5 Cars That Wished They Were Motorcycles

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5 Cars That Wished They Were Motorcycles

The past few years a surge in affordable performance vehicles has flooded the market. Everything from rally-spirited AWD sedans to micro hot hatches. The dynamic selection of vehicles that can entertain even the most conservative budget is impressive. But one thing did cross our mind when looking at specific cars: were the manufacturers actually inspired by motorcycles when they created them? So here 5 cars that wished they were motorcycles.

Fiat 500 Abarth

Since the Abarth made its 2012 US debut, it’s fight was clearly aimed at the Mini Cooper S. But with a brutish exhaust system, 160hp 1.4L motor and available in a “convertible”, the Abarth is secretly a raunchy Ducati Panigale with an extra set of wheels. Its power-to-weight ratio is a combination that continues to wow the world’s media and enthusiasts across the globe. Hell, if you stomp on the brakes hard enough you can practically do a stoppie.

Fiat 500 Abarth

Mazda Miata

Perhaps the most significant contemporary roadster to date, the Mazda Miata celebrates its 25th birthday this year. This bare-bones, nimble RWD tiny-tot provides the thrills of the open road with the handling of shifter kart. Feeling a little rambunctious? Pop that clutch or flick the steering into a tight corner (we in no way condone these activities on public roads, naturally) and you’ve got one exciting, and surprisingly economical, machine at your fingertips. This platform is similar to entry level sport bikes, its enough power to boost your confidence and enough handling capabilities to hone your driving skills.

Mazda Miata

Subaru WRX STI

We all want to get a little dirty from time to time and having an off-road truck isn’t always the answer. The Subaru WRX STI combines the comfort to navigate urban commuting and performance to handle the occasional off-road itch. Notorious for its World Rally Championship pedigree, its fan base is well versed in the capabilities of the car. When we reviewed the latest model we likened it’s performance and comfort to that of ADV bikes we’ve seen evolve over the years. Having your cake and eating it too isn’t always a bad thing after all.

Subaru WRX STI

Alfa Romeo 4C

A name plate that hasn’t been seen on American roads since the 1990s, Alfa Romeo makes its triumphant return to the US with its wide, low and flamboyantly styled 4C. Practicality isn’t why you need to own this car. Its built for the sheer enjoyment of the drive. The sounds provoke you to push harder into and out of corners, the handling begs you to find its limits and lavish in its punishment for those who dare to push too far. The 4C is an aspirational car to live out your track racing dreams on public roads while simultaneous earning fellow enthusiasts respect for owning their fantasy drive. Sounds like an MV Agusta to me.

Alfa Romeo 4C

Ford Mustang GT

Perhaps one of the most iconic cars on the road, it’s the reason little boys started having automotive wet dreams. The dawn of the muscle car brought freedom, power and sex appeal for a price worth the “investment”. Since the introduction of the Mustang, the marque has proved a worthy track monster both in a straight line and around corners. But if you’re looking to just cruise the open road, nothing screams ‘Merica like the galloping horse glistening across Route 66. If you haven’t guessed by now we’re simultaneously telling the tale of Harley Davidson’s iconic road presence.

Ford Mustang GT

  • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

    A mustang wants to be a motorcycle? How do you even…

    • Justin McClintock

      Yeah, I’d disagree with that as well. It’s fast, it’s brutish…but it definitely doesn’t want to be a motorcycle.

      And where the Lotus Elise/Exige? That might as well be the definition of a car that wants to be a motorcycle (outside of a Super 7 anyway).

      • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

        It’s not even fast. It’s a piece of garbage. That’s what they should’ve said. “Hey did you know america also makes bullshit on four wheels?” that would’ve been a more compelling argument.

        • Justin McClintock

          Fair enough. I still think they missed out by not putting the Elise up there. It fits most of those as well, other than the cheap and reliable parts.

        • mms

          Hahaha it’s a car article trying to have bike relevency. Ariel Atom, Elio, Campagna T-Rex are some of the things I would have listed ;)

          • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

            Definitely. Convertibles, Cars with a sequential gearbox, cars that value performance over amenities, cars with a ridiculous power weight ratio.

