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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When we talk about performance cars, do we actually know what were talking about?

Please explain what makes a performance car for you...

For me its quite simple:

Performance cars were made with luxury and refinement last on the agenda. They are put simply, functional automobiles servicing my "boyracer" childhood - and i treat them as such. So what makes up this childhood "boyracer" image?

It has to be exhiliratingly quick in a straight line. A measure of this is a sub 6 second 0-100km/h time. Equally as important over a short distance, is its ability to prove its power over 400m in under 15 maybe 16 seconds.

Torque & power figures are next. There are aspects such as gearing and grip which favour different cars over 400m, so a reflection of the torque and power figures are equally important as outright speed on the tarmac.

Finally, handling aspects. In order for a performance car to come together it really does have to handle well. Not gokart quality turn-in, but turn in which gives the driver confidence to push harder & feedback in the steering wheel to give a sense of control. Grip is a good measure of good handling, as i believe this is a direct reflection of its suspension quality. Of course, weight and suspension help braking too - and braking is also very important.

These are my qualities which make up a performance car.


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208 Posts
Franky, I agree with what you have so far. I want to add something though. I think that a performance car also offers the feedback of the drive, and the car should instill confidence from that feedback. I think of the main tactile parts to a car that channel the performance: gas pedal, shifter, brake pedal, steering wheel, and seat.
gas=go definately a priority
slick shifter= sublime engine control
brake pedal= go fast and stop fast are equally important
steering wheel and seat= these two items convey the handling and overall attachment of the car to the road and the body to the car. The steering wheel, suspension, wheels, tires and overall design and geometry of the car need to get your butt around the bends the way your hands see fit.

To make my point more clear lets look at my current vehicle and I will outline its pluses and minuses:
2000 GTI GLX (176HP VR6) Stock
gas= this car has go, the drive by wire sucks, torque like crazy, woohoo!.
shifter= sucks, its a good thing the torque band is broad.
brakes= the brakes are not great, not terrible, but its a heavy car and the oem tires suck
steering wheel= suspension on this car is not what it should be, while it feels german it is still too soft, and the car feels too tall. again tires suck. front wheel drive not right for this car.
seat= this car is too soft and refined for me to consider it a performance car. I thought I was doing myself a favor going from a 4 cyl BMW to this. wrong. the crx before the BMW was more of what I liked. i have taken 6 years to get back to that. but I will need more go. enter STi?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: STiWant1 on 2002-04-23 08:59 ]</font>

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1,193 Posts
I like to use this equation:

Body size < Engine Performance < Handling < Braking

I kinda stole that off of a Subaru site, but basically I really believe in it. A car's engine should be more than enough to move a car of size, it should have more than enough handling capability for the engine, and more than anything the ability to come to a stop quickly.

Scoobysport UK's owner was recently quoted in a mag saying: "Good suspension and brakes can be worth up to 100BHP". I can attest that this is true.

I want it all. I want exhilarating accelleration, side-crushing handling (feel those G's!) and eye-popping braking. When these things come together in balance and harmony, you have yourself a sports car in my eyes.

The STi and EVO along with many other cars have all three things. It just then becomes a matter of preference over looks, equipment, manufacturer, amenities, streetability, etc.

Enough of my thesis already... :smile:


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99 Posts
Performance to me is an F-1 car. light, fast, handles, stops. It is really great passing under braking. I like to do that in my N/A mkII mr2 hardtop. only 130 hp, but my cross drilled rotors and stillen brake pads, and goodridge ss lines give me the advantage of late braking power, stength, and pedal feel. ok, sure, the mid-engine thing helps too. For me here is the performance bottom line: I want to go faster around a road course than you!!!! If i can beat you in the 1/4 mile too, that's a bonus I'd like as well. I'm not of the electronics be damned variety either. I like ABS. any other electro-gizmo that makes me quicker than you... I'll take. You can call it cheating... I'll call it winning.

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47 Posts
i agree with you on the F1. The ultimate street legal performance car would have to be in my onpinion, the opel speedster. The reason for this is that it is as far from a luxury car as you can get. And while it is not as fast as the wrx, the wrx has many things that deal with luxury that the speedster doesnt. For some odd reason i never see leather in a Funny car or F1, so it seems out of place to include a Ferrari or Porsche in this category because if their cars were not luxurious, they would never sell for that price. But i am sure glad i don't own an opel speedster because it is sheer performance and would be near impossible as a daily driver. That is why the race car drivers always get out of the car when the race is over. I like a car that like all of you will get me from point A to point B the fastest, however, i also must have a car that i can take an ENTIRE sunny sunday drive in. I guess what i am trying to say here is that there is a such thing as unusable performance, thus we have not figured out how to stick jet engines on our car and still drive the thing. How would you look with dual parachutes always on the back of your car?
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