Originally Posted by Jamesons Viggen
I know, it sucks.
You used to be able to buy an E90 without a single thing on it and it would still have the braking, steering, and handling more in line with expectations.
So you can be pissed and bemoan that fact.
Or be happy that you can ala-carte and outfit the car the way you need it to-be glad that the choice exists.
I grew up with sporting Toyotas(MR2, Celica, Supra) Hondas(CRX SI, S2000, INtegra Type R, NSX). Now(aside from the SI and FRS) you cannot find a single performance/satisfying offering from both of those makers. There is NO choice.
Although BMW has shifted a bit, at least you still have options to get the setup you want. But they now offer the 320 with the bargain Sports pack(M wheel, sport seats, staggered 18" summer wheels/tires, 704 sports suspension for $1300). So for under $35k you have the most sporting setup-the people who have bought this setup seem to really love it-people coming from Sport E46 cars even.
I guess I am a glass half full guy.
I think as BMW moves away from driver engagement, other companies will fill that affordable driver's car segment. Offerings like the BRZ/FRS, Genesis Coupe, next-gen IRS Mustang are signs that automakers still take interest in sports cars. Since Toyota debuted the LFA, they've seemed to pay more attention to the driving experience also. Cars like the new GS and IS may still have outdated powerplants, but everyone seems to rave about their handling characteristics and steering feel. My friend's dad actually just bought a new GS F-Sport.
I think Honda has a chance to take part in this too. No one can say for sure yet, but the new NSX might inspire them to create quirky fun to drive cars again or at least have some NSX engineering trickle down into the rest of the line. Even now, they might not have the most exciting line up, but some of their offerings still have that old Honda DNA. My brother has a manual Honda Fit, and the way it drives feels like those old Honda engineers are still at work. The communicative steering has great on center feel, and weight builds up nicely and progressively. The engine is weak, but eager to rev and play. Gearing is short but perfectly spaced to match the engine's personality, and the stick shift is still Honda slick. Honda has always been very good at making the different driving interactions very harmonious. They definitely have the engineering chops to make something awesome, but I guess they just don't feel like it yet.
I think we'll still have driver oriented cars in the future, but they won't come from the automakers that we're used to seeing.