By on June 24, 2008

horses-gallop.jpgGas is more expensive than ever and because everything else costs two arms and/or legs, much more painful to purchase. Many consumers are switching to fuel-sippers or looking for something completely different (EV and Hydrogen, not hooning sheiks). Regardless, cars are more powerful than ever. Even cars that aren't here yet are going to be more powerful than ever. Examples? The new 911 Turbo is up 20 hp. The M5 is growing in displacement and probably leaping in power. MB's upcoming Gullwing will be in the 750 horse ballpark. Audi's S4 will be dropping two cylinders, but gaining 10 hp and gobs of torque. And that's just the Germans. The 2009 Maxima is up to 290 horses. The 2010 Mustang, despite losing its big-block 6.2-liter Boss V8, should grow to 5.0-liters and make much more than 300 horses. Then there's that Camaro SS which very well might have over 500 horsepower, the 550 hp CTS-V and the 638 pony ZR1. These are just off the top of my OCD head. Is "more POWA!" the future, or has the entire industry been caught without pants and excuses?

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91 Comments on “Question of the Day: Should the Horsepower Wars End?...”


  • avatar
    ande5000

    This is America. Free country (supposedly), free people (supposedly). Let the market decide. For good or ill, let the horses run free.

  • avatar
    Alex Rodriguez

    Once again, isn’t this for the marketplace to decide?

    If no one buys these vehicles, then the horsepower wars will end. If people buy them, then they will not.

    Seems pretty cut and dried.

  • avatar

    The market didn’t decide we should have air bags, tire pressure monitors, etc.

    John

  • avatar

    I would rather see them start cutting weight and focus less on the “powa”.

  • avatar
    cmus

    Well, an increase in power doesn’t always mesh 1-to-1 with a decrease in efficiency, dependent on refinements in the power train in general.

    In the vast majority of cases I’m sure there’s an inverse relationship, even if it’s not at exactly 1:1.

    personally, i’d love to have a brandy-new Super Bee…but I couldn’t afford it *or* the gas. I am sure there are probably enough buyers for these “smallish run” expensive high HP cars.

    If not…they’ll sit next to the SUVs, and then maybe the manufacturers will reconsider.

  • avatar
    homer

    Mercedes Catches Fire After Electrical Malfunction

    http://www.greenwichcitizen.com/ci_9646985?IADID=Search-www.greenwichcitizen.com-www.greenwichcitizen.com

  • avatar
    jpc0067

    HP should be capped. Acceleration and handling, never.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    The Horsepower war has only lead to more expensive cars for ALL folks NOT just those that drive fast.

    Bigger engines, bigger brakes, bigger wheels, more expensive tires, heftier transmissions, etc.
    The joke is that most of todays cars can NOT handle the power. Please drive a v6 Camry, Accord, or Altima and tell me that the power can actually be put to good use.

    The HP war is also why most cars have a hard time getting over 30mpg.

    The HP war has allowed the manufacturers to pretend that they are actually giving us something more while the cars get faster but everything we touch and feel is cheaper! Please caress the interior of a 1993 MB 300e and than feel up a 2007, very big difference!

    High HP is cheap to produce, easy to sell, yet is of very little use to the buyer! Driving a 500hp car is like trying to defend yourself in a street fight with a Barrett .50 rifle, you will never find the room to really use it effectively!

  • avatar
    offroadinfrontier

    Agree with Nathaniel – cut the weight.

    I love horsepower, but a good car doesn’t need tons of ponies to be fast. I fall into the catagory that consider a Corolla too big, though.. I need 2 seats, a shifter, and a trunk of some sort.

    My biggest issue with these fat cars – a Yaris can seat 5. Albeit not very comfortably, but still possible. A Maxima seats 5, and costs, quite literally, twice the price. Practically every car in between seats 5. So we get bigger cars with more room, horrible gas, and HP ratings that make 10-year-old sports cars look slow, yet they serve the same purpose as the cars that are half the weight, expense, and 2x the gas mileage.

    Americans need to face the reality – big cars AREN’T for racing. Family sedans and pickup trucks have their purposes, and mixing those purposes with high displacement/hp is pointless.

    Besides, when did HP matter in a pickup?? 500 at 4,500RPM never pulls weight, it’s the torque. But this goes back to the whole Diesel debate… or, the whole truck debate to begin with (here in TX, house wives LOVE the big trucks w/ crew cabs.. why get a comfortable car for your 2 kids when you can buy a HUGE truck that will never see a hitch or mud pit?)

  • avatar
    CarShark

    I agree with others in that it will be a market-driven decision. Unless the Dems mandate it, which wouldn’t surprise me.

  • avatar

    No.

    There will always be people who want and are willing to pay for the thrills and excitement these types of cars provide from the upcoming Camaro to the ultra-powerful Mercedes AMG cars.

    The market majority of the market is already made up of horribly bland, horrible driving, horrible looking appliance cars for those of you who like that sort of thing or don’t care.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’d say yes, but through insurance and tax incentives for low-power cars, not an outright ban.

    We’re putting stupidly powerful cars in the hands of people because we can, and the whole thrust of marketing departments has been bigger-better-more-faster.

    A more aggressive deterrent might have helped spur development of more efficient cars over the past few decades, rather than cars that tow the line on economy but increased in power (and this increase in power allowed the subsequent increase in mass).

    Seriously, who needs a sub-six-second Toyota Camry that’s just slightly shorted than a Town car?

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Free market and all that (i.e. mob mentality rule), but it’s gotten silly. After 300hp it’s more about bragging rights than usefulness, and I certainly won’t be applying my dollars towards that mentality.

    A lot of it is driven by the supply side of things. No one cared about 250hp midsized sedans until Nissan and its marketers came up with the idea. Everyone else started building them that way because they know it’s important to impress the car magazines, that’s all. It wasn’t because there was a pent up demand for them.

    The unofficial 280hp limit in Japan’s recent past led to some great and fun cars, in which shortcuts couldn’t be covered up by turning up the power. That worked out just fine, even if there was always a little bit of cheating going on. I don’t see what there is to fear.

  • avatar
    Alex Rodriguez

    The market didn’t decide we should have air bags, tire pressure monitors, etc.

    John

    So having a car with more horsepower is a SAFETY issue? Hmmmm. Interesting take. Or maybe the SAFETY of OUR COUNTRY is at stake due to energy issues? Would taking high horsepower vehicles off the road solve our energy issues?

    NOPE. On both counts.

  • avatar
    priznat

    I’m a Canadian so practically a god damn socialist, but I say let free market do its thing here. It does irritate me somewhat to see what used to be a line of japanese econo-boxes getting more and more ponies pumped through its front wheels (ugh), but I just don’t buy them.

