R&T - Best All-Around Sports Car Comparo

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  1. TriShield

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    We go to great lengths to help you choose.

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    By Sam Mitani • Photos by Guy Spangenberg & Marc Urbano
    March 2005

    BMW Z4 3.0i | Chevrolet Corvette Coupe | Dodge Viper SRT-10 | Honda S2000 | Lotus Elise | Mercedes-Benz SLK350 | Nissan 350Z 35th Anniversary | Porsche Boxster S | Porsche Carrera S Coupe

    What is a sports car? That is the question.

    Sports cars have evolved over the years. The definition that once restricted the field to open-top 2-seaters has now changed to include anything with four tires and a sporting nature. Sedan-based coupes, 2+2s, heck, even 4-doors are categorized by some as sports cars these days. Ask five people the exact definition of a sports car, and you’ll likely get five different answers. But we at R&T get a yearning every few years to find out which sports car is the best out there today. To do so, we needed to reexamine the genre and devise a set of qualifications. After much discussion and a few exchanged scowls, we decided to return to the somewhat classical definition as illustrated by the chalkboard presentation shown here.

    And, because this is a shootout for the best all-around performer, we’re not limiting our evaluations to just the road or just the track. Reflecting the two words (and one symbol) that run across the cover of this magazine, we’ll be giving these cars a go on both venues. Price is also an issue for the majority of us, so you’ll not see anything costing more than a house here. Former IMSA champ Steve Millen provided the lap times around the high-speed West Loop of Buttonwillow Raceway, and the staff of R&T did the rest, with some help from Spencer Eisenbarth of Racepak Systems.

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    9th — Mercedes-Benz SLK350

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    Before you ask how a luxury brand made it into this comparison test, remember that Mercedes-Benz is a major player in the international racing scene and is the creator of one of the most formidable sports cars in production today, the SLR McLaren. Although some may contend that the SLR and SLK have as much in common as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, the new SLK350 has come into its own as a fun-to-drive car with exceptional performance, as evidenced by its lap times around the West Loop (refer to chart).

    “The SLK350 is a nicely balanced car — pleasant to drive on the street — but the suspension is a bit soft. It felt lazy through corners where it lacked the crispness of some of the others. What impressed me the most about the SLK is its engine. It has a smooth powerband, making it quite impressive coming out of corners. And it pulled really well on the straights,” Millen said.

    The engine is indeed one of the major highlights of the car. The all-new dohc 3.5-liter V-6 showcases linear power delivery, making it the most pleasant to drive in a civil manner. Unfortunately, because it’s carrying a formidable 3280-lb. load, the entire car feels heavy when trying to toss it through a tight corner or build up speed on a long straight. Still, the sleek roadster is able to run to 60 mph in a scant 5.5 seconds, putting it in genuine sports-car territory.

    “The SLK350, with its improved manual transmission, is finally worth considering as a real sports car. The previous model was more of a cruiser, but this new SLK350 is different in that its engine is peppier, coming on when needed,” Patrick Hong, Road Test Editor, said. The SLK shines equally bright in the handling department, but it’s not quite up to the level of the others. Understeer is present but manageable through most corners. The rear end stays put unless you really make an effort to swing it out. The SLK’s behavior on the track is such that one word can adequately sum up its handling: forgiving. The problem is that perhaps it is too forgiving. The steering and brakes lack the sharpness of the others, so the driver feels a bit disconnected from the track.

    When it comes to the open road, Mercedes-Benz has no equals. It won the Ride category outright, thanks to its solid yet velvety ride quality
    . The retractable hardtop is a genuine luxury, giving its driver the best of both coupe and convertible worlds. The car’s structural integrity is so impressive that even with the top down, it exudes a solid feeling comparable to many fixed-roof cars.

    The Mercedes-Benz SLK350 is a sports car for Everyman (or woman), with a bias toward grand touring over high-performance. The reason for its last-place result here is that high performance is the defining factor in this test.

