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When on other forums, especially those of which seem to have a lower median age than this one, I have been getting chastised for merely suggesting that the new Nissan GT-R doesn't give me a woody. They bite my head off (despite the fact that I have driven it and they have not), when I offer that I found the GT-R not really all that fun to drive. They start spouting off magazine racing numbers and how it beat this car or that car and that all the magazines are loving it, yadda, yadda, yadda. I try to argue that faster does not equal better or more fun to drive, but I just get flamed.

The reasoning for my disappointment is that the car is just too capable to be able to use properly. Sure, the acceleration is fun, for about 5 seconds, then you have to jam on the brakes (and other cars offer more drama when accelerating), but the reality is that the sweet spot at which the car is fun is barely, if at all, approachable on the road. Below warp speed the car is dare I say, boring.
I have felt the same about other really fast modern cars too, but at least with some of the high end cars they look great and sound good too, and they can be a status symbol also, if you are into that kind of thing.

Sure you can take it to the track, but I think you have to be nuts to drive that fast without a cage and other proper safety equipment, just because you are on the track does not mean you are immune to a big wreck that can kill you

Nissan may have raised the bar, but IMO they also raised the fun bar too, making it harder to get to.

Anyhow, I found this article on www.lateralg.org and thought it hit the nail on the head. Not trying to turn this into a GT-R discussion, but that car to me is the poster child for this issue.
Enjoy

Smiles Per Hour
CAR Magazine, November 2007, Gavin Green

A British MEP, Mr Chris Davies of the Liberal Democrats, wants to restrict the top speed of cars to l00mph. Limiting the maximum speed, says Mr Davies, will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. 'It is political and environmental lunacy. People cannot drive at these speeds legally. It is just boys' toys.'

Give that man a Ferrari for a weekend and hope he gets a life. I'm certainly not in favour of any more new car legislation - the car business has enough restrictions imposed by over-anxious politicians already. But this political wowser (whisper it) actually has a point.

Maximum speed mania is hurting European sporting cars. We've never had so many cars that can do 150mph-plus (but where?) and so many sporting cars that offer such flavourless driving experiences at 70mph-minus. If our car makers voluntarily agreed to restrict maximum speed to, say, 125mph, sports cars and sports saloons would be different. And better.

Maximum speed is currently the most meaningless of all performance criteria. We could argue whether this should be so. Tyres and brakes have never been better, roads have never been finer and the need for speed (oh, our hectic lifestyle!) has never been greater.

We could argue. But we will not. This debate has been fought and lost - though not fought very well by the pro-speed lobby. Its most eloquent advocate, the late LJK Setright, once nobly argued that speed actually saves lives. Speed saves time. And more time surely means more life. Anyway, the chances now of any government sanctioning l00mph-plus speeds on the M1 or M4 are about as likely as Jeremy Clarkson becoming the next environment secretary.

So why design cars that can do 150mph (or even 200mph)? Remove this marketing requirement - for it is now no more than sales sheen - and motorway missiles become transformed into smaller, lighter, more beautiful, more touchy-feely sporting cars that encourage smiles per hour, not miles per hour. There is no need for a vast barrel-chestedV8, V10 or V12 that, perforce, breeds huge tyres, bigwheels, chunky suspension, huge fuel tanks, bulky transmissions and - as part of this circle of strife - bloated bodies to clothe these mighty, meaty mechanicals and complicated electronic controls to tame them.

As cars become smaller and lighter - a sure corollary of reducing maximum speeds - so they will use less fuel, which is good for everyone, and popular with Mr Davies. But they also become more fun to drive. They become more agile, more responsive. Drive a big 150mph Audi or Mercedes and you get about as much seat-of-the-pants sensation as lying in bed. A new breed of small, light sports cars would offer real road thrills. They can be shorter-geared too: acceleration, after all, is more thrilling than ultimate velocity. Just ask any Ducati rider.

The most virtuous sporting cars are never the fastest. The best modem Ferrari to drive is not the fastest (the Enzo) but rather the least powerful (the F430). The sweet Mazda MX-5 (top speed 130 mph) is way more fun to steer than one of those weaponry-on-wheels AMG Mere monsters, all firepower and no finesse. The latest, technically awesome, BMW M3 is less responsive and agile than the original four-cylinder, track-proven, lightweight E30. The Porsche Cayman is more harmonious than any 911 (and not that much slower, either). The finest sports car for raw driving enjoyment remains the Lotus Elise, which is so light that it forsakes enjoyment-cancellation devices such as power steering. It is the most responsive and most intuitive car in the world.

