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Discussion Starter #1
In the new Road&Track they name their 2004 Car of the Year. It's the Subaru WRX STi. I understand it's a damn fine performance sedan and value. My problem is with one of the quotes from the readers that they chose to publish. I don't have the issue here in front of me, but to paraphrase, the quote said basically "the STi is the best sports car out there so I bought it".

I'm sorry, but anything with four wheel drive, four doors and a large trunk is not a sports car. Street legal rally car sure, but a sports car the WRX STi ain't!

Of course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong...:p
 

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Geeh. I wonder who will be Road & Track sport car of the year in 2005? :rolleyes: ;)




Either that or the new Vette. :p
 

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MickOpalak said:
In the new Road&Track they name their 2004 Car of the Year. It's the Subaru WRX STi. I understand it's a damn fine performance sedan and value. My problem is with one of the quotes from the readers that they chose to publish. I don't have the issue here in front of me, but to paraphrase, the quote said basically "the STi is the best sports car out there so I bought it".

I'm sorry, but anything with four wheel drive, four doors and a large trunk is not a sports car. Street legal rally car sure, but a sports car the WRX STi ain't!

Of course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong...:p
Here. here. As far as I'm concerned it should be 2 door, RWD, but I think the main requirement is that a sports car be designed mainly for sport (ie racing). The WRX is a well tuned version of a family car. This is not to say that it doesn't have excellent performance, etc., but again it is not a sports car. Don't even get me started on GT cars. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ah come on! What have you got to say about GT cars???:)
 

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MickOpalak said:
Ah come on! What have you got to say about GT cars???:)
hehe... well mainly that they are driven by people who can't make up their mind between a luxury car and a sports car, and that they tend to be a poor compromise at both.

But then I'm probably just upset I can't afford an Aston Martin. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm with you, but I've always considered GT cars to be luxury cars, just with fewer doors and seats. I even have a weight limit. For example, I consider the 350Z and the Vette to be GTs because they're too heavy and luxury laden to be sports cars.
 

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Re: Re: WRX STi ain't one!

Allan Gibbs said:
Geeh. I wonder who will be Road & Track sport car of the year in 2005? :rolleyes: ;)
Is the title Sport Car of the Year? I thought it was just Car of the Year?

I wouldn't necessarily call the STi a sports car, but let me just play devils advocate for a moment: So we can't call it a sports car because it has four doors? The trunk is too big? I thought sports cars were defined by performance. Just because it's too practical, it doesn't qualify as a sports car? Even though it easily outperforms and outhandles most (all?) "real" sports cars in a comparable price range?

BTW: Here's a scan of the page under discussion, taken from another message board:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
"I wouldn't necessarily call the STi a sports car, but let me just play devils advocate for a moment: So we can't call it a sports car because it has four doors? The trunk is too big? I thought sports cars were defined by performance."

Not in my book. Let's say I could rig a dump truck to pull 1.0 Gs on the skidpad and do 0-60 in 6 seconds. Would you call that a sports car??

"Just because it's too practical, it doesn't qualify as a sports car? Even though it easily outperforms and outhandles most (all?) "real" sports cars in a comparable price range? "

Right. Sports cars are designed for sport, i.e. racing. There's a reason you don't see racing cars with back seats or trunks.
 

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A good friend of mine who ownes a restaurant has a new WRX STi. After driving it I was very impressed with the all around performance of the car. But, I would NOT call it a sports car. Yes it has sports car characteristics, but it is what it is, and it's NOT a sports car.

Best Wishes,
Mitch
 

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I just saw a feature on R&T television. The car was named reader sports car of the year. Hence the reader quotes in the scan???... So: I don't think the editors chose the STi themselves...
 

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MickOpalak said:
Right. Sports cars are designed for sport, i.e. racing. There's a reason you don't see racing cars with back seats or trunks.
Exactly! Sports cars are ones that are optimized for SPORT. Optimization means making tradeoffs that favor sport over anything else. If the rear seats in a Porsche were useable by a human being, I wouldn't consider it a sports car. As it is, I consider the seats an attempt at improving insurance rates for their sports car. A trunk provides absolutely no competition benefit, and should therefore be an afterthought on a sports car - if aerodynamics result in a shape with spare volume in the rear, fine, turn it into a trunk. Four doors? No purpose in a competition car - it'll only slow you down (added weight) and weaken the structure (holes in sides).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
JonM3Coupe said:
I just saw a feature on R&T television. The car was named reader sports car of the year. Hence the reader quotes in the scan???... So: I don't think the editors chose the STi themselves...
Actually, Road&Track's award is just Car of the Year, not Sports Car of the Year.
 

