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The 3-3-3 Formula for a Sports Compact


dwightlooi

  

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  1. 1. 3-3-3 is a

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3-3-3 Formula

  • 300 Horsepower
  • 3,000 Pounds
  • 30,000 Dollars

It is very easy to lose sight of what makes a car successful in the market place. Yes, styling, brand image and engineering excellence play huge roles. But, ultimately, the best selling cars are often not the most stylish, prestigious and well engineered. When it comes to sporty cars it is important that we recognize that they appeal most to younger people who are starting out in life and have limited financial resources. Before we get to making a car look pretty, marketing it properly and making sure it doesn't break, I believe that it is important that we define it in such a way that is is fast enough, agile enough and affordable enough. In this regard, I believe that 3-3-3 is a good formula.

It basically addresses the problems of the FT86 (not fast enough), Camaro (not agile enough) and GT-R (Not cheap enough). The parameters are also very achievable without having to resort to unreasonable powerplants, materials or deep discounts. It is not particularly ambitious to demand 300 hp. A 2.0L DOHC Turbo will do just that as will a 3.1L supercharged pushrod four or simply a 4.6L NA pushrod V6. It is not too much to ask for a curb weight of 3,000 pounds. That's 200~250 lbs more than the FT86, but still lighter than most cars on the street with credible performance. It will not require aluminum construction or advanced steels. 30,000 dollars gives you plenty of flexibility to decide between superlative interiors, advanced transmissions, fancy suspensions, generous equipment or simply profit.

Edited by dwightlooi
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FT-86 sits too low for us tall guys to get into comfortably, cabin too small and gutless. Not sure how DF defines it feels fast at any speed, but that car is a slug.

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The FT is a fun car to drive and proves that you don't need raw 0 to 60 times to have a good time. Sitting low and being small is a feature not a bug.

Some day you will need to come to the realization that some cars aren't built with you in mind. They can't sit high and be a large inside as a suburban while being light, tight, and nimble on the outside.

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I agree with everyone one with the RWD Toyota platform. Toyota (Subaru) almost perfected it.

However, as much as BRZ is a fun and fantastic car, after spending a quality time test driving it, to almost purchase, I am a little underwhelmed.

Why? The engine. No it does not need high horsepower, but it is not a fun companion. The motor shows its deficiencies while trying to have fun and my limits of fun are nearly not as high as Randy Pobst's or Ron Fellows'. The high strung motor just begs for more torque. It is weaker than the 2.4 in my TSX. It gasps when pushing too hard and unwilling.

The execution of the powertrain gets 6/10 points. I would say a 250 hp motor with 250 lb-ft torque would be a good companion for that 2,800 lb car.

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The FT is a fun car to drive and proves that you don't need raw 0 to 60 times to have a good time. Sitting low and being small is a feature not a bug.

Some day you will need to come to the realization that some cars aren't built with you in mind. They can't sit high and be a large inside as a suburban while being light, tight, and nimble on the outside.

Pretty much this.....

I agree with everyone one with the RWD Toyota platform. Toyota (Subaru) almost perfected it.

However, as much as BRZ is a fun and fantastic car, after spending a quality time test driving it, to almost purchase, I am a little underwhelmed.

Why? The engine. No it does not need high horsepower, but it is not a fun companion. The motor shows its deficiencies while trying to have fun and my limits of fun are nearly not as high as Randy Pobst's or Ron Fellows'. The high strung motor just begs for more torque. It is weaker than the 2.4 in my TSX. It gasps when pushing too hard and unwilling.

The execution of the powertrain gets 6/10 points. I would say a 250 hp motor with 250 lb-ft torque would be a good companion for that 2,800 lb car.

I still like the MX 5, the S2000 and several other sports cars better. 25K will also buy a used c5 Z06 or a gently used 370Z.