    Perhaps in the near future the new penis substitute will be mpg instead of horsepower.. Unlikely.

  • avatar
    Bruce Banner

    Absolutely not. No attempt to improve any aspect of the automotive experience should be held back.

    These high HP cars are a testing ground for new technology financed by those who pay premiums for the latest and greatest.

    We benefit when these technologies trickle down into our every day cars.

  • avatar
    offroadinfrontier

    The thing that gets to me the most – and it’s out of the manufacturers’ hands – is that buyers honestly sit back and say “Car A has 10 more HP than Car B & costs $500 less, so even though Car B is of higher quality, gets better gas mileage, and is more comfortable, Car A wins for being (1-month’s payments) cheaper & (an unnoticeablly) 10 HP “faster.”

    What is worse – I know people who buy the I4 version of said sedans thinking that it was a V6!! It says 2.5, and the car beside it has a 1.8, so the bigger one must be a V6, right?

    These fools can’t tell the difference between 170HP and 250HP, yet worry over which car has MORE power. While, at the same time, will NEVER redline the I4!

    I swear, if it were legal, Manufacturers could throw 5.0L V8 specs on an I4 engine, gas mileage specs of the I4, a throaty exhaust, and somewhere around 50% of the buyers whouldn’t have a clue (as long as the plastic engine cover said V8 and had 8 fake ports displayed).

  • avatar
    carguy

    HP wars come and go – the last one was killed by gas prices and this one will be too. No need to to the government involved. It didn’t work in Japan and it sure won’t work here.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    HP wars should be replaced by the Weight to power ratio. I’ll take a car that is 1000 pounds with 150hp please :)

  • avatar
    Wunsch

    The market majority of the market is already made up of horribly bland, horrible driving, horrible looking appliance cars for those of you who like that sort of thing or don’t care.

    But perhaps this question is more about whether the horsepower wars among the horribly bland, horrible driving appliance cars should end. If that’s the case, then yes, I agree with several other commenters here: we don’t need a more powerful Camry.

  • avatar
    kph

    Assuming gas prices continue to climb, I think the horsepower wars have ended for the bulk of the market. This year’s releases were developed over the past year or two, so there is some lag in the process. And yes, there will always be a small market for higher performance cars. But for more family oriented vehicles, manufacturers will be tooting their MPG figures more than HP.

    That said, it’s going to take a lot more to to see reductions in horsepower in the market. People don’t like giving up specs unless they’re getting a lot in return.

  • avatar
    nudave

    It’s not a market driven issue when soldiers have to die in order for you to have your “fix”.

    If you think it’s your god-given right to waste natural resources, suggest you attend a military funeral and then say “WTF, it’s worth it.”

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    for the most part, those that are against the horsepower wars have made their decision based on fuel economy. here’s the thing, though–horsepower has almost nothing to do with your fuel economy.

    all horsepower is is the ability to burn a bunch of fuel. it doesn’t mean it HAS to do it; it just means it CAN do it. keep your foot off the accelerator and you’ll do just fine. variable valve timing has given us engines that are clean and efficient in the mid range and can breathe well at high RPM (where your big horsepower number comes from).

    as for horsepower wars resulting in “Bigger engines, bigger brakes, bigger wheels, more expensive tires, heftier transmissions, etc.” that’s putting the cart before the horse in a way. safety regulations have given us lead ballons for cars, and it takes a billion horsepower to move them and bigger brakes to stop them.

    in addition, it’s the weight from the safety regulations that is destroying fuel economy, not horsepower. how many times have we seen cars that offer I4s with highway mileage of 31mpg and the same car with a V6 gets 29mpg? keep in mind that there’s usually a big weight penalty with the V6, so the real difference is likely 31mpg vs. 30mpg and 160hp vs 260hp. just a little extra friction from two cylinders is all that is–nothing to do with horsepower.

    i will be so sad if the greenies misguidedly legislate away my horsepower in the name of gasoline while simultaneously legislating in leaden safety features that kill our gas mileage.

    leave the horsepower alone!

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    My ’84 Rabbit had 90HP and weighed around 2000 lbs. It was a convertible. My current VW Cabrio weighs nearly 3000 lbs (2800) and gained 25 HP.

    How about giving me the 2K lb car with 115 HP again that gets 40+ mpg without the hybrid extras?

  • avatar
    geeber

    The horsepower race was over even before the recent run-up in gas prices. It’s just that, given industry lead times, we are still seeing new vehicles designed to “up the ante” in that area. Any legislative reaction is a waste of time and resources.

  • avatar
    Rix

    Consider: a V6 RAV4 with 261 HP and 19/26, or a I4 CRV with 166 HP and 20/26. HP matters less than it used to.

  • avatar
    improvement_needed

    depends on the class of car…
    as long as their is sufficient fuel to burn (ie: no rations), there will be a hp war on the high end.
    though, it’s such low volume that it doesn’t really matter to everyday consumers… it’s just fan-boy stuff

    however, as mentioned above, why is there a hp war among family cars??
    all you need is an efficient 4 cylinder with 150 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque with a decent transmission for a camry/accord/malibu/sonata/fusion/taurus/etc…

    for some reason, i doubt we’ll see a mpg war in this class that isn’t based on a ‘hybrid’ (or something else) design…
    the only reason these cars won’t get 35-40 mpg within the next re-design cycle is accumulated laziness by the automakers…

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Isn’t horsepower the basis of auto-related taxes in some countries?

    It’s my understanding that the first horsepower wars ended with insurance companies increasing premiums, and the addition of crude emissions controls. Case in point: The 150hp V8 muscle cars of the early-mid 70s.

    I’m on the “Let the market decide” bandwagon, up to a point. The market has already decided SUVs, the symbol of gas guzzling, aren’t worthy of consumers’ consideration as a vehicle to own nowadays, even though many high performance cars cost more and have less utility. If the market decides cars like the Ms, AMGs, and sports coupes like my 350Z, are the next No-Nos, then so be it.

    I feel it’s possible for us to have our cake, and eat it too. In the short term, efficient turbocharging, high tech direct-injection engines, well-developed European diesel motors, hybrid drivetrains, etc. are all technologies that can keep us entertained, while providing reasonable efficiency. Nudges like stringent emissions, fuel economy requirements, and high gas taxes (in some countries), among other factors, help drive these innovations. Otherwise, we’d all be driving carbureted big block body-on-frame muscle cars.

    It still doesn’t change the environment damage with every gallon of gas burned, every gallon of ethanol produced.

  • avatar
    greg

    Yeah. I’m with Robstar. I can’t or won’t be buying any car that’s in the HP shootout, but something cheap, light, and has some zip? Keep talking…

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I’m old enough now to have witnessed fuel scares before, the ones in the ’70’s and this one we’re experiencing now.

