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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
spyderone said:
Many people will gripe about the lack of a power top; first off, don't be lazy. Secondly, a power top adds weight, and the Solstice is all about being slim and lithe.
I'm sorry but that's just a little humorous. Even GM admits that the Solstice is a little overweight. But that's not unusual for car designs that are rushed through the development stages.
 

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LBJay said:
I'm sorry but that's just a little humorous. Even GM admits that the Solstice is a little overweight. But that's not unusual for car designs that are rushed through the development stages.
We've gone over this so many times before. Besides the dead MR2, Miata, and Elise the Solstice is one of the lightest Roadsters on the market. Being the 3rd lightest isn't to shabby in my opinion.

S2000, Z4, Z3, Boxster, Corvette, Viper, XLR, TT; they're all heavier.
 

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From all the reviews it's still peppy, so what if it's a little over weight?
 

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LBJay said:
....But that's not unusual for car designs that are rushed through the development stages.
Rushed? :skep:

GM can never get it right...if they took 7 years to do this people would be saying same old bloated American car maker, can't turn around a new model in less than 5 years.

Every first generation has a few glitches in design. Takes a while to refine things. Just my 2 cents.
 

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brentil said:
S2000, Z4, Z3, Boxster, Corvette, Viper, XLR, TT; they're all heavier.
Well, not quite. The S2000 is 2835 lbs and the Porsche Boxster 5-speed manual is 2855 vs the Solstice at 2860lbs.

However, more significant than weight alone is power-to-weight ratio.

Viper has .147 hp per pound
Corvette C6 has .125 hp per pound
Porsche Boxster has .084 hp per pound
BMW Z4 2.5i 5 speed manual has .063 hp per pound
Solstice has .062 hp per pound
Audi TT 180hp has .056 hp per pound
 

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CloakedKnight said:
Well, not quite. The S2000 is 2835 lbs and the Porsche Boxster 5-speed manual is 2855 vs the Solstice at 2860lbs.
I was looking at the Boxster S, "Curb weight 2,965 lbs."
Ok so it weighs within a 1% error margin of the S2000 and matches the normal Boxster. I think that's pretty good for being $12,000 cheaper then the S2000 and and $23,000 cheaper then he base Boxster. You'd think for that much more money those cars wouldn't be so fat and bloated, huh?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's not a slam on the Solstice really. It's just a reality of the design process.

GM has admitted that it's slightly overweight (their target). With the time-line they were given to go from concept to production, there wasn't the time to do everything they wanted.

Does anybody here really want to argue that if the GM engineers had another 6-8 months they couldn't have been able to trim back the weight? And that the Solstice at even 200 lbs less wouldn't have been a better sportscar?
 

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LBJay said:
...
Does anybody here really want to argue that if the GM engineers had another 6-8 months they couldn't have been able to trim back the weight? And that the Solstice at even 200 lbs less wouldn't have been a better sportscar?
I don't want to argue, and agree with your second point.

However, even if they got 6-8 more months, there's no way they would have been able to trim 200 lbs without significant cost (and a crapload of composite materials and a price to pay in noise) and a move AWAY from the "back to basics roadster" purpose of this car. This car is nearly spot on as far as weight and general size.

The Miata is pretty much spot on as far as weight and general size. The miata is lighter because it is smaller. That's obvious from the first time you sit in the Miata, especially if you go across the street and sit in a Honda S2000 the next hour.

Is the Miata really better? I barely fit in the darn thing - I'm not overly huge (BMI in the 28-30 range). It's not such a great car for me, and many times (MSM notwithstanding) feels quite underpowered and lacking in torque. For me, the Miata isn't better.

I've driven a Lotus Elise - fun "go-kart", but really limited as far as a functional, "all-around" car. Difficult to get in and out of, somewhat hard ride, but wicked fast and razor sharp edgy steering. Is it better? As a performance and a racecar, it sure is, but to me, not $15K better than a Miata (in overall terms), nor is it $8K better than a Honda S2000.

