Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 61

Thread: Are we just a bunch of idiots?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Barcelona
    Posts
    33,496

    Are we just a bunch of idiots?

    Now that I’ve got your attention…

    I’ve always found difficult to explain the reasons of why I liked a particular car to the average car enthusiast. You know, the sort of chap that thinks a BMW X6M is a really cool car.

    I try to explain the pleasure of having an adjustable back end, or a car with a compliant ride which increases traction on bumpy roads or how great it feels to have a car with communicative steering. It feels a lot like trying to explain to Jeremy Clarkson how a limited slip differential works: neither does he understand it nor is he interested.

    Most of the time you get laughed at, followed by “yes, but my Audi has S-Line written on it and it pulls 8.42gs in the corners and it is better because it says it on the brochure”.

    Trying to repeat the same with a normal person feel like trying to explain quantum physics to an 8 year old. Not only does it sound like witchcraft to them but they look at you and think: it’s just a car and you are completely mad! With them it’s probably better to resort to discussing panel gaps and shut lines. You’ll get better interaction and it’ll be more constructive for both.

    Clearly the number of lunatics that can understand a car like the Toyobaru or the Mazda MX-5 amounts to four. And we all know what happened to cars that have a customer base of four. They go bust. Like SAAB. Feel and handling and all those things are, quite obviously, overrated and irrelevant to 99% of the car buying public.

    But it gets worse. Feel and handling are not only incomprehensible to pretty much everyone but they also cost a fortune to develop. They cost so much that even a massively large corporation like Toyota feared going on it all alone and enlisted the services of Subaru to share the risks. Alfa Romeo is co-developing their return to affordable rear wheel drive machinery with Mazda and there are more differently branded variant of the Lotus Elise that we can care to remember.

    And yet.

    Manufacturers still insist in them. Why on earth do they do it? I mean, it doesn’t seem to make any sense whatsoever. No one can appreciate them and the money invested would better be spent elsewhere. Developing touchscreens and smartphone apps probably.

    BMW is going front wheel drive for the next generation 1er, and frankly it doesn’t surprise me at all. What it does surprise me is that they are stopping there. Why not make a front wheel drive 3er, or a front wheel drive 5er? Scratch that, make the entire range front wheel drive! They will save a ton of money and people will still come out in droves to buy the best cars from Bavaria.

    But those handling idiots… no matter how little they are, they are so hard to get rid off!
    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    nr Edinburgh, Whisky-soaked Scotland
    Posts
    27,777
    Try explaining the beauty and nuances of Beethoven to a Belieber
    Same difference !!!!

    RWD has advantages.
    Also esp for BMW by "being different" and creating a special 'cachet' around it they hold on to premiere sales.

    It doesn't really "save money" as with different car sizes you ened totally different chassis, engine and driveline. Whether you design a new 'box, diff and driveshafts for FWD or RWD doesn't make a lot of difference to costs.

    I am surprised too that with the new drive for pedestrian safety we don't see more RWD as it's easy to put the engine further back and lower to make the bonnet absorb the person rather than trying to make a FWD 'safer' - thus the horrible extended noses protruding well forward of the wheels !!
    "A woman without curves is like a road without bends, you might get to your destination quicker but the ride is boring as hell'

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    isnt it all about west virginia?
    Posts
    1,933
    Just how is "feel and handling" developed? Don't worry you can try to explain it I won't call you crazy.
    badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    nr Edinburgh, Whisky-soaked Scotland
    Posts
    27,777
    First the chassis and suspension designer have a brief on the type of performance required in a car and then using standard math can develop the design.
    Then they build and test.
    Often in testing oddities turn up about precise frequency of bumps etc which then need tweaking.
    The latter part has a lot to do with good test drivers and roads -- thus the use of the 'Ring They drive it and report if car wallows, or turns in tight or oversteers or under OR if it snaps when very fast and losing grip or whether it's progressive. How it comes back in to grip and so the trials continue. Each time listening to the feedback, checking the suspension/chassis dynamics and making tweaks.
    "A woman without curves is like a road without bends, you might get to your destination quicker but the ride is boring as hell'

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Barcelona
    Posts
    33,496
    Quote Originally Posted by Matra et Alpine View Post
    Try explaining the beauty and nuances of Beethoven to a Belieber
    Same difference !!!!
    Good point!

    I still think there are more people in Operas than can understand why the loss of the Alfa Romeo V6 engine did really matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matra et Alpine View Post
    RWD has advantages.
    Also esp for BMW by "being different" and creating a special 'cachet' around it they hold on to premiere sales.

