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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As some of you well know, I got to ride in a Solstice the other day on a wild ride at a Dealer event as things were getting packed up. I came on here with lots of praise about the car and I continue to be very excited about it even though I won't be buying one. I admit I'm a bit jealous over those that are taking delivery soon. ;)

So I went over to the Pontiac site today just to have a look at what the General is saying on their official site. Here's something that caught my eye:

• .90 lateral G's ...you'll remember how I said I was very impressed by the handling, and I was and am.

But over at sportcompactcarweb, they have the MSM's numbers as:

There, under threatening clouds, it snaked through our slalom at a very respectable 70.9 mph and circled the skidpad at .96 g.

I suspect different skid pad conditions yield different results. But Mazda USA linked to a 2004 review citing the same numbers by the same company so they must be endorsing it. Or else Pontiac is testing to a different set of conditions. Anyway, I was surprised. But then skid pad is not the end all be all of testing, either.

So maybe I have been driving my MSM like a big wussy...or else I need new tires on the rear (I do, tread is shot) and a decent alignment.

Just thought I'd share. To be fair, I've also seen other reports of the MSM's skidpads coming in at .9 and .92, which is essentially the same as what GM is reporting on their Pontiac site.
 

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Matt123 said:
As some of you well know, I got to ride in a Solstice the other day on a wild ride at a Dealer event as things were getting packed up. I came on here with lots of praise about the car and I continue to be very excited about it even though I won't be buying one. I admit I'm a bit jealous over those that are taking delivery soon. ;)

So I went over to the Pontiac site today just to have a look at what the General is saying on their official site. Here's something that caught my eye:

• .90 lateral G's ...you'll remember how I said I was very impressed by the handling, and I was and am.

But over at sportcompactcarweb, they have the MSM's numbers as:

There, under threatening clouds, it snaked through our slalom at a very respectable 70.9 mph and circled the skidpad at .96 g.

I suspect different skid pad conditions yield different results. But Mazda USA linked to a 2004 review citing the same numbers by the same company so they must be endorsing it. Or else Pontiac is testing to a different set of conditions. Anyway, I was surprised. But then skid pad is not the end all be all of testing, either.

So maybe I have been driving my MSM like a big wussy...or else I need new tires on the rear (I do, tread is shot) and a decent alignment.

Just thought I'd share. To be fair, I've also seen other reports of the MSM's skidpads coming in at .9 and .92, which is essentially the same as what GM is reporting on their Pontiac site.
Or maybe maybe Mazda measures this the way they were measuring hp. ;)
 

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Also remember that Pontiac went with the all-seasons RSA for the tires instead of the Eagle F1 summer only tire.

It's been speculated that switching on the F1 tires will yield closer to a full G on the skidpad.
 

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Stopwatch check on a MSM driven by myself and two other people on a skidpad: 0.90-0.92 g.

0.96 is possible only during a peak event, like a slalom - or they were using non-stock tires, or they were on a different surface, or a hundred other things that can affect it.

My guess is that when it's all said and done, we'll see magazine tests for the Solstice somewhere between 0.88 and 0.92 g, and NC MX-5 more like 0.90 - 0.94.

Don't forget, though, the Solstice is on all-season tire, the MX-5 is not (Pilot Preceda).
 

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I test drove the new Miata today.

Handles like it is on rails!

Much improved over the last version.

Not for those of us over 6' tall though. And the passenger foot-well is like a Medieval torture chamber!

For those of us under 6 feet - check it out - the new Miata is awesome!
 

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RE: MX-5, I found it rolls more than I expected. I'm hypersensitive to roll (and "structural solidity"), and while the structure seems improved over the NB, it still doesn't have the "solid" feel that the Honda S2000 has.
I would have taken a few more pounds if they could have gotten the structure more rigid - maybe they emphasized weight too much.

I was also underwhelmed by the engine power. Mid - 7 seconds is about all I could get for 0-60's. I estimate the 1/4 mile at over 15 1/2 seconds and not more than about 92 MPH (more like closer to 90 ish).

Steering seems a bit "nervous" at higher speeds.

Don't get me wrong, I think the MX-5 is a nice car, and has quite a bit of character. The styling is a bit of a throwback. I think it still properly emphasizes driving experience, it just does it in a different way than the Solstice.

Like I thought before, unofficially ;) driving the MX-5 and the Solstice, the two different approaches to top-down driving allow both cars to co-exist in a small market, and you'll get those that like the way the Solstice feels, and those that like the way the MX-5 feels. Two different flavors for which you cannot argue which one is the RIGHT one for all, but only which is the RIGHT one for YOU.

I do think it's kinda neat that you can only get one flavor of MX-5 styling, but you get two flavors of Kappa styling ;), and this is the even kooler thing: all three are quite different from each other.