All this stuff is from my viewpoint. If the Sol' were able to maintain the same size but end up 200 lbs lighter, yep, it would be a better car. If they had to narrow or shorten the car, or put a smaller engine in it, or take away a bunch of noise abatement to "cheat" the weight down, or put P195/70R14 tires and wheels on it... then #ell no, it wouldn't be a better car.


Sorry, don't mean to bust your chops or anything, just trying to get the word out that the size of a car is HEAVILY linked with the weight of a car.

There's the "balls-out" approach of the most advanced sports car that GM makes (or is going to make): the C6 Z06 - they left (supposedly) nothing on the table and EVERYthing on that car is oriented toward ultimate handling and power:weight ratio.

Yet, it still weighs more than 3,100 lbs. All that work and advanced research and design, and they STILL can't make a V8 the size of the vette less than 3,100 lbs. That's because, even when they had all they needed, the SIZE of the 'Vette made the WEIGHT of the 'Vette what it is. It established a sort of floor limit that the minimum amount of equipment MUST weigh, regardless of the exotic materials or cost or sacrifice in creature comforts that are done to eliminate it.

Size of the vehicle establishes the weight of the vehicle, for the most part, and a bit of adjustment for the engine (larger engine displacement=more weight). If you think the Solstice is heavy, blame Franz VonHolzhausen, the designer that left GM for Mazda - he's the one who prolly decided the track and wheelbase and established the weight of the Solstice (which I'm certain he prolly had no idea he was setting the vehicle weight also), waaaay back in 2001.
 

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If this is an unbiased review (i.e. not from a GM insider/tester) then I am really impressed. There were no major faults reported which encourages even further.
 

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i think the power to weight is completely appropriate for this car- very close to some of the most fun driving cars i've driven. i can tell you that the one solstice i saw on the road had no trouble at all turning my pickup truck into a little speck in his rear view mirror when i was chasing him down a freeway on ramp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
solsticeman said:
Sorry, don't mean to bust your chops or anything, just trying to get the word out that the size of a car is HEAVILY linked with the weight of a car.
Uhh, last I checked the 06 MX-5 is the same length and and just couple of inches narrower. It weights all but 400lbs less!

It doesn't require "a crapload of composite" to drop weight, just a real concerted effort to minimize weight when designing each part of the car. That takes time.

I'll give you an example. The 90-97 Miata softop had a vinyl (plastic) rear window, the (same physical size)redesigned 99+ softop has a glass rear window with defroster and it weights almost 3 lbs less than the early one. Attention to detail...


Don't get so touchy, I would love to see the Solstic be a great sportscar.

But just because you show up at your high school reunion and 99% of the people have put on 60+lbs since graduation, make the 60 lbs you've put on, look sliming.
 

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LBJay said:
Uhh, last I checked the 06 MX-5 is the same length and and just couple of inches narrower. It weights all but 400lbs less!

It doesn't require "a crapload of composite" to drop weight, just a real concerted effort to minimize weight when designing each part of the car. That takes time.

...
LBJay - you are confusing overall dimensions with structural dimensions. When I say "size", I mean the track and wheelbase - the stuff hanging off past the wheels on each end tend to consist of similar materials (generally impact beam/bumpers, some fascia materials, etc.).

The NB miata is only an 89" wheelbase vs. 96" for the Sol - THAT is a buttload. 7" longer wheelbase for the Solstice.

The NB Miata average track is 56", vs. a WHOPPING 60 1/2" for the Solstice - that dimension is almost twice as important as wheelbase, because addition of mass along that axis is more additional weight along the longer axis of the car. 4 1/2" wider for the Solstice.

The Sol has a bigger motor, therefore will also gain some weight there.

The S2000 is 94 1/2" wheelbase, 58 1/2" average track (so it's actually structurally smaller than the Solstice) yet it weighs only a bit less than the solstice.

The BMW Z4 is 3" longer wheelbase than the Solstice, but 1" narrower in trackwidth - yet the Z4 is about 80 lbs heavier (the 2.5i 4 cyl version).

Mazda has been at the roadster designing game for a lot longer than GM - and they increased the size of their next generation MX-5. If anyone has had YEARS to think about how to efficiently make a low mass car, it would be them. Their latest generation car should not have gained any weight (since weight is so "all important"), yet even THEY could not overcome the addition of SOME weight [mazda claims they only gained around 27- 51 lbs, we'll see when I get a chance to weigh one].