            Or you could’ve made this an interesting article by saying “if you drive this car, you should ride this bike.”

            • mms

              Or go the buzzfeed route and make it a quiz. “What car should YOU be driving?” Does RA take reader-submitted articles?

              • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                I would’ve liked that.

            • Stuki

              Aside from having a proper 3 pedal instead of some silly sequetial gearbox, the Shelby ‘Stang ‘Vert is pretty much dead on for “Convertibles, Cars with a sequential gearbox, cars that value
              performance over amenities, cars with a ridiculous power weight ratio.”

              I realize you don’t like ‘Stangs, but they do have some of the same appeal of a bike: They’re fast (for their price; in the hotter versions, fast for any price). Plenty of hopup parts to make it faster and louder. Pretty practical day to day for most uses. They may help get you laid (to girls, unlike the Miata :) )

              And the culture of those who do track or race them, have ore in common with bike racer culture than with the culture of Porsche racers, for example. Much more of a do-it-yourself, hack it together one way or the other, attitude. The Miata is perhaps even closer to bikes in that regard; but then the ‘Stang also crosses over into bike touring usage. After seeing America on two wheels, seeing it in a Convertible ‘Stang has got to be runner up for good road tripping.

              In general, for people who don’t mind a bit of roughness around the edges versus a Lexus, the Stang is a rewarding car. Just like a bike. Both more obviously a mechanical device than many of the more “refined” designs in the 4 wheeled world.

              • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                Yeah, you can argue that it’s a convertible. Not really anything about that car’s performance stands out. Same with the BRZ for that matter. These are town cars for boy racers.

                • Stuki

                  The current Shelby has more than 650 Horses! And does 200mph. Is that not fast anymore? It may be more Hayabusa than track bike, but it sure ain’t slow.

        • TheBigPill

          I am not starting an argument. Go drive a BOSS 302. It’s that good.

          • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

            Friend’s dad let me drive his with the special red dealership key and all that. It’s a nice car.

          • Stuki

            It’s a car Erik Buell could have built. Tune a fairly basic underlying platform to absolute perfection.

            • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

              His thing was also “we don’t care how they do it in japan.”

    • IRS4

      The Ariel Atom should have that spot. Or the KTM X-bow. Or….

  • Justin McClintock

    That Fiat seems to have a problem with it’s hand-brake. Seems it likes to lock-up mid-corner in an effort to make the car look like something it’s definitely not….

    • Blu E Milew

      off-throttle oversteer?

      • Justin McClintock

        No. Note the blur of the front wheels. Then look at the rears. The driver is yanking the e-brake to try to make the car look like it’s having on-throttle oversteer like a RWD car with a lead-foot driver after the apex. Too bad it’s a FWD car.

        • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

          Wrong wheel drive can be a little bit of fun. My CRX taught me that. Lifting the inside rear wheel when apexing a turn is a sure fire way to get some applause.

          • Justin McClintock

            Sure, they can be fun. But that photo…they’re trying real, REAL hard to make it look like something it blatantly isn’t. That or they hired the worst driver on the planet. Hooray for flat spots!

            • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

              Yeah, they are trying a little hard. Friend had a first generation Cooper S (when they were supercharged, not turboed) and it was a riot to point and squirt through traffic. I imagine the Abarth 500 is similar. It’s hard to make “cutting like a surgeon through congested streets” look good on a photo shot, though.

            • Tupack Shackur

              Or maybe they’re trying to show a handbrake turn? Because that’s something that people do?

              • Justin McClintock

                On a race track? Mid-sweeper? Not so much.

                • Stuki

                  Drifting, dude, drifting…….

                • Justin McClintock

                  I’ll take, “Pointless in a FWD vehicle” for $1000 please Alex.

                • Stuki

                  Try telling that to the proud owner of a slammed, fart can equipped civic…..