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    8th — Nissan 350Z 35th Anniversary

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    That the powered-up 35th Anniversary edition of the hugely successful Nissan 350Z couldn’t crack the top seven surprised many of us. It’s arguably the most popular sports car of the past several years, topping 200,000 units in worldwide sales. Furthermore, the 350Z performed remarkably well in previous R&T comparison tests, even winning a couple of them.

    So what gives?

    The 350Z fell down at, of all places, the racetrack. The Z negotiated certain parts of the track efficiently, but wheezed through many of the others, as it posted the slowest lap times of the group, even with a former factory Z-car driver behind the wheel.

    “The Z understeered in mid-turn, and didn’t provide good balance or speed coming out of corners. And when you can’t get a good jump out of corners, your speed on the straights suffers,” Millen noted.

    We discovered that the car also leans noticeably, and the steering feels slow, making it seem as if you’re always trying to catch up to the corner. But kudos to the Z’s structural rigidity — it was the bright light in an otherwise bleak handling world. Nissan’s FM platform, which also sees duty in a luxury sedan and sport utility, is rigid and communicative, possessing the kind of firmness reserved for...well, a sport utility. But this solidity comes at a price: curb weight. The 350Z is the second-heaviest of the lot at 3370 lb.

    But that’s where the 35th Anniversary Z’s added power comes into play. The retuned 3.5-liter V-6 puts out 300 bhp (13 more than the base Z) and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, enabling the car to run to 60 mph in 5.6 sec. (0.2 sec. quicker than the 350Z Track Model). Observant readers will notice that the torque figure for the new engine is slightly less than before. This is the result of revised engine mapping that, along with the extra bhp, gives the V-6 a more linear torque curve. You may also notice a slight improvement at the car’s top end and a little less down low, but the general character of the V-6 remains the same; it pulls well off the line and runs out of breath up high.

    We discovered that the Nissan isn’t a car that likes to be driven at the limit (in both an engine and a handling sense). It’s perfectly comfortable at about 7- to 8/10ths, where it provides the driver with above-average handling prowess and comfort. It’s the ideal sports car for a daylong road trip.

    “The 350Z’s benign nature instills great confidence, which for the typical driver equates to higher corner speeds and greater enjoyment. So while it may not stand out at the track, in the real world, the 350Z’s quick, idiot-proof nature makes it a fun car to drive fast without the apprehension of backing it off the road at speed,” Kim Wolfkill, Senior Editor, commented.

    Another nice thing about the 350Z is its price. The base 350Z comes with a sticker of $26,500, and the 35th Anniversary edition — which gets the slight bump in bhp, screaming yellow paint scheme and 5-spoke 18-in. wheels — carries a $36,100 price tag. The Nissan 350Z may not be for the hardcore enthusiast anymore, but it’s certainly still one of the best sports-car deals out there today.

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    7th — BMW Z4 3.0i

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    Many of you no doubt are wondering why the venerable M3 isn’t BMW’s representative in this test. Some staffers felt that its sedan-based roots and conventional three-box styling made it more of a performance GT than a true sports car. Therefore, the Z4, which strictly adheres to every one of our conditions, carries the BMW flag for this test. Although the stylish roadster may take a back seat to the M3 in high performance, it fared remarkably well here, especially considering the giants it battled.

    What the Z4 lacked in power, it made up in spirit and grace. Around the West Loop, a track suited for high-horsepower mounts, the Z4 performed commendably, ousting the more powerful 350Z and coming within a second of the Honda S2000. It was the easiest of the group to toss through a corner, thanks to its razor-sharp steering.

    The Z4’s compliant suspension was an asset on the open road, giving the car a high score in the Ride category, but this softness hurt its performance on the track. Body roll was an issue through most turns, and on sweepers one needed to occasionally back out of the throttle to keep the nose from venturing out too wide. That said, the BMW behaved so predictably that getting into serious trouble was virtually impossible. Despite, or perhaps due to, its understeering tendencies, the Z4 possesses a gentle learning curve, making it easy for a novice to drive at the limit right away. The Z4’s optimal 50/50 front/rear weight distribution deserves some credit here.