    Just before each one, I swear that some media outlet was suggesting that the current era was ‘the golden age of horsepower’ only to have each era succeeded, at least eventually.

    I think the best thing to do is to leave the horsepower wars alone, they will resolve themselves without government intervention. I’m reminded of Mr. Nixon’s fix for fuel shortages, the 55 MPH speed limit, and just how universally despised that was.

    Fuel prices, insurance premiums, fashions and fads and who knows what else will eventually damper the horsepower wars.

    I personally believe if our money remains devalued for any length of time and that fuel prices remain (in relative terms) high, a couple of things may happen. Like the early 1980’s we will see a wave of fuel efficient cars flood the market and push our fuel reserves back up. And if we acclimate to the higher fuel costs, I could see a time where people will again drive like they have in the past.

    Even though I find things like the Super Bee Ram and Toyota Ironman pickup trucks to be monstrosities, if you can afford to buy and keep them, that’s your business. But please, no bitching about how much it costs to run.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    I think they’re winding down. It’s reached the point where cars are having more hp than they know what to do with. Gas prices ended the last horsepower war. They are ending this one as well. There may be a new one in the future. As far as “should”, well, if you floor it and all you’re doing is spinning the tires or causing your traction control to freak out and apply the brakes, then yeah, you’re done.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    The HP wars for all but top end performance cars should have ended years ago. It’s a testament to our own stupidity that it has not. Unless you are seriously wealthy, shouldn’t you RATIONALLY be more concerned with driving enjoyment, or at least track speed or other ACTUAL result.

    Certainly, there will always be people buying high end stuff just because it is superior engineering. To them, the dyno matters in a way that art and music fans appreciate certain qualities in their objects of affection. That’s fine. But for the rest of us?

    I have said it before, and will keep repeating it. The cars that make the most money are the ones that people FEEL are fun to drive, not the ones that make good numbers.

  • avatar
    menno

    YES.

    Gluttony is defined by Miriam-Webster’s online dictionary as: greedy or excessive indulgence.

    In other words, in car terms, if in 1956, the average new automobile managed the new high speed expressways with 175 horsepower (measured the old way – relating to about 125 modern horsepower), then why is anything in excess of that needed?

    Answer: it’s not NEEDED.

    There’s a difference between “NEED” and “WANT” however.

    Now that gas is in excess of $4 per gallon in the US and in excess of $5.50 in Canada, it’s starting to dawn on people about these truths.

    A 1956 Chevrolet V8 had 162 horsepower (205 with power pack / 4 barrel carburetor and dual exhausts). Even the Corvette didn’t exceed 240hp.

    A 1956 Ford V8 could be had in several versions and two displacements, between 173 and 225hp, and the Thunderbird from 202 to 225hp.

    A 1956 Plymouth V8 came in three displacements, ranging between 180 and 240hp.

    Not forgetting that a good 1/4 of the cars sold in the popular low priced three were six cylinder cars, back in the day. 125hp for Plymouth, 137hp for Ford, 140hp for Chevy.

    It’s also noteworthy that my home state, Michigan, as well as some 1/2 dozen others, did not have a day time speed limit outside of towns in 1956.

    My mom’s usual statement since I was little, when someone departed the house, is period-correct; she always used to say “keep it under 90.”

    So, why on earth do we think we “need” 375 hp? Ridiculous.

  • avatar
    thoots

    Nope. Let the domestics waste their resources creating Mustangs and Challengers and Camaros that will sell a few thousand per year.

    Meanwhile, Toyota will keep on cranking out Camrys and Corollas and such, which will sell MILLIONS per year.

    It’s really that simple. All of the high-horsepower domestic stuff will sell about as much as Camry sells in ONE DAY.

    And I suppose the mouth-breathing morons running the domestics keep on wondering why they can’t sell anything to anybody anymore.

    Sheesh.

  • avatar
    J.on

    As a gear head that drives everyday and has a chance to drive some very nice / exotic cars (I have friends with far, far too much money), I can’t honestly recall when I’ve been able to drive anywhere the limit of any of those cars (insert your German / Italian nameplate here).

    Fastest I’ve ever done in my car was 125 mph, and only twice in 30 months of ownership. I honestly think that it’s pointless to have that much power on tap without the ability (that includes both driver skill and where to actually drive the car) to use it. I’d rather have a car that has nicer / better finished appointments than a car that’s built like a 1st generation Lada and goes like a bat out of hell.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    I like big power. There’s nothing in the world like snapping your neck at the twitch of your right foot.

    If it means I’ll have to survive on a diet of ramen noodles to support my hp habit, then so be it.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    I swear, if it were legal, Manufacturers could throw 5.0L V8 specs on an I4 engine, gas mileage specs of the I4, a throaty exhaust, and somewhere around 50% of the buyers whouldn’t have a clue (as long as the plastic engine cover said V8 and had 8 fake ports displayed).

    It wouldn’t even need to have the fake plastic bits, most appliance buyers don’t even know their car is FWD. You could put a I4, V8 or jet engine under the hood and they would still have no clue what they were looking at, if they even open the hood at all.

    Can’t expect them to teach kids the workings of a 100 y/o technology integral to the countries success in more ways than one when they can’t even teach them to balance a check book.

  • avatar
    Chui

    I believe that the bhp war is a race to the bottom. Whether one believes in “Global Warming/Climate Change”, “Peak Oil” or “Oil is Abiotic” doesn’t matter much when it’s highly unlikely that more fuel at lower costs is on it’s way…

    750 bhp for the road is ludicrous. As is 600 bhp. As is 500 bhp. I am never – or very rarely – supportive of Big Gov’t demanding a cap on bhp but I DO demand common sense from the captains in industry.

    That said, I’d like to have a go at a 997 GT2 and GT3 Club Sport to see if they are “too much” for the street. We all know the answer is “Yes, they are too much for the streets in the USA”. At least where I live.

    For me it’s a moot point for Daimler Benz to create such powerful, HEAVY, AUTOMATIC and AUTOMATED MANUAL transmission vehicles. Not a manual shifter in sight. At least with Porsche there is an increase in the handling ability of the cars – not that 1/10% of the population can exploit it – and there is a small decrease in mass of the vehicle.

    I’m much more the fan of the likes of the Lotus Elise…

  • avatar
    blautens

    I keep telling myself I’d be happy with 400 HP (at the wheels – not the crank). But I know as soon as I get there, I won’t rest until I see a 500 HP dyno ticket.