That is probably why I think this "rivalry" will go on and on, but there will be no clear winner. The MX-5 has such-and-such standard, the Solstice is bigger and roomier, the MX-5 top can be operated from the driver's seat, the Solstice's steering feels better, the MX-5 does XXg on the skidpad, the Solstice won't leave you stranded in the lightest dusting of snow, the MX-5 has heritage, the Solstice is more exclusive and newer, the MX-5 weighs less, the Solstice looks better and has larger tires.... the comparisons will go on, and on and on... :rolleyes:

I suspect this: if Mazda had come out with the performance feel and characteristics of the Solstice, and Pontiac had come out with the performance feel and characteristics of the MX-5, Pontiac would likely have been SKEWERED by the press and Mazda would have been lauded as advancing the top-down driving experience.

I'd also suspect that if Pontiac purely copied the MX-5 performance, likewise they also would have been demolished by the press.

I think the MX-5 and the Solstice MUST be different experiences - there's more than one way to skin a cat, and there's more than one way to make a low-cost top-down driving experience.
 

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BTW, stopwatch (ahem, theoretical) check on the new MX-5, about 0.91g on the skidpad. MAYBE 0.92g.

Surprisingly (or maybe not), that it is lower than the RX-8. I thought the RX-8 weighs more than the MX-5... what happened to "weight is everything"? :lol:
 

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Solsticeman
there's more than one way to skin a cat
Sir, I am absolutely appalled. There will be no cat skinning around here. You are only permitted to run them down on the curves. ;)
 

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solsticeman said:
.... That is probably why I think this "rivalry" will go on and on, but there will be no clear winner. The MX-5 has such-and-such standard, the Solstice is bigger and roomier, the MX-5 top can be operated from the driver's seat, the Solstice's steering feels better, the MX-5 does XXg on the skidpad, the Solstice won't leave you stranded in the lightest dusting of snow, the MX-5 has heritage, the Solstice is more exclusive and newer, the MX-5 weighs less, the Solstice looks better and has larger tires.... the comparisons will go on, and on and on... :rolleyes:

.....
That's the way I see it.

I also think the Solstice will gain some additional market share with the advent of the turbo in 2007, but I'm not sure whether that slice will come of out MX-5 sales or sales of cars like S2000 and the Z4.
 

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tcl said:
That's the way I see it.

I also think the Solstice will gain some additional market share with the advent of the turbo in 2007, but I'm not sure whether that slice will come of out MX-5 sales or sales of cars like S2000 and the Z4.
How 'bout neither? How 'bout a car like the Solstice growing the 2-seat niche? I think that is where history will place the importance of the Solstice when it's all said and done - bringing those buyers that have never thought of owning such a car... people that have NEVER considered the Miata (for whatever reasons), or the S2K or Z4 or 'Vette 'cause of price.

Attainable...
..back to basics...
...roadster.

Simple, but in the end, it seems like the biggest thing that is moving people that I've talked to is you get all this stuff, and IT'S ONLY $22-$25,000.
 

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solsticeman said:
How 'bout neither? How 'bout a car like the Solstice growing the 2-seat niche? I think that is where history will place the importance of the Solstice when it's all said and done - bringing those buyers that have never thought of owning such a car... people that have NEVER considered the Miata (for whatever reasons), or the S2K or Z4 or 'Vette 'cause of price.

Attainable...
..back to basics...
...roadster.

...
Yes, that's a good possibility.
 

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Well said everyone :thumbs:

I learn so much here :)

I think it's a combination of new buyers and competition steals. Turbo will trim a little Z4 and S2K sales.
 

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solsticeman said:
I suspect this: if Mazda had come out with the performance feel and characteristics of the Solstice, and Pontiac had come out with the performance feel and characteristics of the MX-5, Pontiac would likely have been SKEWERED by the press and Mazda would have been lauded as advancing the top-down driving experience.

I'd also suspect that if Pontiac purely copied the MX-5 performance, likewise they also would have been demolished by the press.

I think the MX-5 and the Solstice MUST be different experiences - there's more than one way to skin a cat, and there's more than one way to make a low-cost top-down driving experience.
Amen brother, the motoring press and most of California love to bash American cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Some very good points raised indeed!

I espeically like the notion that they should be a bit different otherwise one is simply a copy-cat, well said.

I think for me, after now riding in one (still want to drive one!), the best answer would be to simply own both. Each has a certain appeal that the other lacks. I'm not sure that I can own just one and not look twice at the other. After having washed the MSM in all it's Titatium Gray splendor, I'm sure I got the right car. If I had waited on the red Solstice, I'm sure that would have been the right car. Make sense?

