Thursday, June 2, 2011

Off Topic - Types of roadsters

Simple matrix:

Large/Small
Heavy/Light

Large and Heavy - Boat. Archetypical boats are the Mercedes SL, and SLK, the Dodge Viper, the current 'vette, the Bentley Continental. Typified by using grunt to overcome weight, they deliver crushing straight line performance combined with enough traction to pretend to handling. Best uses: road cruiser.

Large and Light - Track Dog. Typified by the Lotus family of vehicles, they sacrifice comfort, interior style, and general survivability in the headlong rush to point and shoot terror weapon status. These are cars that can accelerate into almost any curve on the planet. Ferrari wobbles between boats and dogs.

Small and Heavy - The Bomb. Typified by almost any sports car with a "Z" in the name, BMW Z3 and Z4, Datsun and Nissan Z, also the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky, as well as the Audi TT. Of course, the Porsche 911 is the bomb, to which all others aspire to. The Nissan Z-bomb in particular. What they are, is sawed off muscle cars, with heavy engines that deliver plenty of torque and horsepower. Often come with handling dynamics that are best described as neo-lithic, which is not to say they can't take the corners, but instead that there is a heavy uncommunicative under-steer dynamic.

Small and light - The Spyder. In its best form, the Porsche Boxster/Cayman, a point an shoot dynamic, which is often underpowered for its size, and prone to a ruthless oversteer which penalizes the unwary driver. Other examples include the Mazda MX-5 NA, the Triumph spitfire – whose code name was "the bomb."

If you want to drive performance automobile, learn your type, and drive it.