    Keep the power coming…

  • avatar
    menno

    Naturally, it must also be said that 1956 cars didn’t weigh in at 5800 pounds, and the average 175hp V8 car had reasonable enough performance. In fact, despite the thick steel, full frame construction and so forth, the 1956 Chevy Bel Air 4 door sedan with V8 weighs 3211 pounds, 20 pounds less than the six did.

    The 1956 Ford Fairlane V8 4 door sedan weighed 3290.

    The 1956 Plymouth Belvedere V8 4 door sedan weighed 3325, 3170 with a six.

    Heck, even the 1956 Cadillac Series 62 4 door sedan (obviously, V8) only weighed in at 4430 pounds, or less than the average 2008 MINIVAN.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    No way! At the rate we’re going, there could soon be 1500hp Smart cars! I want one.

  • avatar
    menno

    Oh yeah, the 1956 Caddy only had 285hp (old HP, about equivalent to 200 new HP).

    1973 saw some the change-over to “Net” HP from the old “gross” HP, which were a bit of a cheat to say the least (no water pump, no fan, free flowing exhausts, no alternator, no power steering pump, no air cleaner restrictions).

    The “NET” figures are as the engine would be installed in the car, on the dynamometer. (This is a device to measure power).

  • avatar
    umterp85

    thoots : “Nope. Let the domestics waste their resources creating Mustangs and Challengers and Camaros that will sell a few thousand per year.”

    Its news to me that Ford is only selling a few thousand Mustangs per year. You might want to check your facts.

    Year to date through May—Ford has sold over 41K Mustangs. While down significantly year-on-year—not bad considering they are 4 years into the model cycle and gas prices are going north of $4.

  • avatar

    There seems to be plenty of interest here in telling others what they do and don’t need.

    Will the day come when someone dictates how big our houses can be? How many hours a day we can use electricity? How about how much food we’re allowed to buy?

  • avatar
    Theodore

    I think so, but then, I’m with Colin Chapman – “add lightness.” I’m going from 140hp to 166hp, but I’m also dropping 1200+ pounds.

    As for whether they will end, that depends entirely on the price of gas.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    My car still weighs 3200lb, has 82hp (at the crank) and gets along just fine.

    I’ll be happy to replace it when a similarly sensible car comes out to replace it.

    How about a 65hp I-3 in a Fit? That’d be a good start.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    The Horsepower war has only lead to more expensive cars for ALL folks NOT just those that drive fast.

    The HP war is also why most cars have a hard time getting over 30mpg.

    The same could be said for safety equipment – it adds cost and weight. Like someone said earlier, older cars didn’t weigh as much so they didn’t need as much power to accelerate reasonably.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The horsepower wars are already over, but a few soldiers somehow missed being notified. Even so, that battle is done and over with. Good riddance.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    Will the day come when someone dictates how big our houses can be? How many hours a day we can use electricity? How about how much food we’re allowed to buy?

    Soon, if some people have their way. There are those who believe people should be limited in how much energy they consume. For instance, there could be limits to how much gas you can buy or how many miles you can drive and even what temperature you keep your home.

  • avatar
    Steve_K

    Never. Just add some new school HP into the mix (electricity).

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    I have no issue at all with the horsepower wars. Only problem is, most of the competitors can’t design a fast, yet efficient engine. Euro 2 litre engines are outperforming American V6s because they have more HP per litre and the cars are lighter. The only thing the American companies can think to do to equal the performance is to design a larger V6 that can post similar, flat-out 0-60 times as the euros 2.0. What do they come up with for fuel efficiency? Turn off half the cylinders when you are not accelerating…come on.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    nudave :
    June 24th, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    It’s not a market driven issue when soldiers have to die in order for you to have your “fix”.

    I would make the argument that soliders are not dying for oil. The war in Iraq is not about oil. It’s about George Bush being a dumbass, and nothing more. Saddam was perfectly willing to sell the oil in Iraq to anybody willing to give him money for it. In fact, I can safely say the price of oil would be a lot lower now had we not have invaded Iraq.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    There seems to be plenty of interest here in telling others what they do and don’t need.

    Will the day come when someone dictates how big our houses can be? How many hours a day we can use electricity? How about how much food we’re allowed to buy?

    Those days are coming soon. Even your internet usage will be regulated.

    Now slow down your breathing, you’re using up too much air, you glutton.

  • avatar
    Cyril Sneer

    “nathaniel: I would rather see them start cutting weight and focus less on the “powa”.”

    +1

    “Robstar: HP wars should be replaced by the Weight to power ratio.”

    +1

    I’d like the team who created the Elise/Exige to design an everyday sedan and ‘sportback’ using the same philosophy.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    Ok, so how many of you guys have actually dynoed your car to find out if you engine is making horsepower within range of what is advertised for you vehicle?

    Considering that the advertised HP figures are at the crank and NOT the wheels how many of you are taking into consideration how efficient your drivetrain is?

    It is entirely possible that car with lower HP ratings actually are putting more of it to the wheels than what you own. How does that change you opinions of just how important HP is?

    What matters is how the cars feels from the seat of your pants! The first fast car I ever drove was a 1986 Mustang GT with all of 200hp, but a very nice 285 ft lbs of torque. That car felt faster than many other 200+hp car I have driven. Case in point would be an RSX TypeS, even with the engine screaming past 7500rpms it never had the feel of that old stang.

    Once upon a time the HP war was real and valid. Today it is NOT. Being a driver that came of age in the 1980s I know what slow cars are like! Back then a camry or Accord was 90 hp car, without a stick these things were dog SLOOOOOW! I can also remember sports cars so slow they were NOT fun.
    Hell, automakers were struggling to achive a decent 200hp!

    The roads are still pretty much the same as 50 years ago, designed for interstate travel at 80 mph. It is not like they are build highways with ratings of over 150mph so exactly what is the point of a 500hp PRODUCTION car?

    One more point, Americans are some of the slowest driver in the world! For a nation that is generally stuck a 65mph by law or will why the hell do we buy the largest engines only to waste the gas going slow?

  • avatar

    TexasAg03, is correct.

    Safety regulations have added considerable heft to automobiles with thick safety cages and beams.

    The other thing that has added size and weight? Consumers demand for more interior volume and bigger size. It’s what we like to buy and it’s what automakers deliver.

    That’s not the result of more power, it’s the result of every increasing safety regulations and consumer demand. To motivate more heft you also need more power.

  • avatar
    geeber

    We also are demanding more gadgets with each car.

    When I was a kid in the 1970s, pretty much only Cadillacs, Lincolns, Chrysler Imperials, Oldsmobile Ninety-Eights and Buick Electras were guaranteed to have air conditioning, power windows and power seats.

