Forward: This is an opinion piece. Note that all that I've written here forth is nothing more than an opinion. And as you know, opinions are like... Well... You get the picture.
We live in a great automotive age, don't we? Carbon Fibre can be utilized to make a car lightweight and agile, while also strong and resilient. Engineering has given us the opportunity to accelerate from a dead stop to 60mph, in less than 3 seconds... All while providing daily drivability. Transmissions that require little effort to shift with give us smooth, powerful acceleration all the way through the rev range. And engagement... Is at an all time low.
What's that you say? Bull shit? Oh, but how I beg to differ.
You may say that the sound of a Lamborghini Huracan's exhaust sends chills down your spine. And I believe you. You may say that the way an SLS AMG loses itself in a corner in a controllable drift, is exciting and euphoric. You may also say that the way a 458 Speciale brakes is ungodly, or that a GT-R's acceleration is neck snapping.
But all of these things are controlled by three central driver commands: Stop/Go/Steer.
And although what you think you're experiencing is engagement, because you make the decision as to whether it will happen, it's nothing more than careful trickery. It's an "illusion" of sorts, to guide you into THINKING that you have control.
But you don't.
The GT-R's transmission can be put into full auto mode and still record a sub 3 second 60 time. A 458's brakes are the most high tech ceramics on the market - of course they brake well. The SLS can be controlled by drift... Because it's tires are perfectly mated to it's power levels via levels of adhesion and grip. Huracan's exhaust? It's programmed to sound that way.
All of these are not things that you are "Engaging" in, or "Facilitating". These are the outcomes of other peoples desires to make you "feel" engaged and like you have the power of.
Let's take a drastic spin to the other side of the sports car spectrum, shall we?
The Subaru BRZ is a cheap, $25,000, RWD, manual transmission equipped, 4 cylinder, boxer engined machine. It makes 200HP, and can barely heave it's way to 130MPH.
How many unhappy BRZ owners have you met? How many "bored" BRZ owners have you met?
How many unhappy Ferrari owners have you met or heard of? How many of them have you heard about being "bored" with their cars?
This is interesting, isn't it?
A Ferrari owner of course, buys his car because it's the pinnacle of automotive technology and speed, at his fingertips. Its illustrious company history has manifested into the product he sits in lovingly, as he revels in the quick, effortless downshifts that prompt him to go faster and faster. But he's tricked, because he's not enjoying the driving (Shifting gears, modulating throttle, heel/toeing, e brake drifting, brake fade) experience... He is only enjoying the outcomes (Sound, feeling, vision) of such an experience.
The reason the BRZ owner is happier than the Ferrari owner is simple. He buys the BRZ to be stimulated and co-active in the cars abilities. The Ferrari owner only buys it to revel in them.
In my opinion, this is not what a sports car is. As enthusiasts, we should not endorse the idea behind this. We should unite, and try to communicate with our cars - to be one with their abilities, and to hone them to our personal best, and eventually, their personal best, not have the maximum of their abilities at our fingertips for whenever we deem necessary.
Instead of the rider riding the stallion we, as enthusiasts, should be the tamer. As a tamer, it's our responsibility to be inherently connected with the vehicle we are trying to tame. To be in control of all aspects of it's drivability and to be conscious of any faults that may arise from pushing "too hard".
But we have lost this sense of superiority. Machine, has overtaken man, and as such, the actual sense of occasion of getting behind the wheel of a car and reigning it all in, on your own, conscious of a cars flaws and weak points, has also dissipated.
Bring it back.
Bring back the super sports cars.
Let them be proof that power is nothing without REAL control, and that there is a vast difference between being engaged, and allowing for engagement.