    “The Z4 really doesn’t show its character until pushed at the track. There’s a bit of body lean, but overall the car is tossable and very predictable. The steering is very good and the brakes are great. It exhibits excellent pedal feel,” Matt DeLorenzo, Detroit Editor, said.

    The Z4’s engine could definitely benefit from more power. The 3.0-liter inline-6 produces 225 bhp at 5900 rpm and 214 lb.-ft. of torque at 3900 — second lowest of the group and just ahead of the Lotus Elise. Not at all embarrassing when looking at the big picture, but in this bunch, it’s the place kicker on the football team. That it registered a respectable 5.5-sec. zero-to-60-mph time is a credit to BMW engineers for keeping the car’s weight down (3110 lb.). But it was still no match against the other, more powerful cars on the track.

    “It did feel underpowered, especially on the straights. And through corners, the car felt a little lazy. The suspension is tuned too softly for hard driving. I found a good amount of body roll, and the car didn’t feel as surefooted as the others, especially through the esses. Overall, the BMW’s handling character reminded me of the SLK350’s, but without the robust power delivery,” Millen said.

    Look at the final results carefully, and you’ll see that the Z4 didn’t particularly shine in any one category, nor did it falter. It stayed even-keeled throughout. And its $40,900 price tag didn’t affect its standings one bit; it would have finished in the same spot regardless. If only BMW had an M version of the thing, that spot would undoubtedly have been much higher.

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    6th — Dodge Viper SRT-10

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    The Dodge Viper is the baddest, meanest production car in the world. Period. It really has no equals when it comes to brute force. Even on the tight East Loop, the Viper’s prowess was evident. Step on the throttle and the 8.3-liter V-10 powers you forward with the intensity of a rodeo bull busting out of the gate. Once you get going, the g-forces of acceleration seem to increase exponentially with each tick of the stopwatch. It can nearly knock the wind out of you. To get the best times, you must be patient with the throttle pedal, or you’ll break the rear tires (P345/30ZR-19s) loose upshifting through the lower gears. Its zero-to-60-mph time of 4.0 sec. is among the fastest for production cars today.

    As you can imagine, a few warm-up laps are required to become accustomed to the Viper’s 500 bhp and 525 lb.-ft. of asphalt-crumpling torque, not to mention its super-quick-ratio steering.
    The 6-speed manual gearbox is also a bit fickle because of the crowded gates of the shifter — a missed downshift in the Viper can lead to serious consequences.

    Its handling character is not unlike that of a race car. One exaggerated input (whether it be throttle, brake or steering) and you’re headed into the guardrail. Understeer is apparent going into tight turns, but the real attention-getter here is oversteer. Sloppy driving, like braking a bit too late or getting on the gas too early, can swing the rear end out like the boom on a sailboat. Lose it through a 100-mph sweeper, and not even a Mario Andretti or Phil Hill can bring it back. Exciting? You bet — it scored a perfect 20 in Driving Excitement — however, “thrilling” or “teeth-clenching” may be a more apt description of driving this 2-seater.

    The key here is respect. Respect its power, and it’ll reward you. The chassis is communicative, with the suspension system — upper-and-lower A-arms at both front and rear — providing exceptional mid-turn balance. The massive Michelins stick to the pavement like super glue. Get everything right through a corner, and the Viper will easily be the first one through. It registered an amazing 1.02g around the skidpad.

    “The Viper is a very driver-oriented car. It’s well balanced, has very quick steering, excellent seats and great throttle response. You’re often going fast in this car, and it lets you know it. The Viper is extreme in every way. It’s not cheap, it’s not cute, it’s not slow and it’s not for everyone,” said Shaun Bailey, Assistant Road Test Editor.