    Now people won’t even look at Focuses and Civics without air conditioning, power windows, at least a power driver’s seat, and power mirrors. Not to mention air conditioning, multi-speaker stereos and several air bags. That all adds weight.

    I would argue, however, that for all of the complaints of increasing weight, the addition of improved sound deadening equipment, more luxury features and improved safety features have made smaller cars more palatable to consumers.

    I reguarly read on this site laments about how heavy the Civic, for example, has gotten over the years, and how it should be more like the older (late 1980s, early 1990s) models.

    One problem – it would not be the best-selling vehicle in the country right now if it were that size and weight. Honda can build smaller cars for people on this site, or it can build smaller cars that sell 350,000+ copies per year without heavy incentives or fleet sales. Take your pick…

    whatdoiknow1: What matters is how the cars feels from the seat of your pants!

    It matters how powerful it actually is, especially when merging on to a freeway, or climbing a long hill loaded with luggage.

    It doesn’t matter if the car “feels” fast when you’ve got to merge in front of that loaded tractor trailer barreling down the slow lane at 70 mph. The car had better be fast.

    Here in Pennsylvania we have lots of poorly designed, old entrance ramps that require rapid acceleration – unless you want to spend 10-15 minutes waiting for an opening to merge.

  • avatar
    offroadinfrontier

    As far as heft due to safety features goes, there is still an underlying problem –

    2009 Honda Accord; 3600lbs, 177-268hp
    2008 Nissan Altima; 3300lbs, 175-270hp
    2009 Malibu; 3400lbs, 169-252hp

    All above have EXCESS interior space. The Accord is a feather away from being a full-sizer. They all offer 240+HP. Compare;

    1987 Nissan 300ZX; 3200lbs, 160hp

    Classified as subcompact (VERY small space), Very heavy body. 160hp pushes this car with plenty of oomph to still be fun, 21 years later. And this is classified as a sports car.

    My point is that, while safety features and interior space are making these cars heavy, they still aren’t THAT heavy. I’ve driven the I4 Altima and found the amount of power a tad excessive for it’s intended purpose. With a good torque curve, good aerodynamics, and proper gearing, 180hp on ANY of these cars is more than enough, and should allow for a fair gas mileage. This, while still offering excessive comfort and every safety feature available. Leave the excess HP to the sports/sporty cars…

    Recap: Even with the weight, these cars don’t need much power. Weight isn’t really the issue.

  • avatar
    ckb

    I think the real issue here is the desire to one-up the next guy. I see that as the same reason for SUVs getting bigger (well not anymore thankfully), and the house expansion/McMansion fad (who the hell needs a living room, sitting room, den, game room AND 10×15′ foyer?).

    Back to my point, the usefulness of more horsepower ended when cars started breaking 400 hp. The old C5 Z06 had 405 hp and could do a 3.9 0-60 time. The Bugatti Veyron has 1001 hp and gets a 2.9 0-60 time. A SIX HUNDRED HP increase gets you 1 measly second off your usesable speed range.

    HP wars may continue as long as people feel the need to compensate but the usefulness of more hp has peaked.

  • avatar
    miked

    To add to what NICKNICK said – Horsepower is a measure of Power, not Energy. Given the same vehicle with the same dimensions and the same weight, the only difference between a “low horsepower” and “high horsepower” engine is the pumping efficiency due to the intake and the added friction of maybe a few cylinders. The gas mileage should be about the same (which if you actually look at the numbers, there’s never really a BIG difference in models across all the available engines). The added friction really isn’t that bad. So you only have to worry about pumping efficiency. Granted, it is more efficient to be running a tiny engine at WOT than a big engine with highly throttled, but other than that it’s not a big deal. Plus the throttled big engine is likely running slower so there’s less friction. The single biggest contribution to fuel mileage is weight, then aerodynamics, then drive train friction, then finally engine size.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    You don’t have to buy a high-horsepower car, people. There’s plenty of Aveos, Accents, Fits, Yaris’, Focus’, Rabbits, Smarts, and Versas to suit your needs adequately.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    I guess i should weigh in… I remember when I first drove a 500 hp car (a Viper) I was scared to death. It was just freaking crazy. But, through the years I’ve improved a great deal as a driver. Not only that, but I get to play with very power cars almost every week (someone has to).

    The last 500 hp car I drove (a Z06) felt normal. The power and acceleration made sense to me. I’ve acclimated.

    This week I’m banging around in a 315 hp car. It could definitely use more power.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Goodness, you free-market obsessives missed the point entirely of the third post.

    Cars sold just fine when they were death-traps and didn’t have airbags or even seat-belts as the previous poster pointed out. Why didn’t the market magically decide then that cars without minimal safety features were a bad idea?

    I hear so many posters repeat identical free-market arguments that are hopelessly tautological – it’s just so maddening.

    Consider for a moment, that it is the free-market which got us into the horse-power war in the first place. In retrospect, that wasn’t so great was it? With that in mind, consider the QoTD again: SHOULD the Horsepower Wars End? (Hint: the correct answer to the question – whatever that may be – isn’t “what should happen is whatever the free market chooses.”)

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The high horsepower uberbeasts are halo cars that sell the cheaper cars. The M3’s help to move the 325i’s, the uber Mustangs convince the secretaries to buy the six-cylinder versions, etc. They don’t sell many of these anyway.

    Where the horsepower wars have really kicked into gear have been with these 200+ hp Accords and Camry’s and the disappearance of the 50hp fuel sippers. Something approaching 150 hp seems to be the bare minimum with most cars these days.

    We liked horsepower when it was cheap — with low fuel prices, it didn’t cost much to have it, with most of the cost being absorbed in a slightly higher monthly payment that also included neato options that were desirable, anyway.

    Now that horsepower costs money at every fillup, we’ll ask for less of it. The Europeans provide the model for this situation — they offer smaller engined versions of the same cars that we can only get with larger motors.

    There’s no reason why we can’t have 1.4 liter subcompacts and 1.8 liter compact/midsized sedans if we want them. They already exist everywhere else. Now that we are paying European-style prices for both gas and coffee, maybe we’ll think smaller, too. Maybe.

  • avatar

    There is a horsepower war going on? Wow. I guess I haven’t been paying attention. My car has 90HP, does that mean I win?

    –chuck

  • avatar
    thoots

    umterp85 :

    Its news to me that Ford is only selling a few thousand Mustangs per year. You might want to check your facts.

    Year to date through May—Ford has sold over 41K Mustangs.

    Camry is selling over 50,000 PER MONTH. Same with Corolla. Same with Civic. Even the Abominable Accord sells its ugly butt in that neck of the woods. And so on.

    Meanwhile, don’t expect Mustang to continue selling at 40k per year — watch it drop like a rock.