    It doesn't really "save money" as with different car sizes you ened totally different chassis, engine and driveline. Whether you design a new 'box, diff and driveshafts for FWD or RWD doesn't make a lot of difference to costs.
    Oh I can see the advantages. So can you, and most people in this forum.

    But all others couldn't tell if their car was front or rear wheel drive even if their laife was at stake!

    I was once asked by a friend if I could tell the wheels that drove a car just by driving it. I told think I probably could. He was amazed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Matra et Alpine View Post
    I am surprised too that with the new drive for pedestrian safety we don't see more RWD as it's easy to put the engine further back and lower to make the bonnet absorb the person rather than trying to make a FWD 'safer' - thus the horrible extended noses protruding well forward of the wheels !!
    Political correctness making cars better again? First it was weight and ecomentalism, and now this.

    It's the golden era for the petrolhead!

    Probably.
    Quote Originally Posted by Matra et Alpine View Post
    First the chassis and suspension designer have a brief on the type of performance required in a car and then using standard math can develop the design.
    Then they build and test.
    Often in testing oddities turn up about precise frequency of bumps etc which then need tweaking.
    The latter part has a lot to do with good test drivers and roads -- thus the use of the 'Ring They drive it and report if car wallows, or turns in tight or oversteers or under OR if it snaps when very fast and losing grip or whether it's progressive. How it comes back in to grip and so the trials continue. Each time listening to the feedback, checking the suspension/chassis dynamics and making tweaks.
    That last part is the key.

    Feel can't be engineered. Yes there's a theory, but in the end it's the human that puts it in. Without his/her input there cannot be feel, or handling, or anything really.

    That's why when Lexus tells us that they have engineered the parameters of their latest IS model to be the most fun sports saloon in the category I can't stop laughing uncontrollably... Fun is not defined by some parameters, I'm sorry.
    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Barcelona
    Posts
    33,496
    By the way, forgive for double posting, but I just want to make my point clear. I don't want to get carried away by noise, V8s and oversteer.

    I'm not discussing wheter cars have feel, handling, character, sould or call it as you want. I'm assuming some cars have it; and the point of discussion is why do those cars exist at all.

    I'm going to illustrate my point with Jaguar.

    Jaguar is the driver's car. Their whole range, right from the XF to the XKR-S and including the XJ has been made with the driver in mind. They are not spec sheet queens. They are neither the fastest, nor the the most practical, nor the most economical nor the cheapest. Basically in a top trumps game the lose badly. Their driverness has to be felt through the seat, the steering wheel and the pedals.

    There's a lot of evidence that suggest that if Jaguar were expensive Volkswagens (Audis) they would sell by the million. So as a business case it does make quite a lot of sense to follow this path.

    And now they've unveiled the F-Type. A sportscar which is not quite as good or as fast as a Porsche but that is much more expensive. It would've been better if they'd made a Jaguar Focus Roadster and call it a day.

    The F-Type shouldn't exist. Jaguar, shouldn't exist. Yet, they do. And that's my mistery.

    So I ask you, experts of the forum. Why do Jaguar F-Types exist?
    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Californian by nature, living in Teggsas.
    Posts
    4,133
    I want to expoound on this so much, it hurts. But I can't do it yet.
    An it harm none, do as ye will

    Approximately 79% of statistics are made up.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    5,457
    Subjective handling is an art, and in the end that makes it impossible to quantify since there are no set standards or measures. What one person perceives as comfort or compliance another could see as soft or unresponsive. At the same token though the amount of stuff we actually know of vehicle dynamic behavior and ways of simulating, modeling, quantifying, testing, measuring is staggering. You can keep making fun of the people who look at numbers and think they just do that and don't know what they are doing in real life, and you would be pretty terribly mistaken.

    On your point of Jaguar, F-type is fine, there is a market for it, people like to buy pretty open top car. Boats like 6 series or SL sells pretty damn well. So why not. Even the normal XKs. The new things like XKR-S or whatever, that's what I call pointless product. They are paddling them as focused track performance car, and that draws itself to the ridicule. Because you are stepping out of the subjective handling category, and firmly into the objective handling realm where stuff like weight, power, grip, laptime...etc actually matters. And no one in their right mind should buy one....
    University of Toronto Formula SAE Alumni 2003-2007
    Formula Student Championship 2003, 2005, 2006
    www.fsae.utoronto.ca