    Whenever this car is involved in a track evaluation, it’s usually the hands-down winner, steamrolling anything and everything in its path. But not so this time, for the Viper had company. The roadster’s lap times were blistering, recording a 66.60-sec. dash around the West Loop — reaching a top speed of more than 140 mph on the long straight, the highest of any present that day — but the Chevrolet Corvette nipped the Dodge at the finish line, with the Porsche Carrera S practically riding its rear bumper. A close look at the Racepak data revealed that the Viper would have won if not for a blemish coming out of the esses (see track map). Millen explains:

    “The car definitely accelerates hard. But right at the exit of the esses, the Viper requires a gear change. And because the Viper’s nature is that it doesn’t like to be upset during mid-corner, I elected to make that gear change in the corner and wait for the car to settle before getting back on the throttle. There’s also inside rear-wheel spin, so it didn’t feel as surefooted at this point on the track as the others. A few more laps, and I may have attacked this portion of the track differently.”

    When it comes to everyday driving, look elsewhere. The Viper’s high level of interior noise, the on/off nature of the throttle pedal, and tight cockpit...all get tiresome quickly when you’re scuttling around town. And the ride quality of this Dodge is about as harsh as they come — we gave it only 14.9 points out of 20. Simply put, the Viper is a car meant for the track, and its one-sided nature resulted in its middling placement in this test. For those looking for a high-output racer in production-car clothing, the Viper is definitely for you. For the rest of you, keep reading.

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    5th — Honda S2000

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    Coming into this test, no one gave the S2000 any serious consideration. It was simply a car meant to fill a spot as Honda’s sports-car representative. (The Acura NSX was left out because it’s likely to be discontinued next year or be replaced by another model.) And since this head-turning 2-seater met all of the sports-car criteria for this test...“what the heck,” we said.

    “What the heck?” was more like it after a few laps in the S2000. This supposedly old car cut up the West Loop like a skilled surgeon with a scapel, posting a sub-70-sec. lap time. And its amazingly tossable, fun-to-drive nature put it among the favorites of the day on both tracks.

    “The balance of this car is just great. You get mild understeer at turn-in, but it’s so mild that you can be hard on the throttle early to get good exit speed. The car felt really light through the corners, and the brakes were good. Because of this combination, I was able to brake deep into a corner and get right back on the throttle,” Millen said.

    The reason the S2000 handled differently from past models is that the suspension system, most notably the rear multilink setup, has been retuned to provide better stability and composure through all types of corners. Gone is the twitchy, nervous rear end that plagued autocrossers and weekend racers. Now those Bridgestone Potenzas stay properly planted on the driving surface, making the entire car behave smoothly and predictably. And speaking of rubber, the S2000 has more of it than before, with P215/45R-17s up front and P245/40R-17s at the rear. The steering is fantastic — quick and precise — enabling the car to exhibit flawless balance through left/right transitions. It was among the fastest through the esses of the West Loop.

    The engine has also seen changes, most notably the increase in displacement, from 2.0 to 2.2 liters. This was done to give the car more low- and mid-range pop. While hardly perceptible at the track — keeping it on the cam still means staying above the 6500-rpm mark — the added flexibility pays substantial dividends on the open road. The car manages to pull from about 3000 rpm, making it unnecessary to constantly change gears when the flow of traffic fluctuates. But some would consider that a pity because this Honda 2-seater still has the best gearbox in the business. This direct-linkage 6-speed unit — with its well-defined gates, short throws and solid overall feel — scored a perfect 20 in the Gearbox category.

    “I had honestly forgotten just how good a sports car the S2000 is. The gearbox is quite simply the best in the world, with wonderfully short, extremely positive throws. This current S2000 is less twitchy than the original, and was the easiest with which to execute beautiful 4-wheel drifts through Buttonwillow’s faster corners. Man, is it fun,” said Mike Monticello, Associate Editor.