Cut top speeds and cars can once more be styled by artists rather than scientists. The ultimate aerodynamic car is the Ferrari Enzo. It works brilliantly at 200mph. But looks gawky at standstill.

So no, Mr Davies, there is too much Big Brother government already, restricting our freedom, handcuffing our finest designers and stymying the creativity of our engineers. But if you do manage to slow the top speed of sports cars, you may be doing us all a favour.
 

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The top speed limitation discussion is lso going on over here. Personally I would mind if they topped the max speed to 150 km/h. That is as long as the manufatcurer is allowed to have the gears sorted in that way (and torque an hp are free) that a sprint from 0 to top speed in 4 sec or less is doable.

BTW the loweringspeed for CO reduction is b*ll in my book. I am sure I am more CO friendly doing 60 in 6 than 45 in 3rd........
 

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"The finest sports car for raw driving enjoyment remains the Lotus Elise, which is so light that it forsakes enjoyment-cancellation devices such as power steering. It is the most responsive and most intuitive car in the world."

I'll wager you won't get much argument here! (But I still want a supercharger...is that bad?)

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #4
"The finest sports car for raw driving enjoyment remains the Lotus Elise, which is so light that it forsakes enjoyment-cancellation devices such as power steering. It is the most responsive and most intuitive car in the world."

I'll wager you won't get much argument here! (But I still want a supercharger...is that bad?)

Tom
Having just driven my dads Elise with the BWR SC in it, I would say it is worth it because it makes the power delivery much better and reduces the 2nd cam nonsense, not so much that the car is all that much faster
 

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Having just driven my dads Elise with the BWR SC in it, I would say it is worth it because it makes the power delivery much better and reduces the 2nd cam nonsense, not so much that the car is all that much faster
Excellent...I'm moving one step closer! But now CharlieX has thrown a monkey wrench (dare I use that term rotfl ) into my choices...but that's good probelm to have.

Tom
 

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Even if they limited the top speed, the muscle-car minded buyer would still want 600hp beasts. They would still go out and see who could get to the top speed the quickest.

xtn
 

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+1. One of the reasons that I bought a motorcycle is the fun factor. My bike can't do much more than ~115 but I could care less. It will do 0-60 in 4 seconds or so because of the power to weight ratio. And I get 40+ MPG. I get my kicks on the high G low speed corners I find. I get bored driving pretty much any car anymore after the first few drives.
 

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fun is very subjective....
as for motorcycles, sometimes i get bored on my current ride cause it doesnt do wheelies...
cars are fun for various different reasons to various different people.
as far as the gt-r, i bet its a blast on exit ramps, open tracks, and maybe nice twisty roads....havent driven it so i cant comment directly.
 

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fun is very subjective....
as for motorcycles, sometimes i get bored on my current ride cause it doesnt do wheelies...
cars are fun for various different reasons to various different people.
as far as the gt-r, i bet its a blast on exit ramps, open tracks, and maybe nice twisty roads....havent driven it so i cant comment directly.
Yeah, that is true. Some people like going fast in a straight line. I don't. I like the look of muscle cars, I hate their handling. To each their own.
 

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I agree with the article's author 100%.

I am always polite when people (especially the cop at the gas station the other day) say "How fast does it go then?" but feel like saying "around what radius of curve?"

Despite all my attempts to block the memory I still recall some appalling film from the last century "Gumball Rally???" where cars "raced" along straight roads taking turns to inch ahead of each other - grimacing with the effort.... It would appear that these cars had fluctuating top speeds...

Ludicrous.

EDIT - And thanks for reminding me that LJK Setright once inhabited the planet... a Great British Eccentric. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2005/sep/19/guardianobituaries.pressandpublishing
 

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Yeah, that is true. Some people like going fast in a straight line. I don't. I like the look of muscle cars, I hate their handling. To each their own.
i like em all.
i like balanced cars, i like a bit of everything....i like powerful cars that can handle too....
 