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Rozenburg, Holland
    Posts
    27,315
    Handling and feeling can surely be established on tracks like the Nurburgring. However in real life there is more to driving a car than on a race track. While I am writing this I have just finished Day Two of Tour Auto and I have seen first hand how cars that have extremely good handling and where your hands could sense everything what the steering wheel is doing while directing your commands to the wheels, have some other deficiencies. Tour Auto leads you over about the most backwards roads that the organisers can find and subsequently the surface often leaves something to be required, to put it mildly. In combination with the numerous speed bumps that have been established to slow down village traffic, the drivers of such cars may really enjoy the handling capabilities of their car, but I would not be surprised that when they are driving behind me and notice how unaffected my C5 takes a speedbump, they might be a bit jealous. This capability may go at the expense of many of the niceties of driving a RWD sportcar, but I personally prefer to travel in comfort than having to suffer a bumpy ride just to enjoy handling. Probably 95% of all car buyers might share my point of view.I would not call the other 5% a bunch of idiots, but simply a tiny minority that has other priorities.
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Barcelona
    Posts
    33,496
    Ok. Forget handling and performance.

    Why was the A2 a flop and the A1 a romping success?

    I mean one is an innovative, clever, practical and characterful city car. And the other one is a Volkswagen Polo.

    So if the A2 was a flop, why did Toyota think the iQ was a good idea? Why does the iQ exist? Surely it would've been much better to shorten the wheelbase of the Aygo, take two seats out and call it the Toyota Smartypants...
    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Rozenburg, Holland
    Posts
    27,315
    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post
    Ok. Forget handling and performance.

    Why was the A2 a flop and the A1 a romping success?

    I mean one is an innovative, clever, practical and characterful city car. And the other one is a Volkswagen Polo.

    So if the A2 was a flop, why did Toyota think the iQ was a good idea? Why does the iQ exist? Surely it would've been much better to shorten the wheelbase of the Aygo, take two seats out and call it the Toyota Smartypants...
    The A2 came on the market a time when the Audi madness/snobbery was far less wide spread compared to now.
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    5,457
    Very hard to relate to those since we don't get any of those cars except iQ, and I kinda like iQ. Its a better made Smart, and does the City car thing smarter...
    University of Toronto Formula SAE Alumni 2003-2007
    Formula Student Championship 2003, 2005, 2006
    www.fsae.utoronto.ca

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    nr Edinburgh, Whisky-soaked Scotland
    Posts
    27,777
    Spot on Pieter.
    BUT the problem with thinks like Tour Auto as a "test" is it's awful long and hard to get back to bits to see if the changes helped or not.
    So manufacturers run mules on roads all over the world for 100,000s of miles to garner input as well.
    The point the 'Ring brings is it has all the nasties of a good road ( where it lacks is potholes and gravel spread over it and lumps of mud fmor tractors - so not perfect ). The undulations, bad kerbs, bumps on turn in points, bumps on apex points, bumps on exits and the option to wind the speed up and see if the issues improve or worsen with speed is a good measure. So manufacturers see the benefit of using it in conjunction with their own test tracks where the vast majority of the setup etc is resolved.
    Should have mentioned both the mules and the manufacturers tracks as key steps in the development. Thus they will do the equivalent of the Tour Auto and recognise the limitations of that too.
    "A woman without curves is like a road without bends, you might get to your destination quicker but the ride is boring as hell'

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Californian by nature, living in Teggsas.
    Posts
    4,133
    I do think consumers simply take what's fed to them. And they feel like they are the leading edge of auto consumers...very slick, very bad.

    Most people don't know how to properly evaluate build quality, ride, handling, etc., just as I wouldn't know how to evaluate the temperament of a cat or the effectiveness of a refirigerator.
    Last edited by jcp123; 04-24-2013 at 05:11 PM.
    An it harm none, do as ye will

    Approximately 79% of statistics are made up.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    brisbane - sub-tropical land of mangoes
    Posts
    16,252
    i do find it amusing when someone in their audi or bmw bland execsaloonathon3000 always says to me;
    "nice car, wish i could afford something like that."
    mate.
    your car cost more than the 911, triumph and mini combined.

    edit: usual follow up is "i don't know if i can afford to run an old car"
    holy shit. do they even read what audibmw charge for their own servicing?
    Andreas Preuninger, Manager of Porsche High Performance Cars: "Grandmas can use paddles. They aren't challenging."

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 8
    Last Post: 08-08-2009, 11:31 PM
  2. Brad Reviews A Bunch Of Albums For No Apparent Reason...
    By Esperante in forum Miscellaneous
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: 10-06-2008, 06:16 AM
  3. The idiots continue
    By henk4 in forum Miscellaneous
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 06-12-2007, 04:45 PM
  4. Idiots!
    By blingbling in forum Multimedia
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 08-08-2006, 02:33 AM
  5. Bunch of numpties want Top Gear banned
    By Coventrysucks in forum Miscellaneous
    Replies: 44
    Last Post: 04-11-2005, 01:43 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •