't comment on it effectively. Overall, I'd agree that FWD cars aren't generally going to make the cut when it comes to a "true sportcar" (regardless how ambiguous one's definition might be). But, the M100 Elan IS a true sportcar. All you have to do is DRIVE one to see for yourself. This thread would be more aptly named "Is there only one true FWD sportcar?" The answer, then, would be YES!

Second, shame on all you Lotus owners that haven't said yes to this poll. And I do mean LOTUS owners, not "ELise" owners. You bought a LOTUS and there's an unwritten rule about loving all that is Lotus (even the quirks and other crap we all deal with). You Elise owners owes a lot to the M100 (and other past Lotus models) that lead to the car you love to drive today.

Those that understand what the M100 is have probably said yes to this poll. That's because you know you bought a LOTUS and understand the rich heritage behind the Lotus marquee. The Lotus you bought just happened to be ab Elise - the current state of Lotus design. In fact, you probably WANTED to buy a Lotus regardless of the Elise badge. The rest of you didn't buy a Lotus, you bought an Elise. You bought some fast street racer called an Elise or Exige that was a status symbol and makes you stand out in a crowd. Oh.....its made by Lotus? Think I've heard of them.....

Rule #1 when answering polls. Get educated before voting.
I still haven't heard a satisfactory answer to my questions about the M100.

Sure the M100 is sporty, and given the Lotus edge perhaps it's the Platypus of sportscars...

But really, and no hatred for the cute little M100, but why oh why did Lotus make it FWD? And if it was such a great car, why are there no FWD Lotus cars today... or better yet, why were there not any FWD cars before the M100?

In regards to performance I think FWD cars are wasteful, which is wholly contrarian to the typical Lotus philosophy as has been presented in its past and current cars. Why place all the weight at the front of the car? Why drag around two wheels that do absolutely nothing but coast along for the ride?

Seems very uncharacteristic of Lotus, and pretty lame to me. Personally I think the M100 was a momentary lapse of reason on Lotus' part, an interesting experiment taken to completion, nothing more... which is probably why there never were any FWD Lotus before or after.

How many Lotus models are there to date? Over 100? Well the M100 is ~1% (or less) of all Lotus models ever made.

You history buffs can probably get to the bottom of this one (e.g. total number of Lotus models to date), but I could be confused by other Lotus models like the bicycles, etc. that Lotus design made... then again even the Lotus bicycle was/is RWD :)
 

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PhlypSide said:
I still haven't heard a satisfactory answer to my questions about the M100.

Sure the M100 is sporty, and given the Lotus edge perhaps it's the Platypus of sportscars...

But really, and no hatred for the cute little M100, but why oh why did Lotus make it FWD? And if it was such a great car, why are there no FWD Lotus cars today... or better yet, why were there not any FWD cars before the M100?

Ok, just for you, since you seem to be the one most against FWD's being potential sportscars, i'm going to pull out my Mark Hughes M100 "bible" and quote some M100 scriptuure to you. The book, by the way, was written with the assistance of many Lotus engineers and is generally considered to be the gospel on the car (staying with the religious theme and all).



PhlypSide said:
In regards to performance I think FWD cars are wasteful, which is wholly contrarian to the typical Lotus philosophy as has been presented in its past and current cars. Why place all the weight at the front of the car? Why drag around two wheels that do absolutely nothing but coast along for the ride?
Hmm......so, if Colin Chapman himself said FWD has some advantages over RWD in a "sportscar" design would you change your heretical views become born again and worship at the M100 altar??? ;)



PhlypSide said:
Seems very uncharacteristic of Lotus, and pretty lame to me. Personally I think the M100 was a momentary lapse of reason on Lotus' part, an interesting experiment taken to completion, nothing more... which is probably why there never were any FWD Lotus before or after.
Oh contraire mon ami. As we'll soon see after I get working on finding some excerps for you. There were some solid reasons for chosing a FWD platform and not all of them were cost related. There's were some performance gains too. As to why another FWD Lotus hasn't been made I can think of 2 reasons.

1. Dumba$$ types who couldn't/wouldn't believe that you could get a fantastic SPORTSCAR in FWD (plenty of that in North America)

2. All Wheel Drive getting better and cheaper.



PhlypSide said:
How many Lotus models are there to date? Over 100? Well the M100 is ~1% (or less) of all Lotus models ever made.
Well, a real Lotus buff would know that there aren't over 100 Lotus models. Even with variations of the same model (S2, S3, S4, etc.) I doubt you'd hit more than 25 or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #77
Awesome, alot of rhetoric from you Elanlover, but not a single answer :) unless you count your last point, which I admittedly already said, I'm no Lotus history buff so I can't really make an accurate comment on how many Lotus models there are (especially if you include things like bicycles and what not).

Maybe I'll change my mind and say the M100 is the Duckbilled Platypus of the sportscar world because it is FWD, but then again I wouldn't want to start a "dangerous" precedent, even with my nobody-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things opinion. :)

If you (generic 2nd person) say FWD cars can be sportscars, then you'll have all the hot hatch fanbois and boyracers coming out of the woodworks to applaud you for backing the very notion that their FWD lump is a sportscar and not a "hotted up" (and I use the term loosely) grocery getter/fuel saver/git_protection_device/appliance car.
 

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PhlypSide said:
I respect the M100, but if they were soo great, why aren't there any FWD Lotus cars today? (I don't think there were any before either.)
This seems like a pretty dumb argument. For one, your question wasn't "are there any FWD sports cars that are financially viable to produce and sell in today's market". Whether it was a flop or not, or whether economic, social, or technological factors have changed since a cars introduction shouldn't bear on whether it's a sports car.

Are cars from the 30's, 40's, or 50's with 0-60 times in the 7-10+ second range no longer sports cars? Are discontinued model lines no longer sports cars? The Jag XJ220 was a big flop, is it just a sporty coupe because of it? I could go on, but I assume you get the point.

However, the more I read your replies and see you ripping on specific cars (and worse, specific owners of those cars) like the SRT-4 and M100, and saying things like how FWD is fine for soccer moms, but not real drivers, the more it becomes clear that you aren't interested in a discussion of this topic. But rather you just want to assert a statement about the supremacy of the car you chose to buy.

I'd ask a question of you then. Can any car modern car with a power to weight ratio worse than 10lbs/hp be considered a real sports car? How about a car with a n/a 4-banger? Or how about a car with no professional racing pedigree? If a car is a last-ditch effort to bail out a failing automaker, can it still be considered a sports car?

Or maybe, all those things are irrelevant to the point. Perhaps all that matters is that the car has a focus on performance over other things, that it feels at home on a road-course, an auto-cross, a drag-strip, or wherever. And that it's owners have fun while driving it and enjoy owning it.
 

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Uhhmmm........Phylp, there's no rhetoric here, just promises. Were you unable to figure that out? I don't walk around with all my Lotus historical sources on a CD in my back pocket. So, as I promised, and just for you, I'll look up the relevant information and post it when I can.

By the way, there were a few answers if you read the post carefully. Reasons for FWD for example.............. at least some hints at the worst. I said was that I'd get the quotes and data so any claims don't just look like someone talking out of their butt for fun.

And I (not generic 2nd person at all) clearly said there's really only 1 FWD sportscar out there. The M100. And that there likely wouldn't be any others that could meet a stringent definition of a sportscar (although others might and will argue that). So, is this your fear? That as soon as someone acknowledges that 1 FWD sportscar exists everyone with a FWD car with a free flowing muffler and open air intake will think the same?

Sheesh. :eek:


Bottom line is this. Don't comment unless you've driven one. You're spouting off like you just KNOW there can't be any FWD sportscars and you've not even had any experience behind the wheel of the one car that broke the mold. Until then you're view is interesting, an entitlement for sure but uneducated. When someone with significantly more experience on an issue than I makes a statement, I tend to go with what they say unless I can find evidence otherwise (Edit: actually, I find this happens a lot to me....... ;) )

I'd be happy to discuss your opinions on why the M100 isn't a sportscar should you have any facts or stats to disprove so otherwise. And, no, the fact its FWD isn't a reason.
 

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PhlypSide said:
In regards to performance I think FWD cars are wasteful, which is wholly contrarian to the typical Lotus philosophy as has been presented in its past and current cars. Why place all the weight at the front of the car? Why drag around two wheels that do absolutely nothing but coast along for the ride?
Another odd thing to say. Have you ever owned a FWD car? If you had, I suspect you've had to change the rear tires on it. :crazyeyes

The rear wheels on a FWD car do all the same things they do on a RWD except put power to the ground. They carry weight, brake, and apply cornering force.

As far as wasteful, FWD cars generally speaking have less powertrain loss. The trannies are generally more compact, and they don't have the extra weight of the driveshaft.

To flip your point, why place all the weight at the rear of the car? The fronts do the turning and braking. Your car has a 38/62 weight bias, right? That's probably more uneven than most FWD cars. Why place all that weight at the rear of the car? Is it to better put the brutal 133lb-ft of torque to the ground?
 
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