    Mainly, though, I was talking about the “horsepower war” cars — the V8 cars that will be trying to attract all of the “gotta hemi innit” guys with enough cash to get into one of the things, and then watch the rest of their money drift away in all of the tire smoke. That’s where we’re seemingly seeing the most of the 2.8’s “development” — Challenger, Camaro, and ever-higher-horsepower Mustangs. And these things will be lucky to do better than DOA.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Cars sold just fine when they were death-traps and didn’t have airbags or even seat-belts as the previous poster pointed out. Why didn’t the market magically decide then that cars without minimal safety features were a bad idea?

    Considering that there was little in the way of alternatives when such death-traps were being made, it’s kind of a moot point, unless I’m missing something here.

    Consider for a moment, that it is the free-market which got us into the horse-power war in the first place. In retrospect, that wasn’t so great was it? With that in mind, consider the QoTD again: SHOULD the Horsepower Wars End? (Hint: the correct answer to the question – whatever that may be – isn’t “what should happen is whatever the free market chooses.”)

    I think it was great. The dark days of neutered cars with psuedo-performance were put away by the advances of the free market. I think it’s a beautiful thing to have go power on tap. I think it’s beautiful to have multi-valve engines with turbochargers that can make a car feel like God was doing his best Mike Vanderjagt impersonation.

    Should the horsepower wars end? No. High horsepower cars aren’t the only vehicles available on the market. If somebody doesn’t want a 290 hp Lancer Evolution, they can get a 150 hp Lancer ES. Do I need 290 hp? No. Do I want 290 hp? Yes. Why is this such a bad thing?

    With the demise of the SUV, are powerful sports cars destined to become the new target of hatred on American roads?

  • avatar
    Michael Ayoub

    In my opinion, no, they shouldn’t end. What should happen, though, is more automakers paying more attention to the lower end: make more 80hp cars. Most drivers have no idea how to drive fast anyway.

    I’m getting an Elise.

  • avatar
    DearS

    End? I don’t want them to, but its not up to me. I think I can get any amount of HP I want anyhow. 200hp+ is really fun, but I’d only use is on occasion. 170hp is enough, which is what I have. Even though I really want more than the 22mpg I get, its still worth it. I do not even want more power I guess, its just to much to handle.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Qusus,

    Please point out where they tried your correct answer, and it worked out better.

    I won’t hold my breath.

    Regulating horsepower would be plain stupid. If you want to regulate efficiency then you would think you could do better than CAFE, but we haven’t. Why? Because the regulators are not smarter than the market. It’s fine to choose where you think the market is going terribly wrong and nudge it in the right direction, but when you start over regulating to the point that you manage some statistic like HP, you have gone to far.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Quasi,

    “With the demise of the SUV, are powerful sports cars destined to become the new target of hatred on American roads?”

    You give the hate police way too much credit. SUV’s will continue to be the target until underpowered cars return and then are made hateworthy for being too slow when faster cars result from the next round of cheap oil and/or new technology.

    Once again, Detroit will be blamed, regardless of culpability, and there will be lawsuits.

  • avatar
    YotaCarFan

    “If no one buys these vehicles, then the horsepower wars will end. If people buy them, then they will not.”

    True, but sometimes the consumer cannot get a car having all the features or the size he wants without being forced to get the trim level that has the big motor. For example, I wanted an 07 Camry with navigation. The four-banger with navigation is non-existent in the MD/DC/VA area. However, the V6 with navigation is available. So, I ended up getting a 268HP commuter car – way more power than I need.

  • avatar

    I’d say the market would take care of it if we didn’t have a range of income distribution that rivals Brazil’s. I love cars, driving, and internal combustion. I love the engine note of a Boxster, or a BMW inline 6. But less than, say, 6 seconds to 60mph? I don’t see the point.

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    Better HP wars than SIZE wars! Every time a soccer mom doesn’t buy a Tahoe, an angel gets its wings. Thank heaven that gas prices went up, or the leading cause of death in America might have become Housewife On Cellphone.

    I’m waiting for the rest of the market to notice it’s less about HP and more about power-to-weight. Many a Charger or Mustang has been surprised as hell to lose to an xB in a race for a mall parking space. 105 hp goes a long way when your car is the size of a microwave.

  • avatar
    seoultrain

    YotaCarFan, that’s just silly. There are plenty of cars out there with 4-cylinder engines that are available with nav. Alternatively, you could have gotten a (gasp) non-factory nav system for about a tenth the price with better functionality. Did you really go and buy a 31 thousand dollar Camry?

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    I can’t believe you bought a Camry to be used as a commuter car. A Corolla or Yaris would’ve been a better choice.

  • avatar
    gcorley

    I have always been puzzled by the American “obsession” with engine size & horsepower.

    I am European but recently lived in the Detroit area for 4 years. Whilst in the USA I had a Ford vehicle with 2.5 liter Duratec engine, 170 hp & a manual transmission.

    My daily driving consisted of navigating the “grid system” of roads with lights at ever 1-mile interval and speed limits of 50mph.

    This type of driving consisted of accelerating from 0-50mph and then “cruising” along at 50mph. The number of traffic cops dissuaded you from exceeding the 50mph limit. Some days, I would venture out on to the freeway and reach the incredible speed of 70mph!!!

    My 170 hp car was perfectly capable of “keeping-up” with and/or beating most other vehicles on the road.

    In Michigan there are almost no roads that offer any sort of challenge for a vehicle’s handling, particularly if you respect the speed limits. I remember discussing the fact, that there were no interesting roads to drive in the USA (mostly straights & 90 degree corners) with some friends one day. They replied that I was wrong and that I should try “The Tail of the Dragon”!!! When I enquired where it was, they said on the state border of Tennessee with North Carolina. Rather a long way to go, just to get an interesting drive, I thought!!

    My point is that the average America vehicle is grossly over-engined for the driving conditions that prevail in the USA.

    The explanation for this is that cars & trucks are very cheap in the USA (compared with the rest of the world), and even more so when compared to US incomes. Fuel, up until recently, has also been very cheap.

    So the “Market” has created a demand for over-engined vehicles purely because they were cheap to buy, finance & run, but has nothing to do with the actual driving conditions (market needs).

  • avatar
    dolo54

    @ YotaCarFan: ever hear of a Garmin? I don’t even know why someone would want a car with a built in, already obsolete sat nav that can’t be upgraded.

    Someone mentioned the Veyron not needing 1000+ hp. Well you actually need like 500hp to get to 200mph and then to get to 250mph you need another 500hp. Something like that. Above 180mph wind resistance starts to put up a huge barrier, so when you’re going for top speed bragging rights you will need over 1000hp. I think the Veyron uses like 10 gallons of gas to the mile when it’s flat out at 200+. You empty the tank in like 12 minutes. It was on Top Gear, pretty cool actually.