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I happen to own Scion FR-S and I felt I had to speak in light of some of the criticisms. While I agree that the car is often wanting for power and might not be as attractive or desirable as the MX 5 or the S2000, I feel I speak for SOME of the buyers of this product when I say that it was never our intention to buy the ultimate sports car when the purchase was made. For me, I already own a hot-rodded 85 Monte Carlo SS that hogs all my money and I wanted to have something fun to drive during the cold half of the year, something that I did not have to worry about getting stolen while I was at work, something that was still fun enough that when the old car was in the shop I could still go out and have an enjoyable cruise, something enjoyable to wash (Which strangely I enjoy), basically a pleasant and FUN daily driver. I'm 6'5 and I'm comfortable behind the wheel , its two-door, rear-wheel drive, it was relatively inexpensive and does get some attention by pedestrians if that is your thing. Sure I went out and looked at a V6 Mustang and Camaro (Having already a V8 in the MC), but I did not have the heart to ruin such a car with repeated Canadian winters, I think we have to get away from merely focusing on the extremity of a vehicle's performance at a barometer of its overall value.

Oh and by the way, the FRS is far better in the snow that one might expect and quite a bit of fun!

I got to take my Monte Carlo out, cheers!

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250 hp is enough for a 3,000 lb car, and I believe a turbo version of the Toyabaru GT86 is coming which will address the power concerns, and a convertible is rumored too. The Mustang is supposed to lose a little weight, that gives you 300 hp, well under $30,000 and about 3400 lbs, not bad at all. The Genesis coupe and Kia Stinger if they build it would fit in also. There just isn't a lot of demand for these kind of cars though, the 370Z is a slow seller, the Mustang does well but how many of those are rental fleets also.

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I do not know what the constraints on a automotive engineer are, but is it possible to sale a car that perhaps is made up of usable but archaic technology? I mean, there is nothing wrong with a 350HO, its got 330hp... I realize there are safety and environmental concerns, but what is possible?

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Wow Things sure have not change much here. Same old crazy talk with out using all the facts again [Not you blu]

I wish I knew for sure why the BR-Z isn't selling as well as some of us had hoped (if only for the possibility of domestic competition!)

It's not selling well because a 2+2 is a difficult sell in todays market unless it has a V8 under the hood and says Camaro or Mustang on the fender. You have to understand the market to understand the sales issues as nearly all the 2+2 coupes are under producing.

You can add more power etc. and the results will be the same.

The coupe segment is dominated by the default cars Camaro and Mustang as they can be had by older buyers who love coupes and can afford them. They will not accept a smaller turbo 4 coupe very well when for just a little more they can have the one they have always wanted or had.

I would love a small turbo light coupe but I am in the minority. Younger people really don't care or if they do many can not afford the insurance even if they can afford the car.

GM is wanting to do a car like this but it is difficult to make a case for it with sales lagging else where.

This is another case where you have to consider all the factors and not just the ones you treasure. That is what GM is doing and it is a tough call as you need to leverage out a new smaller platform over enough units to make a profit and right now the market is soft in this area.

I would give anything for my 300HP Eco in a small rwd coupe. My HHR is only 3200 pounds and Is a blast but the fwd is so difficult to hook up. But I am in the minority of the market.

The Mustang and Camaro are like a Harley as they have heritage, sound and history behind them. All the other players are fun neat cars but many just are not interested or just can not afford the insurance at a younger age. The coupe market is for the older segment who love them and can afford them.

Even the fact that you can hop up a Eco turbo so easy with a change of the maps and a re flash of the computer should have great appeal but too few know or care.

I give the Asian makers credit for trying but I expect the lives of these cars may be limited at best. We may see them last a cycle like the RX7 did and the MR2.

The reality is these cars can live on at higher prices and lower volumes but at a lower volume and lower price the return is just not good enough long term.

Companies build cars to make money not just to be cool. It is a shame as it prevents some neat cars but that is just the way it is.

Edited by hyperv6
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