        • akrokdesign

          captain obvious, in the house. ha.

  • Joe_Bob_Einstein

    RA Site headed downhill — fast. Why the cross breeding with Drive Apart?

    How about adding Shoes Apart , Clothes Apart, Kitchen Utensils Apart??

    A couple of more of these car craptastic articles and this loyal reader is gone.

    Kinda sad, really– HFL (and early RA) held out so much promise……

    • Heath Collins

      I don’t like the 4-wheeled virus that’s been infecting this beautiful website lately.

    • Davidabl2

      “Why not” At least there are motors in cars?

    • Strafer

      I don’t have a problem with it
      blogs as i understand them must produce as much content as possible, 1 post a week means too little traffic
      Some posts will be better than others – as a reader I can just skim or not click on the ones that don’t interest me

    • http://kemalkautsar.wordpress.com Kemal Kautsar

      i think they need a new writer

    • Jason Channell

      Unfortunately, with Wes’ departure, we may see more of these kinda pieces.

      • Basque

        Where did Wes go?

      • Blake Bryce

        Did I miss that announcement?

        • mbust

          So far as I can tell, there was no announcement or post of any kind. Wes is just not around. Which suggests this did not happen amicably. Let’s just hope Wes does not abandon his line of work and surfaces somewhere with his writing. At the same time, RA bosses should realize that the platform requires someone with the talent Wes had brought in.

    • Charlie

      The low point might have been the blue bears selling toilet paper advertisement. The advertisements and “pages” have been consuming all the real estate since time zero. The commercialization and explosion of content is necessarily dilutive. I can take the good with the bad. But my biggest qualm is the culling of comments. The “editorial” board is worse than Putin. That was the best part of HFL. No holds barred, criticism tolerated. I’m surprised this thread hasn’t be closed. I have some old HFL stickers…all that’s left, sadly

    • chief rocker

      Agreed. Wes leaving is the final nail in the coffin. Unsubscribe.

      • Charlie

        I didn’t realize Wes was leaving. Not sure what went wrong, but that explains everything. Time to remove the bookmark. HFL was a great website – dented the universe. RIP

      • Ken Lindsay

        Grant left, but Wes was contributing as of this week. Is there a post somewhere to validate this?

        • Dennis Hightower

          Wes’ LinkedIn shows March 2014 as end date for his affiiation with RideApart

      • charlie

        Did he say why he’s leaving?

      • Geert Willem van der Horst

        ??!!! Wes is leaving!!?? That’s a terrible shame :(

        His articles are by far the best on RA

    • Joseph Brassard

      I was a daily reader of this site. We had multiple updates, gear reviews, bike reviews, ride reports…now it’s crap like this. I don’t read Ride Apart to read about cars. And even if I did, this is quite the pedantic waste of a post. I’ll check in once or twice a week to see if they get their act together, but man. One blogger was all that was holding this thing together? Come on.

    • Dennis Hightower

      I’m pretty sure a comment of mine was censored… it was only a paragraph to the investement community describing what Rideapart’s stated business purpose is. It’s public… but maybe too much like the wizard behind the curtain…

  • Reid

    Myehhhh this article is a stretch.
    1. Abarth is slower, handles worse and is sloppily made compared to its rivals; plus it’s totally for sorority chicks only. Let’s be honest, the Mini is too. In no way does that strike me as being a Ducati-like trait.
    2. The Miata is the best British sports car that no British manufacturer ever built, so says everyone. However, the British did actually build the best British sports car, and they still do, and it’s still an awesome car that isn’t driven exclusively by hairdressers (the new models) and cash-strapped autocrossers (old ones). This car is called the Caterham 7. However, the Miata’s closest moto-analog would be a hypothetical Triumph Thruxton that weighed about 100 pounds less. This motorcycle is otherwise known as the Moto Guzzi V7.
    3. Nobody ever takes their WRX or their STI off-road. You don’t pay $30k+ for a car with ride height that low and road-oriented tires and then take it off-road. As an all-weather sport sedan, yes, they are wonderful. But their connection to Subaru’s rally success is driven solely by the marketing people.
    4. The Alfa 4C is closer to the spirit of an expensive, low displacement race replica. So I can buy this.