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Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:
Main Entry: sports car
Function: noun
: a low small usually 2-passenger automobile designed for quick response, easy maneuverability, and high-speed driving



I have a WRX and I would definitely not call it a sports car, but after driving my friends completely numb driving Audi Allroad all day today, my WRX felt like a Racecar!

Here is an interesting read on the Ferrari forums about the STI http://ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10401&page=1&pp=20
 

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MickOpalak said:

Right. Sports cars are designed for sport, i.e. racing. There's a reason you don't see racing cars with back seats or trunks.
Or passenger seats. Unless it's a rally car, I guess. But I suppose that's not a sport, eh? Will you be rallying your two seat sports car? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
gareth said:
Or passenger seats. Unless it's a rally car, I guess. But I suppose that's not a sport, eh? Will you be rallying your two seat sports car? ;)
Production-based sports cars don't have rear seats or trunks.
Purpose-built sports cars usually don't even have passenger seats!
 

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Well crap... name ONE production car (in America) under 100k that IS a true race car. I can't think of one... give me a few months and I'm sure I'll find ONE.
 

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transio said:
Well crap... name ONE production car (in America) under 100k that IS a true race car. I can't think of one... give me a few months and I'm sure I'll find ONE.
I don't mean to claim that sports car = race car, just that sports cars should be designed primarily for sport. Race cars are typically designed to meet the class rules. :p

Anyway, to answer your question: Panoz Esperante GTS for $60k.
 

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Well as an STi owner, I feel compelled to defend the car's title - but I agree that most sedans do not fit the category of "sports car" well. I really see a distinction between "performance cars" and "sports cars". A car maybe either, both or, sadly, neither.

By most measures, the STi qualifies as a "performance car" - acceleration, braking and handling tests bear that out. But a sports car (for enthusiasts like us) requires the fulfilment of certain non-objective criteria, such as the sense of connectedness between the driver and car - and the end product is greater that the sum of its parts. This is accomplished with communicative steering and suspension, responsive (not necessarily powerful) engine and brakes, and certain visual and auditory sensations. A bit like pornography - you know it when you see it, but it's a bit difficult to define. And for us, I suspect that the Elise fits the bill exceptionally well.

I don't agree with a definition of "sports car" that is tied to competition - look at all the Touring Car racing in EU, JP and even US, to see that plenty of non-sports cars are used as the basis for racing machines. At the moment, I can think of no road car in the States (except perhaps the Saleen S7 or the Consulier(?)) that began life as competition cars.

Back to the topic: even for me, the STi -- a machine that fits it's niche and performs very well -- comes close but does not fit my definition of sports car.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
AuS4 said:
I don't agree with a definition of "sports car" that is tied to competition - look at all the Touring Car racing in EU, JP and even US, to see that plenty of non-sports cars are used as the basis for racing machines.
Right, but racing something on a racetrack doesn't make it a sports car. Those Touring Cars are production based cars modified for racing, but they're still not sports cars.

Of course this is all subjective as everybody has their own definition of 'sports car'. For me a sports car is a car designed as a racecar would be, i.e. low weight, balance and handling, rear wheel drive, no unnecessary additions for practicality. Sports cars are the missing link between purpose-built race cars like a formula car and practical, everyday cars like a Taurus or Celica. Sports cars have a little more practicality than a racer, like two seats, a heater, doors, perhaps a roof and a radio. At the same time, sports cars don't have all the extras of a day-to-day car like a back seat, a roomy trunk, cruise control, heated 8-way power seats, etc.

The apitomy of a sports car: Lotus 7
 

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MickOpalak said:


The apitomy of a sports car: Lotus 7
Since it's a Lotus, you may want to spell it with an "E". In fact, I heard that the 2007 Elise will be called the Epitome. :D

"Sports Cars" currently sold in the U.S.

Miata, MR2, Boxster, S2000.

Things like the S4, M3, STi, Lancer EVO, and even the 911, are NOT sports cars in my mind. They are performance cars. All are sedans except for the M3 & 911. They are the epitome of what a GT car is.

I don't know where a Z4 or an SLK fits in. They're sort of performance convertibles or something. Way too luxurious to be true sports cars.
 
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