Here's another thing to throw in - right now, we all consider the Solstice weighs 2860 lbs, right?

Exactly WHAT content does that include? Does this apply to an "average" vehicle, a heavily contented one like the "sport" or "grand touring" Miata models, or does it apply to the 19,995 car? I have my suspicions, but if this is an "average" car, the Solstice "base" car may be down in the 2750-2800 lbs range (no A/C, super stereo speakers/amplifiers, electric window motors...)

The NB Miata, IMHO, was kinda "wiggly" as far as structure goes. Mind you, I'm in MI, and the roads here are like a vaccuum cleaner - they SUCK!!! Structural feel and rigidity (not just natural frequency, I'm talking stiffness) is important here, and the Miata falls down in that respect.

The S2000 is very good (if not tuned a bit hard), the Z4 is great (but rides even harder). I'm hoping for at least as good as the S2000 for the Solstice. To get good structural feel means extra structural weight - and it's not like GM doesn't know who its competition will be.

Now, if the Solstice top was instead a low-weight removeable hardtop, I can see some weight savings there. But aside from ditching A/C, pulling out sound deadeners, the only thing left is substituting materials (like CF) for parts that are steel (the suspension is already aluminum).

Point is, the Solstice, when you add it all up, is a lot more efficient weight-wise than I thought it would turn out. By all rights, the car should weigh in excess of 2900 lbs, 2950 with an auto trans. GM has done an outstanding job, and the car weighs a bit better than it should. 6 or 8 months more would not reduce the weight much more than where it is now.


It would be kool to make a super lightweight Solstice - CF body, lightweight wheels, 17" tires, no sound deadeners, etc. - I think THAT would be a blast to drive.
 

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solsticeman said:
LBJay - you are confusing overall dimensions with structural dimensions. When I say "size", I mean the track and wheelbase - the stuff hanging off past the wheels on each end tend to consist of similar materials (generally impact beam/bumpers, some fascia materials, etc.).

The NB miata is only an 89" wheelbase vs. 96" for the Sol - THAT is a buttload. 7" longer wheelbase for the Solstice.

The NB Miata average track is 56", vs. a WHOPPING 60 1/2" for the Solstice - that dimension is almost twice as important as wheelbase, because addition of mass along that axis is more additional weight along the longer axis of the car. 4 1/2" wider for the Solstice.

The Sol has a bigger motor, therefore will also gain some weight there.

The S2000 is 94 1/2" wheelbase, 58 1/2" average track (so it's actually structurally smaller than the Solstice) yet it weighs only a bit less than the solstice.

The BMW Z4 is 3" longer wheelbase than the Solstice, but 1" narrower in trackwidth - yet the Z4 is about 80 lbs heavier (the 2.5i 4 cyl version).

Mazda has been at the roadster designing game for a lot longer than GM - and they increased the size of their next generation MX-5. If anyone has had YEARS to think about how to efficiently make a low mass car, it would be them. Their latest generation car should not have gained any weight (since weight is so "all important"), yet even THEY could not overcome the addition of SOME weight [mazda claims they only gained around 27- 51 lbs, we'll see when I get a chance to weigh one].

Here's another thing to throw in - right now, we all consider the Solstice weighs 2860 lbs, right?

Exactly WHAT content does that include? Does this apply to an "average" vehicle, a heavily contented one like the "sport" or "grand touring" Miata models, or does it apply to the 19,995 car? I have my suspicions, but if this is an "average" car, the Solstice "base" car may be down in the 2750-2800 lbs range (no A/C, super stereo speakers/amplifiers, electric window motors...)
Maybe you should be comparing the specs on the NC Miata, not the outgoing NB model.

Yes, the solstice is a dimensionally larger vehicle externally, but the specifications for the passenger compartment favor the Miata. The Miata also has more cargo room. It does this with a much shorter wheelbase, narrower track and smaller overall size. Also, EVERY model of the Miata is significantly lighter than the Solstice. The heaviest Miata is 2527 pounds. The lightest version is 2441.