In any event, I won't be owning both. To get a Solstice would be to take a largely lateral step. I've driven the S2000 and it's not for me.

What I have done is embarked on what will likely be 6-8 years of gently working down and working down and working down the defenses of my lovely wife until she finally relents on the Elise - used or new as the case may be.

I think that's the next logical step.
 

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solsticeman said:
what happened to "weight is everything"? :lol:
Run it through a salom and you'll find out. ;) As a racer you should well know that transient response is far more important than the numbers pulled on a skid pad.
 

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solsticeman said:
Don't forget, though, the Solstice is on all-season tire, the MX-5 is not (Pilot Preceda).
Can you expand, I saw 5 NCs today, one (a spec edition) had the Pilot Preceda, the others didn't, just wondering how that plays into this?
 

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LBJay said:
Run it through a salom and you'll find out. ;) As a racer you should well know that transient response is far more important than the numbers pulled on a skid pad.
Yup, and when you have two cars that are closely matched (high 68-70 ish MPH in a 100 foot slalom) yet are 400 lbs different, one begins to wonder...

Especially when you can push a proposed "pig" like the solstice, running on all-season tires at 0.89-0.9g skidpad through such a slalom at 68 or 69 MPH...

...and an MX-5 at 0.92g, 400 lbs lighter, on summer-only rubber, and the best you can squeeze out is another MPH some of the time.

So long as it is compensated for power:weight ratio, I'd rather have a more solid-feeling structure. Felt the MX-5 was just kinda "shaky" or "alive" when driving it, especially on Michigan roads. Definitely more alive than the Honda on similar roads. TONS more alive than the BMW Z4, however, the Z4 is pretty hard.

The MX-5 had lots more inside rear view mirror shake than I expected, which makes me wonder if the claimed 22% increase in structural stiffness just wasn't enough - at least for me.

I should warn you, though, I appear to be in the minority when I say that of the near-dozen Miatas I've driven, I have NEVER been impressed with the structural feel. Tossable, yes, fun to drive, yes, but not very "solid".

They may have the natural frequency, but that isn't everything either. The lighter a car is, the higher the natural frequency needs to be (think of it as more of a target stiffness). So if the Miata is in the mid-high teens for torsional natural frequency, and the Solstice and Honda S2000 are also in the mid-high teens, the Solstice and the Honda will "feel" more structurally sound, because their stiffness will be higher.

[(natural frequency is (K/m)^0.5 ). Same frequency, different mass means different stiffness. ]

All three cars have similar natural frequencies (torsional, the primary complaint in a 2-seat configuration), I'm guessing near 17 or 18 hz. The BMW Z4 is more like the 'vette, approaching 20 or 21 hz.

HOWEVER, the Miata is a 2450 lb car, the Solstice/S2000 are 2850ish, the Z4 3050ish, and the Vette pushing 3200 lbs. The corresponding torsional stiffnesses for the apportioned mass works out to (quick excel calculation) about 6 KNm/deg for the Miata, about 8-9 KNm/deg for the Solstice/S2000, and approaching 11 KNm/deg for the Z4 and Vette.

I think the torsional stiffness is more important, and even the new MX-5 doesn't have enough (IN MY OPINION - THAT MEANS FOR MY PERSONAL PREFERENCE) and I've stated why it isn't enough for me.

SO, if mass is so critical, and Mazda has had 15 years to be so superior, how can li'l ol' GM pop out with a +400lb car and come so close on all-season rubber?

Lightweight isn't everything, not by a longshot.
 

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tcl said:
That's the way I see it.

I also think the Solstice will gain some additional market share with the advent of the turbo in 2007, but I'm not sure whether that slice will come of out MX-5 sales or sales of cars like S2000 and the Z4.
In my case, Mazda was the looser. I was planning on a Miata until the Solstice looked to be a reality.
 

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...tough choice

The Sol has bigger wheels...the mx5 has more cupholders. Decisions, decisions.
:cool:
 

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solsticeman said:
Lightweight isn't everything, not by a longshot.
... as the Solstice inches pound by pound close to that 3000 lb mark.

I was told by at the RenCen Party by a Pontiac engineer that the hood and deck lids have been modified (with more reinforcements) and now add 30 additional pounds to the vehicle. Where the base pre-production fully stripped weighted in under 2800 lbs it now weighs 2830 lbs. A fully loaded Solstice will all the trimmings except chrome wheels and not available OnStar now comes in at 2892 lbs.
http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=72329&postcount=16

Which doesn't jive well with these figures.

Items & weight:

A/C (pumps, hoses, radiator, etc) - 60 lbs
Premium & power package - 15 lbs
http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=66310&postcount=34

With a stripped weight of 2830 then just adding air and power accessories puts the weight at 2905 lbs.
 
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