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      10-17-2020, 07:43 PM   #1
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What happened to affordable true enthusiasts performance cars?

With all the recent publicity on here of the new M3/M4 & now the i4M or whatever it's called I got to wondering what happened to all the true enthusiasts performance cars that were actually great to drive.
God forbid I should say something non-pc but I have zero interest in an ev performance vehicle. As an inner city transport appliance or goods carrying vehicle I see some merit but as a performance enthusiasts vehicle for the pure enjoyment of driving (not traffic light gp's) I see nothing of interest on the horizon.
To me the perfect example of the enthusiasts true modern day performance car is something like the Alpine, it features lightweight construction (1100kg) & thus only needs a turbo 1.8L to propel it into the 4sec bracket, it handles incredibly & is a hell of a lot better drive than an 1800kg 500hp tank. Unfortunately few manufacturers have what it takes to build something as good as the Alpine without charging supercar money for it.
Just building bigger & heavier cars & throwing more horsepower at them is fine for selling cars to everyday owners with no interest in driving dynamics but NOT for true enthusiasts who actually enjoy driving. The true driving enthusiast market is all but gone now.
As an example of what has happened to the market: I purchased a new Subaru Impreza STI coupe in 1999, it weighed 1230kg & made 206kw from a turbo 2.0L. The modern day equivalent of that car is 1600kg & makes 220kw from a turbo 2.5L. To drive the cars back to back there is no comparison & the added weight just kills the driving experience. How is this progress ?.
Yes I know about crash structure regulations & all the safety etc that has added weight but rather than invest in lightweight solutions most manufacturers have just continued to throw more power at these ever growing barges & thus the market has virtually gone now unless you spend big $sss. Ok there is the Toybaru GT86/BRZ but they are pretty lethargic & unfortunately there is little more on offer.
So why do I own an M2 & not an Alpine....? Well simply because I can not at this stage afford an Alpine, thus I have a Renault Megane RS275-R as my "toy" which is a nice albeit cheaper alternative (if you don't know what that is don't bother commenting).
My M2 is my daily driver & whilst it's the smallest/lightest M car available & a nice car it's still somewhat of a barge imo & not in the same league as something like an Alpine or Lotus.
I realize this topic may make no sense to many so-called enthusiasts who are only really interested in hp numbers & a badge to impress others on social media or whatever but hopefully there are still a few others out there that know what it's like to enjoy driving a true enthusiasts car.
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      10-17-2020, 07:50 PM   #2
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Good thing Porsche still exists
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      10-17-2020, 07:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgoldenz View Post
Good thing Porsche still exists
Porsche are supercar money depending on what market you live in thus not what I'd consider "affordable" & even they continue to increase markedly in size/weight.
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      10-17-2020, 08:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TargaM2 View Post
With all the recent publicity on here of the new M3/M4 & now the i4M or whatever it's called I got to wondering what happened to all the true enthusiasts performance cars that were actually great to drive.
God forbid I should say something non-pc but I have zero interest in an ev performance vehicle. As an inner city transport appliance or goods carrying vehicle I see some merit but as a performance enthusiasts vehicle for the pure enjoyment of driving (not traffic light gp's) I see nothing of interest on the horizon.
To me the perfect example of the enthusiasts true modern day performance car is something like the Alpine, it features lightweight construction (1100kg) & thus only needs a turbo 1.8L to propel it into the 4sec bracket, it handles incredibly & is a hell of a lot better drive than an 1800kg 500hp tank. Unfortunately few manufacturers have what it takes to build something as good as the Alpine without charging supercar money for it.
Just building bigger & heavier cars & throwing more horsepower at them is fine for selling cars to everyday owners with no interest in driving dynamics but NOT for true enthusiasts who actually enjoy driving. The true driving enthusiast market is all but gone now.
As an example of what has happened to the market: I purchased a new Subaru Impreza STI coupe in 1999, it weighed 1230kg & made 206kw from a turbo 2.0L. The modern day equivalent of that car is 1600kg & makes 220kw from a turbo 2.5L. To drive the cars back to back there is no comparison & the added weight just kills the driving experience. How is this progress ?.
Yes I know about crash structure regulations & all the safety etc that has added weight but rather than invest in lightweight solutions most manufacturers have just continued to throw more power at these ever growing barges & thus the market has virtually gone now unless you spend big $sss. Ok there is the Toybaru GT86/BRZ but they are pretty lethargic & unfortunately there is little more on offer.
So why do I own an M2 & not an Alpine....? Well simply because I can not at this stage afford an Alpine, thus I have a Renault Megane RS275-R as my "toy" which is a nice albeit cheaper alternative (if you don't know what that is don't bother commenting).
My M2 is my daily driver & whilst it's the smallest/lightest M car available & a nice car it's still somewhat of a barge imo & not in the same league as something like an Alpine or Lotus.
I realize this topic may make no sense to many so-called enthusiasts who are only really interested in hp numbers & a badge to impress others on social media or whatever but hopefully there are still a few others out there that know what it's like to enjoy driving a true enthusiasts car.
TargaM2 What does affordable mean to you? What country/region are you located? In the US, Federal government economic data shows that used car pricing has been escalating for the past several months. This is consistent with anecdotal comments posted on this site. Inexpensive fun to drive cars are a thing of the past, at least for now.
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      10-17-2020, 09:06 PM   #5
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Under $100k Aus or $70k US
Inexpensive fun cars as you put it may be a thing of the past for certain manufacturers but if the likes of Renault/Alpine can do it why can others not ?
I believe it's probably more because the markets that represent the most return ie China & US (cities) don't understand or desire true performance drivers cars & what they want is basically a sledgehammer shopping trolley. Whereas Europe & other markets that do still desire these cars don't represent enough return for many mainstream manufacturers. Money talks.
Unfortunately performance cars used to be more of a niche market which manufacturers accepted & built accordingly, but the push to make them appeal to a bigger cross section of buyers & thus sell more has resulted in a watering down of what we used to consider a true drivers performance car. Nowadays you just add horsepower & throw on some badges & the target audience buy into it. It's a sign of the times I guess but a shame really.
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      10-17-2020, 09:42 PM   #6
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Audi RS3 or Merc A45s/CLA45s
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      10-17-2020, 09:49 PM   #7
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Build something cheaper make it better?
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      10-17-2020, 10:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexFL View Post
Audi RS3 or Merc A45s/CLA45s
Both barges. I just got out of an A45, similar weight to my M2.
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      10-17-2020, 10:36 PM   #9
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Ok, put it this way, show me a new performance car under $70k US that's circa 1200kg (2650 pounds) That will do 0-100kph (60mph) in under 5 seconds. Apart from the Alpine or perhaps the new Toyota Yaris GR4 I can't think of anything. There is certainly nothing German available.
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      10-17-2020, 10:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TargaM2 View Post
Ok, put it this way, show me a new performance car under $70k US that's circa 1200kg (2650 pounds) That will do 0-100kph (60mph) in under 5 seconds. Apart from the Alpine or perhaps the new Toyota Yaris GR4 I can't think of anything. There is certainly nothing German available.
They manufacture cars that sell. SUVs sell, enthusiast sports cars that meet your description do not.
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      10-17-2020, 11:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgoldenz View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by TargaM2 View Post
Ok, put it this way, show me a new performance car under $70k US that's circa 1200kg (2650 pounds) That will do 0-100kph (60mph) in under 5 seconds. Apart from the Alpine or perhaps the new Toyota Yaris GR4 I can't think of anything. There is certainly nothing German available.
They manufacture cars that sell. SUVs sell, enthusiast sports cars that meet your description do not.
Yes what the buying public in the big markets classify as a performance car these days is far from a true drivers car & as far as hi performance SUV' well just like I said sledgehammer shopping trolleys.
Enthusiasts sports cars that meet my description as you put it DO in fact sell but nowadays they are nearly all exclusively built by supercar manufacturers thus are supercar money.
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      10-18-2020, 12:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TargaM2 View Post
Ok, put it this way, show me a new performance car under $70k US that's circa 1200kg (2650 pounds) That will do 0-100kph (60mph) in under 5 seconds. Apart from the Alpine or perhaps the new Toyota Yaris GR4 I can't think of anything. There is certainly nothing German available.