    The major strike against the S2000 is its ability as a tourer. Interior noise is high — whether the top is up or down makes little difference — and luggage space is limited. Ride quality is on the stiff side, as it becomes noticeably choppy over scarred roads.

    The S2000 scored the most points in the value department. Its $32,950 sticker is the lowest of the group, undercutting the Porsche Boxster S by nearly $20,000. Granted, those in the top tax bracket probably won’t give this Honda a second thought when shopping for a sports car, but if you’re like most of us, stuck somewhere in the middle, then the S2000 may just be the ideal choice.

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    4th — Lotus Elise

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    Let’s get one thing clear right away: The Lotus Elise isn’t for everyone. It’s not for those who need an everyday commuter car, nor is it for you poor devils with hereditary back problems or bigger-than-average frames. And it’s definitely not for people who consider driving a chore, equating it with doing the dishes or walking the dog. But for everyone else, this little 2-seater is about the closest thing there is to nirvana on four wheels.

    Handling is the name of the Elise’s game. It bested the bunch around the skidpad, registering an amazing 1.03g, and it was second fastest through the slalom, running around the cones at 72.6 mph. As for its lap times, this car finished mid-pack, ahead of those with much more power. And it placed 2nd in performance.

    “Quick reflexes, plenty of grip. Talk about your asphalt-sucking apex-leeches, this thing sticks!” exclaimed Douglas Kott, Executive Editor.

    The secret to the Elise’s agile demeanor is its low weight (Yokohama Advan R-compound tires help also). Tipping the scales at a mere 1960 lb., the Elise undercuts the second-lightest of this group, the Honda S2000, by 900 lb. It is more than 1400 lb. less than the Nissan 350Z. So despite having the lowest power output of the bunch, the Elise managed to post impressive acceleration numbers. It ran to 60 mph in a sprightly 4.6 sec.

    The engine, mounted amidships, is a massaged version of the Toyota Celica GT-S’s 1.8-liter inline-4 with VVTL-i. Like the Honda engine, this thing absolutely screams; peak horsepower arrives at 7800 rpm and its redline comes at 8000. The tach doesn’t indicate the red- or orange-line of the engine, so you have to rely on the shift-up light to help you get the most of its 190 horses.

    Despite its unrivaled aptitude on the track, the Elise is the anti-Christ when it comes to grand touring. In terms of everyday creature comforts...well, there’s more creature here than comfort. To say that the interior is minimalist is an understatement; it looks as if it’s been stripped, with nothing but the instruments, gauges and a small radio on a nondescript dashboard. The seats are nothing more than folded pieces of thin sheet metal, and the best way to get into those seats requires you to step on them first, or else you won’t be able to clear the doorsill that also doubles as an armrest. The interior noise level is high, especially with the high-revving engine constantly screaming directly into your ears. As for ride quality, it scored an abysmal 12.7 points out of 20. The Lotus also ranked last in luggage space.

    “To me, this is a little club racing car. I couldn’t live with it on the streets everyday. You get the most out of the Elise on a track. And the tighter the track, the more you’ll get out of it. The Elise is a fantastic little car; the problem is, most people don’t drive their sports cars on a track all the time, do they?” Millen commented.

    It’s obvious that the Elise has a number of deficiencies when it comes to everyday use. However, for many enthusiasts, sports cars are toys, something to be enjoyed on sunny weekends. Furthermore, the Elise’s shortcomings can easily be overlooked when you’re diving into the apex of a corner, leaving a Porsche or BMW in your wake.

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    3rd — Porsche Carrera S Coupe

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    For nearly 40 years, the one constant in sports cars has been the Porsche 911. Many have come and gone over the years, while still others have reinvented themselves repeatedly, but the 911 has remained true to the original spirit as laid down by the good doctor, Ferry Porsche. The style of the exterior, the makeup of the chassis, the feel of the engine — there’s a direct correlation among every 911 in existence, this one included. And it’s still one of the very best; the Carrera S Coupe took top honors in the price-independent category. Unfortunately for the Porsche, its $79,100 price tag ($91,560 as tested) was enough to drop it to 3rd place in the overall results.