    5. The Mustang has become too competent in recent years to be compared to anything from Harley Davidson. That being said, a lot of morons drive Mustangs just because of the reasons you listed in the piece.

    • TheBigPill

      People do take the WRX off-road. Just not new ones.

    • Dave Mason

      The Miata is obviously a Kawasaki W650.

      • Reid

        Gahhhhh OF COURSE. Thank you for pointing that out. How could I have missed it?

  • Heath Collins

    I don’t like the 4-wheeled virus that’s been infecting this beautiful website lately.

  • grb

    A GT1 car for LeMans, like the Porsche Gt1, Mercedes Gt1 and the Nissan Gt1, are the closet things in the car world to a SuperSport or SuperBike motorcycle. Because of the homologation rules at the time, to race in Le Mans in the Gt1 class the cars participating had to be street cars and a minimum had to be sold to clients for road use, that resulted in racecars on the streets, and its a similar story to that of the SuperBikes

    http://car-logos.com/img/2014/02/porsche-911-gt1-4.jpg

    • Davidabl2

      I hope that the drivers of “race replica” cars never try to pass as aggressively as motorcyclists… 2 cars just won’t fit into one lane the way 1 bike and a car will ;-0

  • blood brain

    The Honda S2000: 9k rpm redline, light, convertible.

    • Justin McClintock

      And no longer built. :-(

      • Stuki

        Unfortunately.

  • Stuki

    What happened to the FR-S?

    I think there is something like a 50% crossover in ownership between that car and a motorcycle.

  • Fzr 1000 Alex

    Man you all are a whiny bunch about cars. I like cars. I have a 500whp daily driver with three pedals that satisfies my itch when it’s just not practical to put on the gimp suit and helmet and go for a ride. Granted, it isn’t as technically challenging to operate as the bike is but it is a blast and can put a grin on your face at the track. Many of the skills cross over as well.

    Speed is speed. Be it a car, bike, plane, or boat. No need to discriminate and be a two wheeled snob.

    God forbid rideapart caters to those that like things that go fast.

  • Stuki

    The Abarth’s not a Panigale. More like a Monster. It excels at being entertaining at slower speeds, and is mainly a city conveyance. The best 4 wheel counterpart of the Panigale, is still one of those other Italian fast cars……

    • Justin McClintock

      Heck, I’d take it a step further. The Abarth’s more a 300cc Vespa. Entertaining? Sure, if you like that. Practical? No doubt. Expensive for what it is? Absolutely. Actually fast? No. The Fiat’s slower in a straight line than a Honda Accord Sport….just like the Vespa’s slower in a straight line than a CB500X.

      • Stuki

        The Abarth’s not THAT slow. When roads get tight, it’ll blow the Accord out of the water. I’d reserve the Vespa 300 moniker for the regular 500. On a front driver, it isn’t really until 3rd or 4th you ca use much more power than the Abarth has, anyway.

        • akrokdesign

          the abarth do really well in the canyon. we chased some porsche, they sure didn’t get away. though. a lot has to do with driver skills. an FRS tried to hang on, he’s rear started to swing and he slowed down. hah.

          abarth is not as fast as a panigale. but it’s as loud and you get thumbs up. no one gives you thumbs up for a ford st, mustang. etc.

          it makes you smile every damn day. it’s that kind a car. (and yes i want a white 899, next to it).

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/JakeManD Jacob D

    Why does this article even exist?

  • ontarioroader

    Yawn… more moto, less cage please.

  • Chris Gillham

    Plot.
    Lost.
    Ra is becoming a mix up of regurgitated press releases, “top 10′s” and car cross overs. With HFL you got what you paid for and although it may not have been as flashy as RA it had substance. There was a promise of great things with the change, however these have not materialised. Any suggestions on where I can get my daily dose now? RA just doesn’t scratch the itch anymore. Sad.

