The auto industry is changing, as automakers are required to meet new fuel economy and emissions regulations. And don't think that these changes will only affect mass market cars; they're also going to transform the performance segment.
Editorial director Marty Padgett, deputy editor Bengt Halvorson, and social media manager Joel Feder sat down this week for a roundtable discussion on Google+. The topic: The future of performance cars and the changing landscape.
You can't hold a discussion like this without immediately bringing up diesels and the German's affinity for their torque and fuel economy. Unfortunately diesels have a limited rev range which turns some enthusiasts off to the idea.
Hybrids have the ability to offer instant torque, though they usually are tuned either for efficiency or extra boost when you are pushing a vehicle. The issue the team raised with hybrids is how the systems operate together. It can make it hard for the driver to have complete control of the car as there has to be some level of electronic integration for the two powertrain systems.
Electric cars give you instant torque, but any inputs you give at the accelerator hang on a computer interface, controlling battery discharge. You're somewhat disconnected from the vehicle, which some say takes away part of the fun of driving. And forget about those distinctive engine sounds as you race ahead.
In the end the team agreed that cars just aren't like they used to be, and in the future they sure won't be how they are today. Driver involvement and engagement might give way to higher levels of performance and efficiency.
Do you think the driving experience will become increasingly detached, or is there a future in more sophisticated vehicles adding driver involvement and road feel back?