I can virtually guarantee that the weight Pontiac is quoting is for the base model Solstice. Even if it isn't, A/C doesn't weigh that much. At best, you'd be looking at 30-50lbs. of weight savings. That still leaves you with a 300lb weight difference between the Solstice and Miata. If you read about the design philosophy behind the Miata, you will find that weight reduction and mass centralization was a primary objective. The thought they put into the car is nothing short of remarkable, and I think they need to be recognized for that.

The Solstice isn't a heavy car, but its very middle of the road as 2-seat roadsters go. As for engine displacement having anything to do with weight, that is silly. There is no direct correlation between engine displacement and weight. Comparing an LS1 to an LS7 will prove that.

Weight by itself doesn't make a car a winner or a loser, which is why the Solstice is still going to do well. Sportscar purists will probably prefer the Miata's design, but I think the solstice does a fine job aswell. They are two cars that are doing the same thing in different ways.

The Solstice is going to be a great car, as will the Miata. I think you could buy either car and be very happy with your purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
solsticeman said:
The NB miata is only an 89" wheelbase vs. 96" for the Sol - THAT is a buttload. 7" longer wheelbase for the Solstice.
Not the old Miata the new 06 MX-5.

Wheelbase 91.7
Track: front / rear 58.7 / 58.9
Length 157.3
Width 67.7
Height 49.0
Weight (Base) 2441 lbs (No AC) 2474 lbs (With AC)

You could even say the new MX-5 is a porker compared to the original at 2105 lbs. But I don't want to get into direct comparisons, it's not my intent, really.

I just don't want people to think of 2860 lbs as a "lightweight" sportscar or the next generation Solstice is going to be over 3000 lbs. And when 3000 lbs becomes the norm.... :(
 

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Maxximtl, the NC Miata is still 2" NARROWER and 3 1/2" SHORTER than the Solstice - it BETTER weigh less.

maxximtl said:
...I can virtually guarantee that the weight Pontiac is quoting is for the base model Solstice. Even if it isn't, A/C doesn't weigh that much. At best, you'd be looking at 30-50lbs. of weight savings. That still leaves you with a 300lb weight difference between the Solstice and Miata. ...
How can you "guarantee" that? In that case, I virtually "guarantee" that the 2860 weight is the "LOADED" Solstice with XM, Onstar, the Subwoofer and 7-speaker Monsoon....

A/C weighs between 10 to 15 times what LBJay's example of 3 lbs savings for a rear convertible window. (Closer to the 50 lb mark than the 30 lb mark). So I can virtually "guarantee" the stripped Solstice is under 2800 lbs.

Interior dimensions and cargo have no correlation to vehicle weight. Check it out yourself - it doesn't matter the amount of leg room or shoulder room, or cargo, just like there is no correlation of overhangs to vehicle weight. There is correlation of "structural size", engine size, and running gear size, however.

LBJay, I totally understand what you are saying - but it is NOT in the engineer's hands once the size of the vehicle is established.

Hopefully, there are designers (basically "artists") that read this forum, and for those people, I want them to understand:

ONCE YOU DESIGNERS CHOOSE THE WHEELBASE AND TRACKWIDTH, THE VEHICLE WEIGHT IS PRETTY MUCH ESTABLISHED - IT IS IN YOUR CONTROL. TO MAKE A CAR LOWER WEIGHT, MAKE IT SMALLER. DON'T EVER DESIGN A VEHICLE BIGGER AND EXPECT IT TO GET LIGHTER.


One last thing - the weights are so far what Mazda is "reporting". As are the weights that the Solstice is "reporting". I can't wait to get my hands on the NC Miata (maybe even borrow a friend's 4-place scale, and take it to a dealer), and see how close they actually end up.
 

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I just noticed something at the Mazda site when I was looking up info. They have the official weight distribution value up now. Front:Rear 52:48.
 