    The Carrera S was one of three cars to break the 67-sec. barrier around the West Loop, coming within four-tenths of a second from taking top honors. Despite having less power than the two faster cars (the Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Viper), the 911 ranked highest in terms of overall balance. (Note: We performed our on-track evaluations with the PSM yaw-control system turned off.)

    The 3.8-liter flat-6 is amazingly flexible. The rear 295/30ZR-19 tires hook up immediately at launch (none of that axle tramp that besieged past 911s). You can really feel the effect of the VarioCam, Porsche’s continuously variable-valve-timing system, around 4000 rpm, giving the car the sensation of something with forced induction.

    The suspension system — front MacPherson struts and a rear multilink — has been tuned to give the car a more compliant ride; therefore, some body roll is present through tight turns, and the car displays a floaty nature over hills and crests. But unlike past 911s, this newest rendition (internally designated the 997) won’t punish you for small mistakes. Get a bit too aggressive with the throttle or brakes, and the Porsche will give you a slight jiggle, letting you know that you need to be smoother. The rear end stays put, breaking loose only when you choose to...or when you make a big mistake. The steering is quick and linear, and the brakes are by far the best of the lot.

    “The 911 was different because it took me a few laps to figure out. At first, I noticed some motion at speed, most of it vertical and some horizontal, so I drove tentatively. But as I increased my pace, the car settled down, exuding more and more confidence. The harder I drove it, the better the car became. I never considered myself a Porsche person before, but after my stint in this car, I have come away a believer,” Millen said.

    Editor-in-Chief Thos Bryant added, “The Carrera S continues to be one of the best sports cars in the world. It’s fast, with an engine that gets more powerful at the top end. Its brakes are excellent; they clamp down on speed like a huge pair of pliers.”

    At the test track, the Carrera S posted some awesome acceleration numbers: zero to 60 mph in 3.9 sec. and 12.3 to the quarter (we got a 4.4 and 12.8, respectively, in a previous test). These numbers were so extraordinary that we took the car to MD Automotive in Westminster, California, to measure the Carrera S’s output on the dynamometer. No steroid controversy here, the car came away clean. The only explanation for the difference in acceleration times is that this particular engine had a proper break-in period (it had 5400 miles on the odometer as opposed to the 1200 miles on our previous test car).

    Sure, the asking price for this car is high. But you get what you pay for with the Porsche Carrera S, which is the best sports car in the world under $100,000.

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    2nd — Porsche Boxster S

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    As we were making preparations for this test, the Porsche Boxster S wasn’t on our original list of contenders. Not only did we already have a Porsche represented here, the possibility of getting the all-new 987 was a longshot at best. However, in the eleventh hour, a shiny 2005 Boxster S, complete with new face and revitalized powerplant, showed up at the racetrack.

    And are we ever glad it did.

    After the dust had settled, this German 2-seater won as many categories as its stablemate (five), and nearly walked away with the overall prize. And as far as the R&T editors were concerned, it was the winner — five out of eight of them put it at the top of their lists. Whether at the track or on public roads, the Boxster S enthralled all who sat in its plush leather seats.

    “This new iteration is a wonderful sports car, now with a bit more style and power. The engine revs beautifully and pulls strongly through the rev band. The gearbox is excellent. And though there is a bit of vertical motion through corners and over rises — once you’re used to it, there’s no problem,” Bryant said.

    On the West Loop, the new Boxster S was a picture of balance, with the engine harmoniously in sync with the chassis. The 3.2-liter dohc flat-6 revved effortlessly throughout its rev range. Its generous low- and mid-range torque supplied excellent snap off the line and good speed exiting corners. Stay on the throttle, and its acceleration curve gets steeper and steeper, like a thoroughbred on the final stretch. It reached 130 mph on the straight, and posted the fourth best lap time.

