8 Facts About Sports Cars Everyone Thinks Are True


The Acura TLX GT Race Car. Image courtesy of http://www.acura.com/.

The term "sports car" brings to mind images of European super cars, American muscle cars and Asian tuners. For young and old alike, it is hard not to have some kind of reaction to the phrase. Of course, with that kind of recognition comes a certain mythos. Opinions about sports cars tend to be driven by both experience and by pressures from the media, marketing agencies, and by automakers themselves. Let's look at some of the top "facts" about sports care and untangle reality from fantasy.


#1 Sports cars require a sports car pedigree.



While some sports cars are indeed very elite models, custom built by the top shelf automakers, no automaker is excluded from the club when it comes to building a sports car. Take the lowly Ford Fiesta, for example. Although Ford has turned out models that undoubtedly meet the "sports car" definition, the Fiesta is not really one of them. However, Tanner Foust has won many Rally Cross Championships and X Games medals in a Ford Fiesta. Once again, just because the badge doesn't have a pony on it, doesn't mean it isn't a sports car.


#2 Sports cars are loud and make lots of different screeching and shifting sounds.



This might be true if sports cars were only driven in parking garages, and were aggressively shifted by amateur drivers. Most sports cars are driven by work-a-day schmucks who neither slide around corners nor abuse their transmissions. Furthermore, with the uptick in popularity of rally driving, more and more sports cars are driven on dirt. Tires don't screech on dirt. If sports cars are loud, it's because they make a lot of horsepower. Once the car is up and running at speed, it's not any louder than grandma's Buick.


#3 Sports cars are fuel inefficient.



While the neighbor's Prius is not using as much gas as most sports cars, that doesn't mean that sports cars don't do their part to cut down on fuel consumption. The 2013 Porsche Carrera S gets as much as 20 MPG in the city and nearly 30 MPG on the highway. That, my friends, is way better than the Super Duty pickup parked down the block.


#4 You have to be a professional to drive a true sports car.



Sure, understood, only the very elite drivers have access to the very elite cars (reference Tanner Foust's Fiesta, above). Keep in mind, though, that the Subaru backed rally squad is made up of all sorts of misfits none the least of which is a skateboarder who, as it turns out, is pretty good at driving fast too. "I'm not a professional driver" is no excuse to not drive the sports car of your dreams. Try a driving school for quick rental access to amazing cars or go buy a retail model and have it tuned.


#5 DANGER!



Sure, driving like a maniac in a 900 hp, carbon bodied super car can be dangerous. However, commuting to work in a Subaru WRX is probably safer than you think. The thing is, as automakers think up ways to keep their race drivers safer, that technology trickles down into the retail market. So, if your spouse wants to know why you are shopping for a Lambo, the answer might just be "because it's extra safe".


#6 Sports cars explode when they crash.



We've all seen it on the big screen. The bad guy, tearing away in his car, hits something and the car explodes. Parts shower the scene. The hood spins into the air like a frisbee. The trouble is, cars are designed NOT to explode. Fuel tanks are made to keep fuel from vaporizing as it is agitated in the tank. Sure, spilled fuel might catch fire and burn, quickly and with great heat, but explosions as a result of collisions are all but impossible.


#7 Sports cars are expensive.



Sports cars certainly can be expensive. However, entry into the club can be had for far less than you might think. Take a look at the Mazda Miata, the Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, or Subaru WRX STI. Each of these cars, well established as sports cars, will cost you less than $30,000. The sky is the limit once you start adding features and shopping in Italy.


#8 Hood scoops and a massive rear wing make you go faster.



Body styling looks cool, sometimes, and usually doesn't contribute much to the road driven sports car. The rear wing, so popularized by street racing movies, is designed to control airflow over the car and to improve handling and efficiency. However, moderate speeds (like those encountered on American roads) usually don't generate troublesome airflow, and handling problems like race speeds might. Additionally, unless your commute time is measured in tenths of a second, you certainly won't notice a difference with or without that rear wing. As for hood scoops, intake airflow is well managed in the modern car without cutting a hole in the hood. While some vintage muscle cars with 70 year old carburetor technology may need a big scoop to breathe, most cars don't.



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