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solsticeman said:
Point is, the Solstice, when you add it all up, is a lot more efficient weight-wise than I thought it would turn out. By all rights, the car should weigh in excess of 2900 lbs, 2950 with an auto trans. GM has done an outstanding job, and the car weighs a bit better than it should. 6 or 8 months more would not reduce the weight much more than where it is now.
That's true. And while they may be able to make some improvements with an extra 6-8 months, it would be silly to hold back the production of the car for something like that. Like I've said before, this is a bit of a biased forum when it comes to things like that since there are a lot of "car guys" and racing afficianados here. But the average consumer wouldn't even think about the weight of a car when making the purchase. In fact, I bet that if you went to the mall and aksed all the roadster drivers how much their car weighed, probably 90% of them would have no idea or just take a wild guess. So holding back the release of the car for something like that would seem to be overkill. Their return on investment would probably be better spent tweaking the design to get more trunk space. (No, I'm not complaining ... I just think more consumers would be impressed with a trunk that could hold a cooler of beer and a suitcase or two than if their car lost a little weight.) But this is the first year of release on this car ... they can make design modifications along the way. But judging by the number of orders they already have, there seem to be plenty of buyers waiting in the wings for the car just the way it is. In fact, they might even get more sales out of it this way because people who care that much about some of the improvements they make may just trade in for a newer model down the road.

Also, I like the fact that the Solstice is bigger than the Miata. I generally like small cars, but the Miata just pushes the limit of looking too cute and toyish for my taste. Not to mention the fact that I'm only 6' and the Miata I test-drove didn't fit me comfortably at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
solsticeman said:
Hopefully, there are designers (basically "artists") that read this forum, and for those people, I want them to understand:

ONCE YOU DESIGNERS CHOOSE THE WHEELBASE AND TRACKWIDTH, THE VEHICLE WEIGHT IS PRETTY MUCH ESTABLISHED - IT IS IN YOUR CONTROL. TO MAKE A CAR LOWER WEIGHT, MAKE IT SMALLER. DON'T EVER DESIGN A VEHICLE BIGGER AND EXPECT IT TO GET LIGHTER.
Really??? Sampling of a few cars. All 2005s with room for at least 4 and steel roofs. (two are Pontiacs)


Length: 165.7 in.
Width: 66.7 in.
Height: 56.7 in.
Wheel Base: 101.2 in.
Track (in., front/rear) 57.8 / 57.8
Curb Weight: 2782 lbs.

Wheelbase, inches 102.4
Overall length, inches 171.9
Body width, inches 69.9
Overall height, inches 62.2
Front track width, inches 59.6
Rear track width, inches 58.9
Curb weight, lbs 2,700

Wheelbase 103.3
Overall length 180.5
Width 67.9
Overall height 55.5
Front track width 58.7
Rear track width 58.1
Curb weight, lbs 2991

Wheelbase, inches 104.1
Overall length, inches 182
Body width, inches 68.4
Overall height, inches 53
Front track width, inches 57.6
Rear track width, inches 56.4
Curb weight, lbs 2,771

SOLSTICE

Wheelbase, inches 95.1
Overall length, inches 157.2
Body width, inches 71.3
Overall height, inches 50.1
Front track width, inches 60.7
Rear track width, inches 61.4
Curb weight, lbs 2860


And remember that track can vary greatly just with wheel offset.

Weight is a function of design and not necessarly size.
 

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I think that you guys are going a little crazy with this discussion. Isn't it obvious that weight is both a function of size and design. There is much more than goes into the final weight than either one of these two.

For instance...
What do the doors feel like? Are they real lite? A heavier/more solid door will do better in side imact crash test

They fully enclosed a tube around the transmission to give the car greater rigidity, which abviously adds weight.

The thickness of the sheet metal used comes into play. If a ball hits your car how easily do you want it to dent.

There are many more factors that must also be considered.

Maybe having an ultra light car is good for racing, but for everyday driving it is not necessarily the best thing. I'm sure that if they put in more design work/designed differently the car would be lighter, but at what sacrifice is the savings of weight coming at? Would the total cargo weight now be 300 lbs instead of 353 lbs as posted in another thread. Yes, size does give an overall trend of the final weight of the car, but could you always make a car lighter... YES. Do you always want to make the car lighter... NO.

So much more goes into the wieght of a car than just size or just the lack of design time spent.
 
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