68K base, 2500 lbs, 4.1 0-60. Do I win anything?
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      10-18-2020, 12:22 AM   #13
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Shareholders and stockholders wanting to maximize value and profit dictate what sells and what direction the company goes in. Business, family, friends, etc., all want you to have kids, go to college, buy a house, get a job, to increase your consumption and buy things. In short, there's no time for "fun things". You'll need to move those kids around in an SUV. And if you want something really special that can't be produced with economy of scale, you are going to pay dearly for it. Ford has already killed off every car in the US except the fusion.
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      10-18-2020, 02:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesNoBrakes View Post
Ford has already killed off every car in the US except the fusion.
This is stark. I like it no more than the OP, but it really is a financially sensible move by ford.


I honestly think that we've reached the end of cars like the OP is talking about. The next ones to appear could only be when battery tech gets small, light and affordable enough...but then we'll also be well into self-driving cars too, so who knows if you'll even be allowed to go out and play on public roads.
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      10-18-2020, 02:43 AM   #15
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Off topic.
There's a man called Khan in London who's trying to price cars out of the capital with doubling the 'congestion' charge, taking it much further out and bringing in a 'ulez' next year to fund his outrageous spending on well...getting rid of cars.
Removing this person and having a motoring lobby in Parliament is the absolute priority in enjoying the performance car of your choice whether its an Alpine or a mini van.
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      10-18-2020, 02:47 AM   #16
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I like that our cars stand out in a literal sea of SUVs, pickup trucks, and other vehicles that I call "buses."
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      10-18-2020, 07:58 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TargaM2 View Post
Ok, put it this way, show me a new performance car under $70k US that's circa 1200kg (2650 pounds) That will do 0-100kph (60mph) in under 5 seconds. Apart from the Alpine or perhaps the new Toyota Yaris GR4 I can't think of anything. There is certainly nothing German available.
With US DOT and EPA regulations and other world national standards, it is difficult to build a car at 2,600 pounds. It would have to be a small car, most likely with just 2 seats. Add in the amount of horsepower to accelerate such a vehicle to 60 MPH under 5 seconds requires a small displacement high HP/liter engine and a DCT transmission.

All can be engineered and sold at $70K if there was large enough marketplace for such cars. The problem is there isn't.
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      10-18-2020, 08:03 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganz View Post


68K base, 2500 lbs, 4.1 0-60. Do I win anything?
Precisely.
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      10-18-2020, 08:06 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganz View Post


68K base, 2500 lbs, 4.1 0-60. Do I win anything?
You win:

"The interior is poorly outfitted and cramped, there's almost zero room for cargo, and you can forget about fancy infotainment features and driver-assistance tech."

Per Car and Driver.

Oh, and it's an Alfa, the epitome of build quality and reliability...
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      10-18-2020, 08:07 AM   #20
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I think what the OP is looking for in a new car will be tough to find for most of the reasons given, in the used market there are more choices. Lotus comes to mind.
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      10-18-2020, 08:11 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murf993 View Post
Precisely.
Or...

You could find a 1972 Ford Pinto, have Hassmachine graft in an N52B30 for you, and then you'd have a lightweight, 4-seater hatchback Runabout.
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      10-18-2020, 08:13 AM   #22
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