I always wondered why the next game after this in the series felt so different and had floaty cars. Its mentioned in this video that this was the last game made by the team who originally made NFS and it was meant to be last game in series... but well, EA doesn't let things die if people still buy them... or didn't back then...
This was the last one I really enjoyed and had I known at time it was last made by original team, I may have stopped hoping they make one like it again. They won't as they not there anymore... reminds me of Diablo 3. Original teams leave and new people who don't get it, come in and make a mess.