    • Steve

      I agree…. And why are cars being reviewed/compared to 2 wheelers anyway? Strange post on a site that is getting less and less appealing.

    • Aaron

      Top 10 Dainese and Aerostich Gear You Can’t Afford.

      • Chris Gillham

        top 10 Pagani Zondas that every motorcyclist should have

    • Dave Mason

      Advrider is almost always entertaining and generally informative.

  • Alexander Dang

    I have a Miata and a Cbr600 f4i. Both equally great machines.

  • michael franklin

    Run out of motorcycle stories?

  • michael franklin

    More appropriate story would be: “Five motorcycles that wished they were cars”, I can think of at least that many.

    • Davidabl2

      It’s a funny thing, I always thought that it was I who wanted to be riding a motorcycle when i’m in a car. I tell you I never had any idea that the cars feel the same thing…except that they want to BE the motorcycle, of course.

    • Justin McClintock

      #1 – Honda Pacific Coast. #2 – Honda Deauville. #3 – Honda Goldwing.

      I’m noticing a trend here….

  • Rowan

    Dear RideApart

    If you are looking for new content then maybe try Interviews with people that are prominent in our sport, maybe coaches, athletes, or even a case study On learning to ride and the gradual development to track racing. Good advice and encouraging new riders were the articles that brought me here.

    A series of. Riding blogs on the touring the country.

    Don’t incorporate other genres here, just adapt to cover more related material for your target audience.

    Good luck.

  • nomad2495

    The new mustang was offended by getting compared to harley davidson. Its a good, well priced car with a good engine and decent practicality, that is catching up with the times, the opposite of what Harley Davidson is.

  • Dustin

    I’ve been an acting member of RA since day one, even back to when HFL was a paid subscription, you guy just lost me as a regular reader. I drive a car, but ride a bike, thus I read RideApart for motorcycles, and if I wanted to read DriveApart for cars I would. Don’t force cars on me, give me content I came to look for. Since you continue to deceive me with putting cars on the wrong website I just won’t visit anymore. Well done guys, well done.

  • TheBigPill

    No Mazda RX-8, Honda S2000 or Lotus Evora? Those should be top o’ the list.

  • Don Silvernail

    Come now, people. Don’t tell me that some of you wouldn’t like to have one of these cars (maybe you do secretly) next to your bike in the garage? I enjoy driving my Miata almost as much as my Ducati.

  • Russell P

    I always likened a H.D. to a semi tractor.
    Heavy, slow, and expensive.

  • Guzzto

    This is the final straw I’ve watched HFL turn into Ride Apart and gradually but surely lose all of the edge that made me a daily reader since you guys started HFL out in NY. Everything I loved about it (honest opinions on bikes without fear of manufacturer or sponsor backlash) that’s all gone. Grant Ray, Jamie Robinson, Sean and the core people that lent this site so much character have dissapeared. and now this , a comments section with people arguing about cars FFS! Lists were bad enough but lists about cars that think they are motorcycles is just embarrassing. Oh and a press release about how great the Diavel is ? that’s exactly the sort of journalism HFL would have rightly ridiculed back in the good old days. And don’;t get me started on reviewing monster 4WD trucks, Sigh

  • Benjamin Lindemuth-Mcrobie

    What’s the deal with Wes Leaving? That dude responded personally to a number of my emails, about ride sites etc – he may have had an attitude – but most riders do.

    • charlie

      He’s leaving?

  • Heeno

    Agreed… this site has lost it’s edge. What articles have been posted are pretty lame… packing for a airplane, douche bags hanging around a campfire, what to do about numb hands? I can tell you what to do about your numbs hands… quit jacking off so much and find something substantial to write about.

    • Dave Mason

      Now that’s funny.

  • carlos

    scion frs, my first car that i really love. handles like a dream, sport focused, revvy, great everywhere

  • Vernon682

    While i do enjoy reading about cars, thats what c&ds for! Where are the motorbike centric sites going?