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      05-20-2011, 12:48 PM   #1
veejayy
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Splain me this!!

I am confused on what should be a simple issue: steering feel and feedback.

I own a 2010 Mazda RX-8 R3( track version) which incredibly replicates the "feel" of two other cars I have driven: Caymen and 1 and 3 series BMWs. In other words the kind of experience that makes driving everyday "involving".

I rent from Zip car a 328i frequently and my friend has a Cayman so I get alot of seat time in those cars in addition to my own.

It would seem simple to take anyone of these three cars and reverse engineer them and apply the feedback and feel lessons to the RWD cars listed below that have IMHO very little tactile feedback.

Corvettes
CTS-V
G37-S (owned one- meets 3 series on every level except the visceral experience (the most important one) where, compared to Bimmer, it is a FAIL)
Mustang V8 (yes including the Boss)

There is NO excuse for not being able to come at least within 75% of the feel of a 1 or 3 series, RX-8, Cayman or even Miata for that matter.

I would like your thoughts- maybe I am just being overly critical. Thanks!
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      05-20-2011, 12:58 PM   #2
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And this is why we own BMW's
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      05-20-2011, 02:55 PM   #3
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CTS-V?

Interesting example, since magazines, including Car&Driver?, gave the CTS-V higher marks for steering feel than the M3 in comparison. It was also stated how much secure and "planted" the CT-V felt on the autobahn whereas the M3 was "nervous" at those speeds.

I've spoken with talented folks who drive Corvettes on the track, and while most will agree that steering feel is lacking on the street, once on the track and at 9/10ths+ at race pace, the steering starts comes alive.

Plus, it depends what one wants or expects for steering feel. For street use, I like my BMW steering feedback. It is fairly weighty and consistent throughout the turn radius. But I prefer the steering feel of the wife's car when attacking the mountain curves behind the house. Although the steering is quite quick and darty, it loads up nicely as the gees increase. Yet on the freeway, her car's steering is a bit numb off of center.

And wait till the F30 comes with EPS, will you still feel that same?
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      05-22-2011, 06:56 AM   #4
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I like the OP's enthusiasm on this topic as I share a similar point. I being acurrent Corvette owner, I have noticed that the steering feel is kind of numb. It feels like your not in control of the front tires and you keep guessing on whats happening.
But in spite of this issue, the car does handle very well. Once you figure out the car, its a joy to move it about. I couldn't have found a more powerful or better handling car in this price range.

PS, there is no hope for the current generation Vette buthopefully the next Corvette will be able to rectify the ''steering feel'' problem
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      05-23-2011, 08:05 PM   #5
veejayy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OBI_agent View Post
I like the OP's enthusiasm on this topic as I share a similar point. I being acurrent Corvette owner, I have noticed that the steering feel is kind of numb. It feels like your not in control of the front tires and you keep guessing on whats happening.
But in spite of this issue, the car does handle very well. Once you figure out the car, its a joy to move it about. I couldn't have found a more powerful or better handling car in this price range.

PS, there is no hope for the current generation Vette buthopefully the next Corvette will be able to rectify the ''steering feel'' problem

Thanks - I think I got a little carried away . The Vette's other features clearly make up the difference! Great car!
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      05-23-2011, 08:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bcube View Post
CTS-V?

Interesting example, since magazines, including Car&Driver?, gave the CTS-V higher marks for steering feel than the M3 in comparison. It was also stated how much secure and "planted" the CT-V felt on the autobahn whereas the M3 was "nervous" at those speeds.

I've spoken with talented folks who drive Corvettes on the track, and while most will agree that steering feel is lacking on the street, once on the track and at 9/10ths+ at race pace, the steering starts comes alive.

Plus, it depends what one wants or expects for steering feel. For street use, I like my BMW steering feedback. It is fairly weighty and consistent throughout the turn radius. But I prefer the steering feel of the wife's car when attacking the mountain curves behind the house. Although the steering is quite quick and darty, it loads up nicely as the gees increase. Yet on the freeway, her car's steering is a bit numb off of center.

