Anyway, steering is extremely precise, with no mush at all. Other cars that I have seen exhibit this behaviour are the Subaru WRX STi and the Porsche Boxster.
In low rpms, though, under 2k, the engine sounds like a spaceship gurgling around. If I drive based on listening to the rotary engine, the engine sounds only 60% of what the actual rpm is. What sounds like 2000 rpm is actually 3400 rpm, and what sounds like 3600 rpm is actually 6000 rpm. Nothing exciting really happens in the car until 6000 rpm, though. But the 6-speed makes it so that if you shift at the redline (which you get reminded of with a "ding!" at 8500 rpm), you get to start at 6k again in the next gear. It could use a lighter flywheel though - it seems to take forever for the engine to spin down from the red-line so I can rev-match on upshifts. Eventually I just gave up and power-shifted it.
The car has one of those European-style sensations of speed. High speeds don't feel fast at all in the RX-8, but taking turns is still very confidence-inspiring. It seems to handle better than the Nissan 350Z, but it has no where near the power. In fact, the $31000 RX-8 is way slower than a bone stock Subaru WRX off the line.
Brakes are really good - the first few times I touched them they grabbed a lot sooner than I expected, but I got used to it really quickly.
It was fun, but I can see why they're having trouble moving them off the lots. For $31k, there are a couple AWD cars with gobs more power than the RX-8, and actually useful rear seats and doors.
Monday, 24th of November, 2003
Tuesday, 18th of November, 2003
Sunday, 16th of November, 2003
Saturday, 15th of November, 2003
Picture - A driver in the novice school taking the Nissan Altima around the skidpad for some massive all-season tire rollover.
Movie - Another driver in the novice school takes a Camry around the skidpad for a demonstration of understeer.
There was also an autocross test and tune held on the parking lot. We got like a dozen runs, and I really learned a lot. The pavement was wet and cold and actually a lot of fun.
I also got to drive a certain silver Subaru Impreza STi. Inside everything is laid out just like the WRX (heck the interior even smells like one), so I felt very at home. Then I put it into gear. That is the best feeling transmission I've driven ever. The throws are the shortest I've ever experienced.
So it's time to move this thing. I launched it, and then I just about peed in my pants. It went from 4k rpm to 7k rpm in about a 1 second. I shifted, and realized I needed to start thinking about turning the car through the slalom. The steering ration is quicker, and it was incredibly telepathic at the speed I was driving - which was not fast relative to what the car could do. On a larger turn, the brakes were prefectly suited to the incredible speeds the car achieves, and I felt that a lot of the car's speed was managed for me as I stepped on that middle pedal. Did my braking, then turned, in typical Subaru fashion, then applied power at the apex. On today's wet pavement, I got a nice neutral drift and a big red flashing thing on the dashboard along with a dinging alerted me I needed to shift! By the end of the course I was going over 70 mph! Cars like this make the Nissan 350Z feel really weak...
Friday, 14th of November, 2003
Thursday, 13th of November, 2003
So how's this for more computer problems. I installed a trial version of Homesite 5.0 (now owned my Macromedia) and decided I didn't like it, so I uninstall it. Except it didn't really uninstall it all the way - there were a bunch of broken links in the registry, including an entire broken package of tools called the "Macromedia FTP" tool, which has an icon that sits under "My Computer". So every time I launch an explorer window, explorer.exe would crash. Argh! I had to go in and clean up the registry myself. I won't be getting that piece of software any time soon...
Wednesday, 12th of November, 2003
Tuesday, 11th of November, 2003
Thursday, 6th of November, 2003
Wednesday, 5th of November, 2003
Monday, 3rd of November, 2003
The latest fad in automobile performance, for all the car nuts - Kale Co. Automotive Supply - check out the parts.
Sunday, 2nd of November, 2003
All you Matrix fans will enjoy ASCII rendition of the Matrix. Thanks to Jianxiong for passing it along.
The concert by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra tonight was great - Beth, Hannah, and I drove down from Oxford, OH. They played Sibelius' 2nd Symphony - the way Paavo Järvi, the director of the CSO, interpreted it was very Leonard Bernstein style - very much like the recording I own with Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic. Then I look at the program, and discover that Järvi studied under Berstein. Aha! Well anyway, it was the last concert before the CSO leaves for a tour through Japan, so they played 3 encores for a receptive crowd that filled about 60% of the Music Hall.
Picture - Downtown Cincinnati is really cool - they have backlit street signs. This photo was shot very haphazardly, but you can get an idea. Lane indicators and street names were all backlit, allowing very pleasurable navigation through downtown.