Thread: SF Auto Show
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Old 11-27-2005, 01:50 AM   #2
Jason C
Join Date: Jul 2004
Carmudgeonly Ride: Invalid Carriage
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 1,932
First things first, some pics from ayn:

Audi RS4 Pace car, we both thought this should be in TD's driveway.

Some E60 M5 parts. It looked ok in Interlagos, although I thought BMW's decision to put a E39 540i SP behind the M5 as a "CPO" example only highlighted how crass the new styling direction is, overall.

I wasn't all that interested in the BMW stand, I already see enough of them every day as it is.

Recaro Baby Seats. The Recaro stand was great overall. I got to sit in the red NSX-R seats, they're every bit as supportive as they look in photos. I wish that more cars came with those kind of seats OEM, but in order to do that for the lazy US market they probably have to have those motorized bolsters that move away when the car isn't running. Hey, that's exactly what our 760Li does! Hahah. Ayn really liked the baby seats, he wanted to put one in his MR with a 6-point harness. I suggested a HANS to go along with it.

Civic Si. There was one at the show, with the OEM HFP package. Bodykit/Wheels/Exhaust. I'd pass on the HFP. More on the Si in a bit.

I did some work on ayn's Evo before lunch/the show, and the first time I went for it, I stalled it within 5 seconds of starting it. BMW 6-speed + V8 made me lazy. The ones on the 645Ci and the 39 M5 are so ridiculously easy in comparison, even if the feel sucks. We had a nice lunch at a local Quiznos before heading off to SF in his MR. And this was the big surprise. 101 isn't exactly a velvet carpet, but I thought the ride was far, far better than all the press and reviews had lead me to expect. For sure, it was on the very firm side of tolerable... but it's still nowhere near the teeth-rattling spine-crunching ride I was expecting. I wasn't fatigued on the trip there, which took over an hour. On only one or two instances did a very nasty pothole/concrete ridge send a crash though the car. Even then, it was still within the area I would call *acceptable*. Of course, YMMV. And I realize that the Bilsteins might have something to do with it.

When we turned off the highway into downtown SF, a silver car came off behind us that ayn tried to ID. It turned out to be a Ruf 996 Turbo driven by this 30-ish Indian guy. What a fantastic sound! We thought that car should be in the show.

Some random notes for the show:

C6 Z06 in yellow, had a lot of people around it. Nice guages, shifter was not as agricultural as the reviews had suggested, but what's with the seats? The side bolsters give wayyyyy too easily. Not appropriate for a car that can corner so hard. But as ayn pointed out, a lot of 'Vette customers might appreciate the comfort. Engine looked ludicrously-small-for-a-7-liter. Ayn: That's it? It's only that much?

Solstice, hot looker, disappointing build quality. Wasn't this suppose to be Lutz's baby? And I couldn't find the rear hatch release sitting in the drivers seat.

Cobalt SS. I thought I might as well, seeing that it's supposedly a prime competitor for the Si we were so interested in. Didn't feel very sporting. Distinct sensation of sitting on the seat instead of in the seat. Ayn said it felt like a sedan. Felt very big from the drivers seat. Heavy long doors, very much like the GTO.

Ahh, Porsche had a GT Silver/Black Carrera GT on a rotating stand. Had to stay there for a while. The power seats on their 997 didn't work, just like last year. Damn. And they set up the car for 7-footers, I could never get very comfortable. Oh well. It does look very good, this 997.

Rally cars. Ayn preferred his seats to the ones on the Evo 9. I agree, the new ones are a bit softer and less grippy, even though they look almost the same. The Subaru stand had a red WRX and a white STI. Not very flattering. This new styling is going to take a lot of warming up to. Black with gold is the best choice for an STI.

Mazda had no Mazdaspeed 6 there, too bad. They did have a MX-5, GT black on tan. It looked very nice and had that lovely shifter.

Honda had a new S2000. Laguna Blue Pearl is very very very nice. Ayn didn't believe it had a electronic throttle, it felt like a cable was connected to the pedal and he could hear something under the hood when I moved the gas pedal in the car. My theory is that Honda is using something very similar to BMWs MDK. BMW used a motor-driven throttle plate in conjunction with a cable in their Siemens MS42 DME system (early E46 323i, 328i). In the BMW MS42, throttle application/load above approximately 60% would result in the motor turning off and the driver having full control of the throttle via cable. Perhaps this is what Honda is doing in cars that was once conventional throttle, in order to preserve the proper feel? It seems to make sense, the newer model NSX with electronic throttle is said to be transparent in its operation, and that was a conversion from conventional cable too.

I didn't think that Honda would have an Si present, and if ayn didn't spot it I would have probably missed it. So we spent about 15 or so minutes going over it. Conclusion? I want one, and I'll find a way to get one soon. I like the exterior. I love the interior (a major point of contention for many people). It just feels right. Reasonable levels of practicality, seating room was good. And the standard 60/40 fold-down rear seats give it a lot of cargo space. It'll never outflash the boss (Seriously, a Civic? Where's the snob value in that?). All signs point to a seriously entertaining drive. And best of all, it's priced right. Yeah, a few of you are going to take the "FWD no no no!" stance. That's ok with me, I don't intend to track this car. And there's plenty of inexpensive RWDs on the used market, should I ever decide to try HPDEs in the future.

Time to contact some dealers. I expect some "additional market value" hogwash right away, but I'm sure there's at least one dealer (out of 5-10) who's willing to let one go at MSRP.
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