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The last thing we need is more legislation. Let us buy what we want. Rising gas prices will dictate what some of us can afford to drive. That's part of a free market.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The last thing we need is more legislation. Let us buy what we want. Rising gas prices will dictate what some of us can afford to drive. That's part of a free market.
You missed the point
 

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Sorry. I would agree with you that the car, in most situations, would never approach the "fun" realm. I have often wondered about other so called super cars. How much fun could a 4,000 pound car be, regardless of the power it has? Like driving a fast tank---it's still a tank!

While not a supercar, the C6Z06 is reportedly more numb and not as fun as the C5Z06. The extra HP at the top are nice, but really don't come into play except in the rarest of circumstances, if ever. To get the car to handle at dumb speeds, they took some of the "feel" out of the car, at least according to friends that have or had both. "Feel" equals "fun" in this case.
 

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Sorry. I would agree with you that the car, in most situations, would never approach the "fun" realm. I have often wondered about other so called super cars. How much fun could a 4,000 pound car be, regardless of the power it has? Like driving a fast tank---it's still a tank!

While not a supercar, the C6Z06 is reportedly more numb and not as fun as the C5Z06. The extra HP at the top are nice, but really don't come into play except in the rarest of circumstances, if ever. To get the car to handle at dumb speeds, they took some of the "feel" out of the car, at least according to friends that have or had both. "Feel" equals "fun" in this case.
maybe yes, maybe no.....i can comment directly on the zo6 as opposed to the gt-r which i have never driven.
true, the z leaves much to be desired in the "feel" department, but for some of us, the criteria in which we buy our cars is a little longer than just feel.
to me, the car's other attributes made up for this shortfall, and thats the point i was making earlier. and btw, i had A LOT of fun with my z while i kept it.
"fun" is subjective. not everyone thinks its "fun" to buzz around in a little car they stuff themselves into...:)
i think the elise is great fun, i bought one....just saying there are other cars out there that have attributes that the elise will never have.
seems to me that whenever a CERTAIN car posts great performance numbers that doesnt fit the mold around here, (either a miata or a disgustingly expensive super exotic), its flat out panned.
different cars are made for different reasons and to achieve different goals. i really dont think nissan set out to make the "autocrosser of all autocrossers."
i can tell you chevy didnt either when they designed the zo6.
as a matter of fact, lotus didnt design the elise with autocrossing in mind.
allistair mcqueen told me he didnt know anything abt autocrossing until he inquired why folks wanted lsd in the elise stateside...go figure.
he said it was designed as an affordable road track car.

for whatever your opinions are in the matter, there is a market for cars where people can just get in it and go. not everyone has aspirations of becoming a professional race car driver. (imagine that!) they dont care abt the purity of the sport. fine, there are cars for them too. i think the gt-r is a progression of sorts. its a techno marvel and like it or not it will only raise the bar on cars in the future.
 

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Autocrossing aside, my comment on the Z06 was that the new one wasn't as much fun to drive as the C5Z06 according to those who owned both. Now, one of the guys who told me that said the C6Z06 on the track was a better car because the top end comes into play. But on the street he preferred his C5Z06 as a more "fun" car to drive. He had the luxury of keeping both, lucky guy.

I'm not saying the Z06 is a bad car, I'm just agreeing that more HP does not necessarily make a car more "fun".
 

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Autocrossing aside, my comment on the Z06 was that the new one wasn't as much fun to drive as the C5Z06 according to those who owned both. Now, one of the guys who told me that said the C6Z06 on the track was a better car because the top end comes into play. But on the street he preferred his C5Z06 as a more "fun" car to drive. He had the luxury of keeping both, lucky guy.

I'm not saying the Z06 is a bad car, I'm just agreeing that more HP does not necessarily make a car more "fun".
oh i didnt take offense or try to imply anything....
i suppose my whole point is different cars are fun for different reasons.

the thing is, now most of these bigger, high HP cars are geared higher....i know the new z is a 3.42 and itll do 62mph in first gear. that alone probably makes it a bad autocrosser and too "top end" for some....or more top end i should say. the c5z is a great all around car too. can be had cheap too.
the viper is geared at 3.08, so theyre generally not the first choice for autox'ing against smaller, lighter cars.
not sure where the c5z is as far as gearing but i imagine its geared shorter.
 

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Autocrossing aside, my comment on the Z06 was that the new one wasn't as much fun to drive as the C5Z06 according to those who owned both. Now, one of the guys who told me that said the C6Z06 on the track was a better car because the top end comes into play. But on the street he preferred his C5Z06 as a more "fun" car to drive. He had the luxury of keeping both, lucky guy.

I'm not saying the Z06 is a bad car, I'm just agreeing that more HP does not necessarily make a car more "fun".[/QUOTE]

:)
but it CAN....
even our lotus owners seek more power. s/c kits, turbo kits, etc....why???
theyre trying to enhance their experience driving the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
but it CAN....
even our lotus owners seek more power. s/c kits, turbo kits, etc....why???
theyre trying to enhance their experience driving the car.

The point here is not so much about power, it is about the fact that cars are being designed to perform at speeds that are barely obtainable in the real world, they have become so competent at going fast that they are practically boring to drive at regular speeds, there is a disconnect.
It's also about how making cars so fast is more about marketing than about driving pleasure - do you think anyone would even be remotely interested in the GT-R if it not for the fact that it is faster than everything else on paper? What other redeeming qualities does it have?

While you can add power to an Elise to make it go faster if you choose, it is still going to be a visceral experience at normal to moderate speeds and that is why it is fun no matter the power level.


Here is an article about the new GT2 that kind of hits on these points

By Dan Neil
April 2, 2008
You may recall from your psychology classes the name Harry Harlow, a controversial researcher known for his wire monkey-surrogate mother experiments. One group of baby rhesus monkeys was taken away from its mothers and given a maternal figure made of terry cloth; another group was given a figure made of just bare wire. These experiments demonstrated the famous Harry-Harlow-was-a-toolbag principle.
In Porsche's laboratory, the relatively luxe 911 Turbo (what with its padded seats and all) is the terry-cloth monkey and the new GT2 -- stripped utterly to its essentials, inhospitable, a harsh mockery of the comforts of the automobile -- is the wire monkey. To love the GT2 is to embrace its malign indifference to your well-being. To cuddle one is to feel the cold bite of steel against your cheek. Mommy, why won't you hold me?

Basically a Porsche Motorsport version of the 911 Turbo (or turbocharged version of the track-ready GT3 RS, if you like), the GT2 is the most hard-core 911 ever to wear a license plate and the first production 911 to exceed 200 mph. Because, obviously, the Turbo's 480 hp is too, too paltry for real Porsche men, the boys in Weissach kicked up the output another 50 hp, with highly capacious intake manifolds and titanium exhaust plumbing on either side of the turbochargers. Lift the engine lid and all you see are the car's enormous lungs ducted from air intakes integrated into the dual-foil spoiler, which looks like something Klingons would carry into battle.

The GT2's steroid regime also includes lots of good old hot-rodding. The Turbo's all-wheel-drive system is jettisoned in favor of a lighter and racier rear-wheel transaxle shared with the GT3 RS. Also shared with the GT3 are the phenomenal 15-inch carbon ceramic front disc brakes and fully adjustable suspension inspired by the paint-shaking machine at Home Depot. The GT2's lightweighting program concludes with ditching the rear seats, tossing out all the sound-deadening material, stripping some interior panels to bare carbon fiber and supplanting the front seats with leather-lined carbon shells padded with . . . well, nothing. The resulting car (3,270 pounds) is 225 pounds lighter than the 911 Turbo and is about as cozy as an MRI machine.

And yet I find it hilarious that Porsche, having thus perverted the car's power-to-weight ratio, chose to retain the two swing-arm cup holders. This begs the question: What the hell is in the cups?

My guess is money: The GT2 retails for a not-insubstantial $192,560. Yes, it offers performance at or above the best supercars in the world; yes, it comes with the finest pedigree in all of motorsports. But 200 grand for a 911? I will talk more about the price later when I address the fewer than 200 or so trustafarians in the U.S. who might be inclined to pony up for the GT2.

From the extraneous metaphor file: The GT2 is like lighting a cigarette on an erupting volcano. It's like cutting a line out of a kilo of cocaine and then snorting the kilo.

This car is quite simply insane and, frankly, kind of scary, not because of any dynamic flaw but because of the way the stupendous forces in hand are delivered with such seeming effortlessness. To begin with, everything is ultra-hard: the seats, the suspension, the steering and brakes, the monocoque chassis that feels made entirely of Higgs bosons. All the slack, wobble and flex has been scourged from the car, leaving -- as the only tactile source of elasticity -- the throttle.

The gestalt of the car, then, is of something enormously powerful but also very locked down and secure, some giant in chains. Squeeze the gas and ramp up to redline in the first three gears (you'll be well in excess of 100 mph when you do) and the car feels totally untroubled. It feels alert, yes, awake, certainly -- and the deep chortle and hiss of the turbocharged engine is something out of Dante. But the GT2 gives off almost none of the clues that provide a frame of reference, no early warning system that you're going too fast. I mean, it has a speedometer, but who ever looks at those?

Here I will defer with thanks and praise to the boffins at Motor Trend, whose instrumented testing of the GT2 (the same car I drove) recorded a 0-60 mph acceleration of 3.4 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 11.4 seconds. Both of those numbers put the GT2 in the ranks of Ferrari Enzos and Koenigsegg CCXs and Pagani Zondas and a few other cars you've never heard of. And yet the salient figure from Motor Trend's tests is the trap speed: At the end of the quarter-mile, the GT2 can be traveling at 127.4 miles per hour. From there it's a short and exhilarating escalator ride to over 200 mph.

Let me unpack those numbers for you. It means that when you jump on the GT2's throttle -- something you'll be sorely tempted to do -- it practically explodes in a furious, jaw-slacking, gut-churning hullabaloo of weapons-grade torque such that accelerating from 60 to 120 mph takes one gearshift and a few scant seconds. This, to state the obvious, is kind of fun. But it's the sort of performance you dare not access on the street. Drivers a half-mile ahead can dutifully check their mirrors before changing lanes, and in the time it takes to signal and turn the wheel, the GT2 can materialize beside them like it's dropping out of hyperspace.

Unfortunately, the 405 Freeway does not connect to the Autobahn. The trouble with the GT2 is that it feels so unfulfilled driven at regular speeds. Indeed, this is a problem with most supercars: The suspension and brakes, the steering and engine aren't being at all taxed by the velocities and forces invoked by just muttering up the Angeles Crest Highway. But this sensation is particularly acute with the GT2, which is a thoroughbred race car. To get the GT2 to really harmonize, to come into itself dynamically, you have to go at it really hard, and that is simply too dangerous on the street. Not that the car is undriveable; on the contrary, it's as complaisant and tractable as any other 911. The engine's got loads of low-end torque; the controls aren't really race-car heavy. It's even got a decent nav and audio system. But the overwhelming sense of the car is one of deep, almost painful frustration.

This brings me to a truism, a Zen koan of automobility: It's more fun to go fast in a slow car than slow in a fast car.

Whom is this car for? First, it's for extremely well-heeled club-racing enthusiasts, who will weep with joy behind the wheel. Second, it's for organizations like Motor Trend that have independently verified the car's astonishing -- though kind of irrelevant -- 0-60 mph acceleration. The GT2 marks the first appearance of Porsche's launch control system that goes by the hilarious euphemism of "Start-off Assist." The way it works is this: Toggle through the menu on the instrument panel until the boost gauge is displayed. Put the car in first gear, rev to about 5,000 rpm (or 14 pounds of boost) and drop the clutch. The system automatically feathers the throttle to maximize grip and hole-shot acceleration. For a similar sensation, put a rodeo barrel on a train track, climb in and wait.

There's a charming note in the owners manual that says, basically, use of Start-Off Assist will considerably shorten the life of certain driveline components. No duh.

In any event, the GT2's 0-60 mph number is pure marketing, the glowing numerical nimbus of incomparable performance around this, Porsche's halo car. Nobody who owns this car is going to be flogging it at Irwindale Speedway on test-and-tune night -- like I did (sorry, Porsche).

It ain't me, babe. I continue to love the 911 Turbo, with its all-wheel drive and available automatic transmission, comfy seats, compliant suspension and proper upholstery. The Turbo churns up virtually all of the same Porsche-brand adrenaline while still being livable and lovable. So it only goes 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds. So it only goes 190 mph. Call me a wuss.

The GT2 is too bad a monkey for me.
 
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