    “I was really impressed with this engine. It actually surprised me how well it felt at the track. The brakes are great, they slow the car down effectively, and its mid-turn balance is flawless, enabling me to pick up the throttle very early. It provided great feedback and instills a lot of confidence,” commented Millen.

    The basic geometry of the suspension remains unchanged from the current Boxster S — MacPherson struts up front and multilink at rear — but the car feels a bit stiffer than before, thus exhibiting better stability through tight corners. Turn-in is super-crisp, thanks in part to its quick communicative steering. In fact, many of us felt that the Boxster S displayed sharper responses than the 911 Carrera S. And no wonder, the stylish roadster was the fastest through the slalom, posting a record time of 73.9 mph (yes, it ousted the Ferrari Enzo!), and it out-braked the rest from 60 mph, needing only 107 ft. of tarmac to come to a dead stop. On the open road, the car is a delight. Its predictable handling nature and seamless power delivery make it the ideal mount for winding mountain passes. Ride quality is good, and the interior, which is among the coziest of the group, is comfortable and quiet — it doesn’t get as cacophonous as some of the other soft-tops in this test.

    Where the Boxster S falters is price. The Boxster S’s base sticker of $53,100 will keep it from entering many people’s driveway, and it kept the car from taking top honors in this test.

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    1st — Chevrolet Corvette

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    Performance, comfort, value. The Chevrolet Corvette scored consistently well in all categories. But its prowess on the track was what really shined on this day. It posted the best lap time around the West Loop at 66.32 sec., taking on the track’s straights with unbridled fury, but dancing through its various corners like a ballerina.

    The 6.0-liter pushrod V-8 pumps out 400 bhp, sending all of it to the rear wheels at 6000 rpm. Its 400 lb.-ft. of torque peaks at 4400 rpm, but you can feel its effect as soon as you depress the throttle pedal. The low-end punch is formidable, almost violent, pressing you into the seat when the rear P285/35ZR-18s establish their hold on the asphalt. And the momentum keeps on building until you bounce off its 6500-rpm redline. Zero to 60 mph comes in 4.5 sec. and the quarter mile in 12.8.

    The capricious handling nature of the Vette, much like that of the Dodge Viper and Porsche Carrera S, takes a few laps to master. Unlike the others, the C6 Vette has four levels of traction/yaw control that cater to different driving levels and situations
    . At Full Mode — with traction and yaw control working at their full potential — the system kicks in when it senses the slightest tire slippage, keeping the driver from getting into any sort of trouble. It’s ideal for slippery roads or the novice driver. With the entire system turned off, the Corvette suddenly becomes intimidating because the rear end breaks loose almost willingly; and in other conditions, the car starts displaying understeer. We found the optimal setting to be one of the intermediate settings: Competition Mode. Competition Mode lets the driver get a bit sideways and allows the power to be put down aggressively out of corners. It’ll also help tuck the nose in if you enter a corner too hot. The system kicks in only when it senses significant errors, the types that’ll slow you down or ultimately lead to disaster. Millen, who set fastest time in this mode concurs:

    “Naturally, I like having control of everything when driving hard on a track, so I prefer no computer assistance whatsoever. But with the Vette, I found that I couldn’t get the power down early enough with the traction control turned off. The rear end kept breaking loose out of corners. Then I tried it with the system in Competition Mode. To be honest, I didn’t think I was going any quicker; it pulled the engine power back when I wanted it, but it did get rid of that rear-wheel spin. At the time, I thought it had too much control, but obviously it works really well because my lap times were a few tenths faster.”

    It worked well enough for the Corvette to score an impressive 18.4 points out of 20 in the Handling category. Our bright yellow Chevy registered a neck-wrenching 0.98g around the skidpad and galloped through the slalom at 70.2 mph.

