Take the Honda S2000 and the Audi TT. Both were introduced sometime in the last couple of years, following the burst of popularity of the 2 seat roadsters. I think that both of these cars were designed with minimal time and money spent on research and development. Specifically, take each of these car's engines. Audi needed something with a bit of pop so they took any old 4 banger and stuck a supercharger on it. Voila - 2 seat roadster. Charge a comparable price to the SLK or Z3 and laugh all the way to the bank! The S2000 is a little more interesting. Same story - they needed something quick to get the car on the market. So instead of developing something they dipped into their motorcycle line. How else would you explain an engine that revs to 9000 and has zero low end torque? So they dropped a motorcycle engine into the S2000 and voila - 2 seat roadster. Charge a comparable price to the SLK or Z3 and laugh all the way to the bank! That's it - my slacker theory. I think Honda and Audi slacked off and put bullshit engines into the cars just so they could steal some sales from Benz and BMW sooner than if they took the time to develop a real engine.