Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Andrew's MR2 vs Elise SC vs Alfa Romeo 4C

You know how every car guy has that one story he cherishes forever?

Well today was that day.


So I'm cruising down the 51 South as usual, when merging from a nearby onramp pops BOTH of my personal dream cars.

A black Alfa Romeo 4C, fresh off the dealer lot, and a black Lotus Elise Supercharged.

I'm a couple cars behind them, watching them flirt with each other as they weave through the crowd.

I turn off the A/C, downshift and gun it.

Which in a 230,000 mile MR2 doesn't produce much.

But they run into heavier traffic, so I make it up behind the Alfa.

It's wider than I thought it would be. The magazine photos and internet videos don't do this car justice.
I flip my headlights up and down.
They've noticed me now, the Elise driver gives me a wave out the window.

We trade places few times, giving little jabs of the throttle among each other.

Traffic clears aside, and all three of us short wheelbase mid-engine sportscars exit Camelback.

The light is green as a spring lawn, and all three cars are heard rev-matching a downshift.

Here's the race lineup:

Above: 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C
2487 lbs. 237hp. 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds

Above: 2008 Lotus Elise SC
2041 lbs. 218hp. 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds.

Above: 1993 Toyota MR2 (NA)
2650 lbs. Like 130hp or so. 0-60mph in some time today.

To give you an idea of how small these three cars are, a new Mustang weighs 3526-3705 pounds dry. A new Camaro? Up to 4300lbs.

The Lotus is less than HALF a Camaro. And now its brake lights flash red in front of me as we approach the double S corners at full speed.

Lotus is in front, then me, then the brand new Alfa.

The first left, Lotus and I gas through 100% committed, Alfa isn't sure what to do.

Alfa falls back a bit, he's a mess.

Tight right hand ahead, Lotus knows what he's doing. I match his line from outside left, gas through the turn, kissing the apex, powering out. It's a perfect dance between us.

During those two turns, I was in all my glory. The sounds of their engines mixed with mine, all stretched to the limit, tires chirping, gears winding, pipes blasting.

Alfa gets schooled by me and Lotus, but now the road has straightened out and it becomes crystal clear how far technology has come since 1993.

The Lotus disappears ahead, and the Alfa slingshots by my right side like I'm parked in place.

God, the sound it made. Like a blender of giant hornets and lasers during a hurricane.

The road weaves right then left slightly, and brings us to the 16th street and Camelback intersection.

Lotus and Alfa are grouped together again in the left lane, looking docile at the stoplight.

I ease in behind them with a huge smile on my face.

Alfa driver gives me a thumbs up in his rear view mirror. I return it.

Light turns green, and we all go our separate ways.