    The Vette is also a capable grand tourer, exhibiting good ride quality
    as the suspension system — upper and lower A-arms at both ends — adequately soaked up road irregularities. The interior is spacious and comfortable (although some felt the seats could use better side bolsters), and the controls for the radio and ventilation systems are easy to reach and operate. Also, trunk space is generous; you can fit a golf bag back there.

    All things considered, the Chevrolet Corvette has no real weaknesses and many strengths. It possesses world-class performance, a high level of comfort and dashing good looks. And it’s available for nearly half the price of a Porsche Carrera S. The latest and greatest version of the Corvette is a bona fide world-beater, and America’s sports car is now back in its rightful place atop the sports-car mountain.

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  2. mover

    mover and shaker OT Supporter

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    I enjoyed the article. :)
     
  3. beanolo

    beanolo It does a body good!!!1

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    yea that was a great read.. funny how the s2k ranked in there with those higher end cars.. and still placed pretty well.
     
  4. DA King

    DA King ALT + S Ownage King

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    in for reading later
     
  5. Jericho

    Jericho Active Member

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    At the test track, the Carrera S posted some awesome acceleration numbers: zero to 60 mph in 3.9 sec. and 12.3 to the quarter

    wow :bowdown:

    I remember this article, the carrera won the performance category and the subjective category.
     
  6. 93ex

    93ex New Member

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  7. Gundam

    Gundam Tell Drama he's on my to do list, right after inse

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    C6

    :bowdown:

    ibvietnamesesuspension :mamoru:
     
  8. joshr1

    joshr1 Guest

    i dont know why they included the s2000 with those other cars, its a piece of shit compared to the others.
     
  9. Jerm

    Jerm I

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  10. Bobby Ballsack

    Bobby Ballsack I could be a friend to you

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    I'd love to own any of those cars...Except the Z4
     
  11. Urinal Mint

    Urinal Mint bourbon afficionado

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    The pre-emptive strike:

    DURRRR THE CORVETTE HAS A RINKY DINK INTERIOR AND CAN'T HANDLE FOR SHIT DURRRRR
     
  12. Urinal Mint

    Urinal Mint bourbon afficionado

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    IBMrBonusapologizesforPorsche
     
  13. joshr1

    joshr1 Guest


    and the s2k, and the benz, and the elise.
     
  14. Bobby Ballsack

    Bobby Ballsack I could be a friend to you

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    The SLK was only .3 seconds slower than the Elise. :hsugh:
     
  15. BlackCord96

    BlackCord96 The Humble Magnificent.

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  16. DSHR

    DSHR Well-Known Member

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  17. Bobby Ballsack

    Bobby Ballsack I could be a friend to you

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    My mom just got the SLK. It's fucking hot. :o

    :hay:
     
  18. Peter O'Hanraha-hanrahan

    Peter O'Hanraha-hanrahan OT Supporter

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    C6 is impressive :bigthumb:, cant wait for the Z06 :coold:
     
  19. Peter O'Hanraha-hanrahan

    Peter O'Hanraha-hanrahan OT Supporter

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    slk350? what color? it seems like silver suits that car the best
     
  20. Urinal Mint

    Urinal Mint bourbon afficionado

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    Sounds like a car for Balzz! :eek3d:
     
  21. joshr1

    joshr1 Guest


    i cant fit in the cars mentioned by me
     
  22. Bobby Ballsack

    Bobby Ballsack I could be a friend to you

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    White/red per my suggestion. :o
     
  23. Urinal Mint

    Urinal Mint bourbon afficionado

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    I've seen them in all the colors, and white looks the best :o

     
  24. Bobby Ballsack

    Bobby Ballsack I could be a friend to you

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    What are you 7'2?
     
  25. ZoominRex

    ZoominRex New Member

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    :ugh: its way better than a Z or Z4.
     

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