  • avatar
    adam0331

    In the early 90’s I was a big fan of the Taurus SHO. For the time it was a quite powerful engine for a 4 door sedan ~ just over 200hp if I recall. Today the standard V6 model Camry, Accord, et. al. are way over the 200 mark. Why? Are we all taking our family cars to the drag track every weekend? Unless I am buying a dedicated weekend “drivers” car I don’t need it.

    Right now I’m driving an older 4 cyl Accord. I have dedicated wider and lower profile summer driving tires. After 150k miles I put in a new lower and stiffer suspension. Today it handles arguably better than a new “Camcord” off the lot, only difference is the power. You might beat me at the light but I’ll take you in the corners. Besides 150hp is plenty for everyday around town vehile, and I can flog that engine and still get 25mpg in town.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    We need more cars like the Lancia Delta Integrale 8v. Light, fun, AWD and fast.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    AS it is often said on Dream Car Garage, “Do you need a car like this? No. Do you want a car like this? Yes”.

    A part of me really, really, really wants a CTS-V as my next car. Frankly, even with $4-$5 gas, I can afford it. I have a feeling that it will be something of a magnificent dinosaur, but then I’m in my early 50s and, dammit, I don’t see the point in limiting my enjoyment of something while I can still appreciate it.

  • avatar
    darcyb62

    I’m a proponent of getting the most performance you can afford. I look at 3 parameters acceleration, deceleration and handling. Outside of that I look at comfort and collision performance. Fuel efficiency touches on overall affordability. In my opinion in the hands of a skilled driver, higher performance will result in improved safety. I’ve had more than a few instances where stepping on the gas and letting the 315 ponies run free has saved my skin.
    I don’t drive like a maniac and driving down the street I’m often passed by 4 banger econoboxes, so fuel economy isn’t real all that bad and even at current prices doesn’t impact my wallet that much. I still take a few vacations a year, eat out way too much and when I have an inkling to buy something I buy it.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    What does horsepower matter when I spend 90 seconds waiting at traffic lights? For ONE DIRECTION to clear? Then another 90 seconds for the left-turners to get through?

    All the while I’m behind some cell phone Chatty Cathy in her minivan?

  • avatar
    geeber

    Qusus: Consider for a moment, that it is the free-market which got us into the horse-power war in the first place.

    Another reason to love the free market…

    thoots: Camry is selling over 50,000 PER MONTH. Same with Corolla. Same with Civic. Even the Abominable Accord sells its ugly butt in that neck of the woods. And so on.

    Meanwhile, don’t expect Mustang to continue selling at 40k per year — watch it drop like a rock.

    Please compare apples to apples. The Camry is a sedan with a roomy backseat and relatively large trunk. Its front seat is comfortable, and entrance and exit are easy whether you are 25 years old, or 75 years old.

    The Mustang is a low-slung coupe with a small trunk and a backseat that is best reserved for occasional use. I would hope that the Camry would outsell the Mustang, based on its broader appeal and greater utility.

    Most Mustangs sold are the V-6 model, so it’s not as though Ford depends on the V-8 GTs to keep the car viable. It is also in the fourth year of its design, with two direct competitors ready to hit the market, so I would expect sales to drop at some point over this year.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I have both a portable Garmin and some cars in our family fleet with built in navigation. I greatly prefer the integrated navigation systems, though the price premium is a little hard to justify but to me it is worth it. For one thing the in-car systems sport a much larger screen. Toyota’s also provides a backup camera function which is especially useful with the horrible rearward vision of most modern vehicles. On our old 240 wagon a backup camera would be silly, but on most new cars, vans and trucks the visibility to the immediate rear is horrible.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    In the early 90’s I was a big fan of the Taurus SHO. For the time it was a quite powerful engine for a 4 door sedan ~ just over 200hp if I recall. Today the standard V6 model Camry, Accord, et. al. are way over the 200 mark. Why? Are we all taking our family cars to the drag track every weekend? Unless I am buying a dedicated weekend “drivers” car I don’t need it.

    Curb weight of an 89 Taurus SHO: 3050 lbs
    Curb weight of an 08 Taurus: 3740 lbs.

    There’s quite a difference in performance when you’re not saddled down with 700 lbs of structural reinforcements necessary to achieve a five-star safety rating from the federal government (I wonder how many stars an 89 Taurus SHO would be rated under today’s crash test standards).

    Choice words about the old 205-hp Five Hundred:

    “The Five Hundred comes with your choice of Ford’s evergreen 3.0L Duratec V6 or… another car. With just over two hundred ponies providing propulsion for a relatively large machine, the Five Hundred is just this side of slow”

    Add 60 horses and we get this:

    “The Five Hundred’s 3.0-liter Duratec V6 was safe (i.e. slow) at any speed. Combined with a well trained six-speed autobox, the reborn Taurus’ 3.5-liter replacement morphs the sedan from zero to hero. Rest to 60mph now requires just 7.6 seconds of your time. Equally impressive, the 263hp Taurus hustles from the git-go and delivers linear power from the basement all the way to the penthouse.”

    Seven and a half seconds is not the stuff of drag racing family sedans. It should be obvious that this isn’t a battle of which family wagon has the most testosterone per cubic inch, but instead an increase of power necessary to keep up with everybody on the road.

  • avatar
    offroadinfrontier

    “Seven and a half seconds is not the stuff of drag racing family sedans. It should be obvious that this isn’t a battle of which family wagon has the most testosterone per cubic inch, but instead an increase of power necessary to keep up with everybody on the road.”

    Where you YOU live???

    My 300ZX reaches 60 in somewhere around 8.5 seconds. That’s slower than most V6 “family sedans” (and some I4’s, actually) on the market, yet around here it feels like a jet. Our xA does the sprint in somewhere between 12 and 16 seconds, depending on cargo/passengers. Even with over 800lbs of passengers and cargo, our little 1.5L STILL takes off from a stand-still, passes on the highway, and traverses city traffic much faster than at least 90% of the traffic.

    Power has NOTHING to do with it – it’s all in the right foot. Tell me, how many people take off from a stand-still and actually USE their 0-60 “bragging rights” on ANY car? The gap between speed-freaks/piston-heads and everyday drivers is huge.

    It doesn’t matter what the numbers say, people don’t/can’t drive that fast. The ONLY time my 1.5L gave me trouble was going up a steep grade that merged onto the highway while I had 5 of us in there. Sure, it took forever to get up that hill and hit 60. The sad part? The V8 sedan in front of me wasn’t going any faster. Believe it or not, it was limiting me – but then again, I’ve never been afraid to redline.