And wait till the F30 comes with EPS, will you still feel that same?
Go test drive a CTS-V. I certainly didn't feel any of what the article said when I drove one. It felt cumbersome, powerful, and dull to me.
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      05-23-2011, 09:44 PM   #7
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It comes down to multiple reasons.

1) Weight, specifically over the nose, plays a huge role. The heavier the car, the more boosting required to facilitate steering. Light cars, like a Lotus Elise/Exige, require little to no steering assistance. Having a rearward weight bias will help ease the level of boost at the helm. Notice how most reviews of the 911s and other mid-engined cars tend to favor their so-called steering feel.

2) Suspension geometry is also another obvious factor. The level of toe-in/out, camber, and damping/rebound stiffness will affect steering feel and rim twitching. Different cars have different roles, and their suspensions are tuned accordingly, whether it's for straightline stability or better turn-in, etc.

3) The type of system providing steering boost will affect feedback as well. Hydraulically-assisted systems tend to provide better levels of feedback relative to electronically-assisted ones. I don't know enough about them to provide an informative comment though. I do know that the switch to EPS is for fuel efficiency; supposedly a HPS system is one of the least efficient parts of your drivetrain.

You'll notice that the cars with the least level of steering feel tend to be front or all-wheel drive, heavy, and feature an electronic steering pump.

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I'm more than positive this explains most of it. Go hop in a go-kart and you'll see what real steering feel is lol.
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      05-24-2011, 11:25 AM   #8
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I have driven plenty of high end cars, I have driven RX-7's and RX-8's as well as 911's, CTS-V's and z06's

It is simple, you notice how light the cars you listed above are in comparison to the muscle or GT aspects of a CTS-V, G37s or Mustang. They all tip the scales at 3400-4000+ and aren't exactly zippy cars. Weight comes into play as well as comforts where as the RX-8, Porsches and MX-5's don't make that the key point.

One thing to consider, a CTS-V and z06's steering feedback and responsiveness comes alive at a point threshold is just different. What a certain car feels like at daily driving levels is usually but not always completely different from when it is pushed but you can't really do that with the levels of power a new GT, CTS-V or Vette are putting out. They are made to be reletively effortless for around town but I bet you'd beg to differ if you got one of these things on the track.

an s2000 for example, great feedback and responsiveness in the daily, almost too much but when pushed to it's limit it isn't very confidence inspiring and is very unforgiving and twitchy at high speeds.

I don't wanna hear "thats why we drive BMW's" fan boi crap because I can list some pretty low end cars that do it better it just depends on what youre driving, and how.

I've driven an E60 M5... at daily driving even spirited daily driving the car is numb and fast, effortless steering and little feedback UNTIL... you actually wind it up and let it rip without limits.

Like women, some of these pretty cars have two faces.

Consider yourself splained to.
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      05-24-2011, 02:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veejayy View Post
Mustang V8 (yes including the Boss)

There is NO excuse for not being able to come at least within 75% of the feel of a 1 or 3 series, RX-8, Cayman or even Miata for that matter.

I would like your thoughts- maybe I am just being overly critical. Thanks!
Have you driven that car? The steering can be dialed in ("Sport" mode) to have great feedback. I'd definitely rate it as at least on par with the 3er, but I didn't get enough seat time (nor did I get to push the envelope extremely far) to really decide whether I liked its communicativeness better than my 335. To say that it doesn't come within 75% of the cars you listed is simply not true.
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      05-28-2011, 11:22 AM   #10
veejayy
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Thx for the replies. Drove the Boss but not at the track so it's possible in those conditions the feedback is better.

The comment about hydraulic vs electronic was helpful and scary. As the demands for efficiency gets greater the enthusiast's world (already a tiny fraction of the automotive buying public ) gets smaller.

Cheers!
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