View Full Version : Competitors for Tesla Roadster
10-26-2007, 01:16 AM
Thought we'd do a discussion on what cars would be useful "alternatives" to the Roadster. Assuming a customer has plenty of cash (otherwise a Roadster would be out of the question anyway) and isn't particularily concerned about the enviroment. Which cars would give a similar experience to the Roadster. That of course has to include ICE cars as there aren't any non-ICE alternatives AFAIK. Would they all be cheaper or are some of those alternatives more expensive?
10-26-2007, 06:16 AM
Pretty much the entire Porsche line:
Porsche Boxster, 911, 911 turbo, GT3, Cayman and the respective varients that those consist of.
Corvette C6, C6 ZO6
Lotus Elise, Exige
Upcoming Nissan GTR
Mercedes SLK 55 AMG
And there are quite a few up and coming small sports car makes coming.
10-26-2007, 06:21 AM
I'm not sure how to approach something like that. "Which cars would give a similar experience to the Roadster?" Similar in what way? As you noted, there is no really direct competitor.
Small, open-top sports cars would include: Lotus Elise, Mazda Miata, Pontiac Solstice and the upcoming Dodge Demon. None of them would come close to the Roadster's acceleration. (Bolting on a supercharger might get you closer, but at the cost of your warranty and any semblance of long-term reliability.) Only the Elise would provide exotic looks and world-class mid-engine handling like the Roadster.
The Miata is interesting because it's relatively lightweight, relatively good handling (as front-engine cars go), relatively inexpensive (half the cost of an Elise). . . It's been a huge success because it strikes a good balance for most people, and because it's affordable. Also it's reliable and easy to get serviced when compared to "exotics". But it's quite common, homely and underpowered compared with the class of cars we really should be considering, and it won't grab attention when you are cruising down the street. People won't be whipping out their cell phones to take your picture.
If a permanent hard top doesn't bother you, then the Lotus Exige would come closer to the Roadster in performance. . . But it's really a track car. The suspension is rock-hard, it's very awkward to crawl in and out, the trunk space is even smaller than the Roadster, rear visibility is nil -- it's far less practical as a daily driver.
The Chevy Corvette can't be discounted. It delivers a lot of bang for the buck, and is a very fast car. About the only thing it really gives up to the "exotics" is it's not-so-exotic looks and relative lack of "exclusivity". Again, no cell phone photos.
If you want it all: killer looks, exotic "exclusivity", blistering performance. . . Then I'd suggest a Lamborghini Gallardo. There's even an open-topped Gallardo Spyder available. However. . . According to Wikipedia, the Gallardo runs $186,250 - $222,800. So, you're looking at just around double the sticker price of a Tesla Roadster, and you're still burning premium gas, and the maintenance costs are hair-raising.
I have to slip in a favorable mention of my Lotus Esprit V8. It may not be as exotic looking or as fast as a Gallardo, but it's pretty darn exotic and pretty darn fast. Lotus stopped making them in 2004, but you could easily find one on eBay.
10-26-2007, 06:36 AM
I'm surprised the Viper didn't get a mention yet.
10-26-2007, 07:41 AM
The question I was trying to make was if someone in a few years looks at a Roadster (when they are more easily available) and then does a test drive and ends up with another car, which car would that other car be. The way I see it, the Roadster is a car for someone that likes to drive and want a fun car to drive since it's in no way practical. They want world class acceleration and handling and a certain minimum of comfort.
Assuming you want a two seat sports car, some reasons to pick something other than the Roadster:
#1: You don't have a good place to install a charging station. (E.g.: condo)
#2: You go on long drives longer than 200 miles roundtrip without stopping.
#3: You need more luggage space.
#4: You insist on a higher top speed.
#5: You want more luxury / comforts.
#6: You want something less expensive.
#7: You have a thing for a particular other brand (e.g.: Porsche or Ferrari)
#8: You want a true convertible.
#9: You want a true hardtop.
#10: The waiting list prevents you from being able to get one anytime soon.
In terms of driving dynamics, around town performance, and such, I don't think you would find any else that makes it so easy to drive quickly. The roadster may be the most fun car you could find for driving through twisty mountain roads.
Having the control of a manual trans, but not having to shift in traffic will actually make the Roadster a good choice for many commutes as well, particularly if you get carpool lane access.
If the Roadster didn't exist, these would be my next choices:
10-28-2007, 05:55 PM
I really love my black Honda S2000. I plan to keep it even after my Tesla arrives. The other colors are ok, but in black it is much, much better looking. When all buffed up, I think it has a really great look. The red leather interior is also pretty snazzy. Handling is quick and responsive, though not at the level of the Elise or Tesla Roadster. Car & Driver mag called the S2000 handling "quick" and the Elise handling "mongoose quick".
It's almost as fast as the Elise, and much faster than a Miata. The trunk is a bit large than the Tesla, and it's a bit easier to get in and out of. The 9000 RPM redline gives it a unique thrill ride feel. It has almost no low end torque at all, so it takes a lot of reving to get it going, but that's part of what makes it fun. One reviewer at C&D said "You have to drive it like you just stole it".
It's a fairly pure sports car with a stiff ride and not a lot of creature comforts, in some ways even less than the Tesla; no heated seats, no nav system, but there is more area in the footwell, important on longer trips. The top is the fastest I have ever seen on a convertible; only 6 seconds to go up or down. I looked at the Porsche Boxster and the S2000, and the Honda was just as much fun to drive for about $20,000 less, so I bought it.
I was thinking that someday I would upgrade to a 911, or maybe even get the car that is my personal favorite for looks, the Ferrari 360 Spyder. Then I discovered the Tesla. My main motivation to get a Tesla is that it's electric, of course. That fact that it is much faster is even better. I expect I'll only drive the S2000 occasionally, and maybe after a year or so with the Tesla, I'll finally be ready to let the Honda go.
If the Roadster didn't exist, these would be my next choices:
I can't fit in either of those cars because of my long legs (36" inseam).
Fortunately, I CAN fit in the Tesla.
I have short legs but a somewhat long torso, so headroom is usually the only possible concern for me. At just under 6' there aren't many cars I don't fit in.