    It doesn’t matter what these cars specs say. If they FEEL fast, most drivers won’t care. Plus, remember that most city driving is 0/5-45, not 0-60. Low-curved power bands matter, not peaky ones – people want to feel that pull up front, right before they ease the throttle when they hit the speed limit. Again, it doesn’t matter the actual speed!! As long as the driver THINKS the car is fast and THINKS it has gobs of power. Is it logical? No. Does that matter? Not really, considering who the majority of car buyers are.

    Give me a small hatch with >1.0L and a 5sp (or a decent slushbox) and I’ll be fine, still passing traffic, while getting 30MPG in-city.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Where you YOU live???

    New York, if this gives you a better frame of reference.

    My 300ZX reaches 60 in somewhere around 8.5 seconds. That’s slower than most V6 “family sedans” (and some I4’s, actually) on the market, yet around here it feels like a jet. Our xA does the sprint in somewhere between 12 and 16 seconds, depending on cargo/passengers. Even with over 800lbs of passengers and cargo, our little 1.5L STILL takes off from a stand-still, passes on the highway, and traverses city traffic much faster than at least 90% of the traffic.

    I live in a place where most drivers know two speeds: Go and Stop. This is a maddening place where the on-ramps are too short, and even when they are of adequate length, drivers have a bad habit of trying to merge when they’re at the end of the on ramp, forcing the drivers behind them to scramble to get up to speed or risk getting rear-ended by drivers who have an untimely brain fart and forget what a brake pedal is. It’s a place that my boss once called a jungle where you’re either predator or prey. The underpowered are not favored here, lest you appreciate being cut off all the time. Personally, I don’t.

    Power has NOTHING to do with it – it’s all in the right foot. Tell me, how many people take off from a stand-still and actually USE their 0-60 “bragging rights” on ANY car? The gap between speed-freaks/piston-heads and everyday drivers is huge.

    Around here, EVERYBODY. Of course, it’s just a guess, I can’t tell if they’re going full throttle, or half throttle, but if they’re willing to lay on the horn two milliseconds after the light turns green, they’re probably not feathering the gas pedal, methinks.

    It doesn’t matter what the numbers say, people don’t/can’t drive that fast. The ONLY time my 1.5L gave me trouble was going up a steep grade that merged onto the highway while I had 5 of us in there. Sure, it took forever to get up that hill and hit 60. The sad part? The V8 sedan in front of me wasn’t going any faster. Believe it or not, it was limiting me – but then again, I’ve never been afraid to redline.

    It sure as hell doesn’t stop them from trying. My 1.6 Corolla (God bless it’s single-barrel carburetor) was painfully slow, and I had to thrash the daylights out of it to keep up with traffic. It got up to speed….eventually, but trying to overtake vehicles when the cars around me were flying by was an exercise in futility. I had to time my lane changes to jump in between cars, sorta like a game of double-dutch. Never had this problem when I had an AWD Talon.

    It doesn’t matter what these cars specs say. If they FEEL fast, most drivers won’t care. Plus, remember that most city driving is 0/5-45, not 0-60. Low-curved power bands matter, not peaky ones – people want to feel that pull up front, right before they ease the throttle when they hit the speed limit. Again, it doesn’t matter the actual speed!! As long as the driver THINKS the car is fast and THINKS it has gobs of power. Is it logical? No. Does that matter? Not really, considering who the majority of car buyers are.

    Give me a small hatch with >1.0L and a 5sp (or a decent slushbox) and I’ll be fine, still passing traffic, while getting 30MPG in-city.

    Except city driving isn’t just from light to light, and highway driving in the city isn’t a three-lane parking lot glacier. If I never touched a major highway, I would see your point. Unfortunately, the hustle-and-bustle lifestyle of this place leaves little room for the leisurely style of driving you encounter every day.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    yes.
    Or at least have 1/2 power versions of small cars that get great mileage without resorting to batteries.

  • avatar
    thoots

    geeber :

    Please compare apples to apples.

    No doubt, the cars are different. However, that’s not really my point. Toyota has developed new Camry and Corolla models, which combined will probably sell around one million vehicles in the US this year, while the 2.8 domestics will struggle to sell darn near anything. Honda will rack up similar numbers with Civic/Accord.

    My point is more about “What does the manufacturer spend its development dollars upon?”

    Toyota, Honda, and others spend it on high-volume, high-quality cars. The 2.8 are spending it on the next generation of V8 muscle cars. All of which probably won’t even sell enough to justify their relative existences. The bottom line here is, “Is there any wonder why the 2.8 are driving themselves into bankruptcy?” I’m talking about “selling cars” and “making money.” It doesn’t matter what they are — just make enough money to keep the business afloat.

    geeber :

    Most Mustangs sold are the V-6 model….

    Essentially my point, as well. The bulk of Mustang sales aren’t the “horsepower war” models.

    Here’s the point: While the 2.8 flush themselves down the toilet, along with their new V8 muscle cars, Toyota and Honda and others are making TONS OF PROFIT on their cars. When it comes to “making money,” the 2.8 virtually couldn’t possibly be more incompetent.

  • avatar
    offroadinfrontier

    Save from the idiot drivers, we live in polar opposites. Our highways are all 2 lanes (both of them), and it’s once a day you get boxed in by fools going 5 under the speed limit. I swear I’m the only person that pays attention to the lights – I’ve counted an average of 4-5 seconds for Green Light Response in the majority of the town (by that, I mean the places I’m not. I’ve never been horn-shy!!).

    I’d say that, for the most part, traffic around here NEVER reaches the posted limit (unless you’re in one of my rides). That is, until you try to pass someone on the highway; the second you change lanes, they’re instantly at 75MPH vs the 58 they were doing while you were stuck behind them.

    Example; today I took off from a light in my xA to hit highway speeds (one of those new, ANNOYING highway stoplights that aren’t necessary at ALL). I hit 60, look behind me, and my jaw drops to see that the guy beside me JUST crosses the intersection, while the guy behind me is only 1.5 car lengths in front of him.

    Around here, the only spec that matters is stopping distance – NOBODY waits that 2-3 seconds for you to pass their intersection, even if traffic is nonexistent behind you. They are in such a GOGOGO mood they rip in front of you (I’ve lightly squeaked tires for this reason on a bi-weekly basis), yet as stated above, they never hit the posted speed limits…

    It’s very interesting to hear such a bizarre change, even though the things like people waiting till the last minute to merge over (or going into an empty lane that’s cut off for whatever reason in attempts to cut in front) still happen here all of the time. Minus the speed, of course.

    Maybe I was made for a crazy-town where people actually GO, but around here the traffic is about as slow as it gets.

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  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber