By on April 13, 2017

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon - Image: FCAThe 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon produces 808 horsepower; 840 if you find some racing fuel.

I don’t care.

Don’t get me wrong. I like fast cars. I like fast SUVs. I like fast minivans. I like quick acceleration, high top speeds, rapid shifts, prodigious tire smoke, and burbly exhaust.

But outrageous horsepower numbers are almost becoming boring. They’re so common. So ordinary. So…

Easy.

Anybody can throw a few hundred extra horsepower at a decade-old muscle coupe. But what else can you do to impress me?

Don’t confuse my lack of enthusiasm for the Challenger SRT Demon’s 808-horsepower achievement with a lack of desire for Challenger SRT Demon ownership. I would Friday-Nights-Only-Garage-Queen the snot out of that thing.

But I’m not finding myself any more revved up for the Challenger SRT Demon’s 808 horsepower than I was for the Challenger SRT Hellcat’s 707 horsepower. And to be honest, 606 would be an acceptable figure, too.

I don’t have a problem with 808 horsepower — I’m glad FCA is crazy enough to let Dodge do this — but my viability for horsepower-derived fervor begins to taper off when already-crazy levels of horsepower grow fractionally larger and distinctly more difficult to access.

Perhaps it’s my Miata-loving nature coming out, my love for working a car over in order to make progress, as though I’m the one supplying the speed and not the car itself.

But I do like fast cars, I like my neck to be snapped back by the kind of unexpected acceleration you couldn’t get in conventional cars 20 years ago but now seems common. I just no longer find myself enticed by lofty on-paper figures.

In order to become truly engaged, I need more.

Do you care about horsepower? Or is your automotive addiction tied to something less tangible, something less obvious, something less ostentatious?

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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196 Comments on “QOTD: Do You Still Care About Horsepower?...”


  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    ITs situational. The new CX9 could benifit from about 50 more horses. The Mazda 6 could as well. HOwever I for my next ride I would like to have a 400-500hp car before I die. It doesnt have to be all the fast (ie K900 or Q70 V8) I just want to use it two or three times per day thats all.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Within reason.

    I like that Family Sedans can easily be had with 200 to 300 hp, don’t think they need anymore than that. I like that the pony/muscle cars are in the 400 hp range but don’t foam at the mouth at the thought of 500 or 600 or 700. I like that most trucks/BOF SUVs are comfortably at 300 with the torque that comes with it but don’t think that bigger would somehow be better.

    Just my 2 cents. YMMV.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Here’s my powertrain “care about” list

    1. Cylinder count
    2. Sound
    3. Peak horsepower
    4. Displacement
    5. Power curve
    6. Redline RPM
    7. Peak torque
    8. Aspiration
    9. Fuel economy
    10. Construction

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Why care about displacement at all? All of the others have some concrete effect that is visible to the driver. Displacement is just a number.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Dick waving mostly. Nostalgia partly.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Props for honesty.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I’m more interested in how that power is delivered.
            I’ve owned various “open class” dirt bikes and virtually all of them claim similar peak horsepower numbers but after a day in the saddle, it becomes rather obvious which one you’d want to live with on a daily basis. The same applies to cars or trucks.

            Another aspect of all this HP is the “Adrenalin factor”. You get used to a certain level of excitement and then it feels too common. You then want more. It fits the pattern of “normalization of deviance.”

            The last point is laziness.
            You start to use the big HP to compensate for a lack of skill or a lack of thinking ahead. I see this all the time with drivers pulling trailers behind diesel HD pickups. They drive no different than if they were in a sedan.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          LOL. ajla, your comments are often a highlight in the thread.

        • 0 avatar
          lon888

          All of this dick waving is just useless B.S. I don’t need outrageous horsepower. I’ve picked up more very nice ladies in a 28-hp 2CV than any idiot will with a Demon/Hellcat. These twits buying this big HP can only dream about attracting ladies with their cars. To a lady, it’s just another Dodge- big whoop.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “All of this dick waving is just useless B.S.”

            If it was useless I wouldn’t do it.
            ___________________________________

            “more very nice ladies” .. “To a lady, it’s just another Dodge- big whoop.”

            Luckily, I’m not often looking for “very nice”.

            Plus the big Mopars are actually quite popular with the women of certain demographics. Granted a blacked out 6M Challenger R/T Plus or 300S will be much more economical for this purpose over a Hellcat or Demon.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            ajla,

            Right?

            What does attracting sexual partners have to do with it? Most women couldn’t care less, same with a lot of gay guys. Your Camaro/Mustang/whatever could have a base V-6 engine and s/he wouldn’t know the difference. Natually there are plenty of exceptions, but I’m speaking generally.

            How about buying a car that makes ME happy, NOT giving a phuck what others want or think. If I want a 700 HP custom 4×4 truck or sports coupe, I’ll buy it because its what *I* want.

            I don’t care who doesn’t like it or judges me because they feel superior because they have a Juke and a Prius to prove whatever that think they need to. There is nothing wrong with my manhood if I drive a 4×4 F-150, the neggy-Peggys will think I’m “compensating”, so? I know what I got, I don’t need anything to prove or disprove anything. if I like the Challenger or a big pickup truck and I can afford to buy/fuel/insure it, that shouldn’t have any affect on anyone else.

            If you turn me down because I don’t have a sexy enough ride or you disapprove of my choice, then you ain’t worth my time any-damn-way.

      • 0 avatar
        Maxb49

        “Why care about displacement at all? All of the others have some concrete effect that is visible to the driver. Displacement is just a number.”

        Displacement roughly to durability. Large displacement engines produce more usable work at lower RPM. A large displacement V8’s architecture lends itself to a long, hard working life.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I agree, but I would also point out the Volvo Redblock could be equally used in a long working life and was considerable smaller (albeit it without real towing abilities).

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I would call ~3300lbs pretty decent towing capacity for a fairly small car. And a Volvo redblock will outlive any American v8 ever made.

            Chest beating about V8s is just stupid.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Idle torque and linear power between idle and 1300-1500rpm

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I would literally flip that list upside down.

      Construction is about the most important.

      Displacement, HP, Sound, and Cylinder count are by far my least.

      I don’t care if its a 1.2 Liter Bumble bee with 7 HP and 1 cylinder…. if it can get me 0-60 in 1.2 seconds and get me 50 MPG.

      Power curve, peak torque, and fuel economy are all middle of the road stuff. I think HP is stupid honestly, its never mattered. I’d rather have high torque. Power curve is more important than peak anything. Give me 400 lb-ft torque at 800 RPM up to 4000 RPM and I’ll be happy as a clam.

      More important than all of that though is construction. Numbers don’t matter if it can’t make it 200 miles. I have a ferrari, and the fact that 40k miles is the life of the motor sucks. give me a reliable motor as a baseline before I even consider buying something else. If the motor blows all the time, the rest won’t matter.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    What about cars that look like they were designed by adults rather than Transformer fans?
    Here in the Bay Area, my average overall speed is 25 mph. I do not need more horsepower. But I do like my V8 Jag. I drove around San Antonio recently in a rental Accent. Heresy of heresies, it did the job!
    Its hard, plasticky interior would be ideal for day to day use.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Nope. There’s a point somewhere around 9 lb/hp where more power just becomes useless on public roads. Unless I were to start a track hobby for which I have neither time nor money, I don’t care about more than that.

    On the other hand, hours of effort spent refining steering and suspension will pay off everywhere. At this point those are the most important “driving quality” criteria for me.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      +1. Where I live it seems like most people have a fear of acceleration. I want something with good balance that’s responsive. More power just never gets used.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I agree, I think that ratio of a little better than 10lbs per hp is the sweet spot for a car with sporty/muscley intentions.

      I think what I appreciate about the demon isn’t the raw hp number but all the little drag racer tricks to get there. I love gimmicks like that when they actually work.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      Even, or maybe especially, on track, there are diminishing returns to horsepower. Every track day is full of >500-horsepower street cars that can’t get through a corner as fast as a 20-year-old 3-series BMW with coilovers and R-compound tires. My current track car is 247 horsepower and I’m only flat-to-the-floor in maybe 6 places around Sears Point. Would I have twice the fun with twice the horsepower? Nop.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    After working my way up the HP ladder from 110 hp in my first car all the way to having a few cars with 4 digit horsepower, I’m jaded. Daily driving a Ludicrous equipped Tesla ruined me as well.

    It’s crazy when 808 factory warrantied HP isn’t as big of a deal as 225 was to me in 1994. Then again, that’s 45 year old me vs 22 year old me….

  • avatar
    Zackman

    For me, I’ve gotten weary of the horsepower race. For one thing, what do you do with all that power? My 2012 Impala has 302 hp, and is the fastest, most powerful car I have ever owned. I say that ad nauseum because I have mentioned it so often.

    Also, I am not a young man, but even when I was, and owned a car with a V8, I almost never laid on the gas to see what it would do. One guy wanted to race me across a bridge, and I told him I just had a 283 Powerglide, but did it, and I laid off the gas halfway over the bridge because I was afraid of getting caught. For a guy in the military, I would face double jeopardy, and didn’t want to risk it. Before I eased back, we were neck-and-neck, so never found out whose car was fastest. The joy of being a young man!

    I just wish the OEMs would make a car that is a genuine pillarless hardtop, and forget the rocket power. Just give me enough power to get out of my own way!

    • 0 avatar
      Rasputin

      “….a genuine pillarless hardtop,”
      Man, do I miss that style. AC has its uses – sunny 100 degree August days – but I prefer the open air. And for a sedan, nothing is cooler, both figuratively & literally, than no B pillar. And usable vent windows.

      Never been a muscle car guy. In the 60’s & 70’s, when my friends had Mustangs, Camaros, & ‘Cudas, I had 124 Spyders & Alfas. Never got into horsepower, just liked to go fast through the twisties – with the top down.

      • 0 avatar
        hgrunt

        The Mercedes E class, CL (now called S class) coupes are true pillarless hardtops, though despite how cheaply you can pick one up these days, it’s probably not something that has low operating costs.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I’m kind of on the same page. I like vehicles that provide better performance than their looks betray while offering some degree of practicality. I think that’s why I’ve always liked V6 family sedans. I guess the logical extreme would be something like a BMW M sedan. It used to be hard to tell them apart from their slower brethren, and that sleeper factor was part of what made them cool. Now it’s hard to argue an _40i isnt fast enough, and the M styling is over the top.

  • avatar
    JCreams

    Not at all. Numbers mean nothing if the sum isn’t any good. My IS has 215 hp, which sounds weak on paper. However, the fact that they come from an inline-6 and are routed to the rear wheels by a manual transmission, motivating a relatively compact and light car, and suddenly 215 hp sounds just about right. In fact, I can drive the thing pretty much flat out everywhere. Try doing that in a numbers car and you’ll end up dead, in jail, or somehow both.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Amen brother!!!

    • 0 avatar

      The more you have of some factor, the less value in each additional unit. Horsepower very quickly reaches steeply declining marginal benefit for me as it becomes too great to use in the real world. I do like an engine that responds immediately and that sings when you flog it, and a car that handles nicely, and has good steering feel. And that has a clutch. I suspect I’d enjoy your IS a bit more than I enjoy my Civic (stick, 1.8 liter, and 150 hp if I remember correctly) in the city, and a lot more on the interstate. And I’d love a Boxster or Cayman for all the other aspects of driving dynamics more than for the additional HP. But if I were going to get a two seater, I’d probably get a Miata.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    Depends on the vehicle.

    I mostly want smooth accelerating power to pass, so sometimes that’s a HP issue, sometimes its a matter of how much torque is available at what rpm.

    But for the majority of drivers, even for a lot of driving enthusiasts, HP is a matter of diminishing returns unless you are dedicated to regular outings at a track. In which case, you probably have a track car for that.

    I’m never gonna use even close to the limit in any decent sized daily driver, so a Hellcat (much less a Demon) sounds great, but is actually useless for me.

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    I’m of the opinion that a new malaise era is on the way. It may be pushed back about 4-8 years but it is coming. Enjoy while you can.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Yeah, I hear you. I rarely have opportunity to use 400 HP in any capacity. 800 is just “400 additional wasted HP” in my life. Now, I am trying to take my Legacy GT wagon to the track in the near future. At that point, I might buy a more dedicated track car or something, which is a totally different ballgame.

    OTOH, the demon isn’t meant as a “do everything” daily driver. It’s meant for those who live and breathe 1/4 mile.. I could imagine a “hidden camera” show where someone takes a Demon to a midwest track out in the boonies and just proceeds to blow everything away..

  • avatar
    NoID

    I’m incredibly biased, but my gut reaction to your implication that the Demon lacks anything noteworthy besides an admittedly impressive power bump is a giant “Eff You!”

    I’m righteously indignant on the behalf of my colleagues, they did an imperial ‘Murican $#!7 ton of work making that power useable. Wheel hop mitigation, driveline upgrades, torque reserve, trans brake, line lock, street legal drag tires, suspension tuning…it’s the definition of a car worked over to make progress, as you stated in so many words.

    Now, having gotten that off my chest, I understand the immunity to the horsepower wars. But I guess I’m still trying to enjoy it now, before we’re all using Robert Heinlein’s rolling roads to get from A to B.

    I think this QOTD would have been more relevant to that dealer putting 750 HP Shelby(ish) Mustangs out for sale with no other upgrades. Now that, my friend, is numbing.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Not remotely the implication. I implied I wanted one.

      But relative to the Hellcat? I’m implying I don’t care that this has 101 more horsepower.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I’m not sure I can quite get to righteous indignation for internet banter, but I agree- a lot of people are looking at the hp and missing all the really cool details of this car. If they stuck a regular hellcat engine in this with all the other drag goodies it will still be a second quicker- and not just because of the tires. I’m really interested to start seeing the 60 foot on this car.

      Also a lot of people dismiss drag racing, it’s harder than people give it credit for, even in an automatic there’s still a lot ok ‘knowing your car’. What Tesla really deserves credit for, more than it’s instant torque, is about the most perfect launch control system on the planet. Anticipation for those lights dropping is murder.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Horsepower figures don’t impress me, and haven’t since I passed the age of 12 or so.

    What turns me on is balance in a car. The ability to accelerate smartly, take that curve a half mile down the road without having to decelerate too much, or if you do have to downshift and cut back on the throttle, you can take that curve at a good rate of speed with confidence that the back end is going to stay in line. And to be light enough in weight to make that car tossable no matter what the curves.

    And I’m definitely not impressed with drag racing. How American a sport can you get? It takes no talent other that getting off the line fast and keeping the car in a straight line, while looking flashy as all get out.

    Of course, you’re talking to the guy in college who wanted a TR-6 or Alfa Romeo Spyder, while all the other guys were drooling over the GTO Judge and Hemi Cuda. I’ll race ya. But I get to pick the road. And that road is going to look like a snake with cramps.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “And I’m definitely not impressed with drag racing. How American a sport can you get? It takes no talent other that getting off the line fast and keeping the car in a straight line,”

      LOL!!!

      It’s a lot more difficult than you can imagine, until you have a seat behind the wheel.

      And 300-pound dudes need not apply because what you want behind the wheel is the lightest driver you have to get off the line the quickest.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        This. Road racing had chances for recovery if you mess up somewhere. In drag racing, if you mess up your launch, miss a shift, spin the tires, etc…that’s it. Go home. You lose.

        Both forms of racing have merit and take supreme skill to master.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I believe ALL sports demand respect for the participants.

          Until someone has beat the champ in a sport, comments belittling that sport are just meaningless self-aggrandizing.

          I grew up on the beach and was quite a Wave Rider and Surfer in my younger days, and I used to be quite good at Skiing and Langlaufen, but I doubt I can Snowboard.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            You probably could learn to snowboard, but the first day is tough, you’ll hit the ground hard a number of times. It’s probably easier to learn when you’re younger and smacking the snow doesn’t hurt as much.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Oh, I tried snowboarding. Like you said, I took some tumbles, even on the kiddy-slope.

            First thing I noticed was that with snowboarding you use muscles you didn’t know you had.

            More and different muscles than with other sports.

            It was amazing to me how the young kids took to snowboarding like fish take to water. Naturals, one and all.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          I agree that there is skill to a successful launch. The thing is that most modern cars that are fast off the line come with various electronics that at the press of a button turn you into “Big Daddy” or Don “the Snake”.

          Driving fast on a road course is more likely to be hampered by nannies unless you are in a vehicle with sick amounts of HP.

    • 0 avatar
      Junes

      I’m with Syke. Overall balance is most important. A powerful engine, for sure. But also great brakes, transmission, and suspension for excellent — and safe — overall performance and handling. Achieving incredible straight line acceleration is just that — and piling on power seems like the easiest part. It’s not important for me to be a speed freak at every freeway onramp, which is the only place I’d be able to use more than 400 horsepower. I want the whole package (including a spacious, comfortable ride. At 6’4″, you can’t take these things for granted). I’m talking about everyday street use, of course.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Watching drag racing has never personally appealed to me, but I get that it’s a lot more complicated than just some dummy with a heavy right foot. NASCAR, short track sprint cars, and all of the other redneck motorsports too. There are a lot of details in the cars and the driving to get right and only one or two small mistakes make the difference between winning and second place. The winning teams are full of guys who have spend years and decades in the business perfecting their skills. That kind of dedication earns my respect.

      Now, there’s no need to get overly defensive of the sport either, but there’s something you guys jumping to defend it gotta admit- That is it’s an easy target when all that is required to be a fan is a love of noise and explosions and a ten second attention span ;)

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        It goes a lot deeper than that, like with all sports. It becomes a part of your life.

        Different strokes for different folks. Some people like road racing, others like drag racing, yet others like rallying, swamping and/or mudding.

        I say, to each their own.

        I grew up with certain sports and amenities, and I tend to return to and reinforce that behavior. Besides, I’m terrible at Golf, and never understood the sanity of chasing after a little white ball.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        You need to go to the strip to see the pro series at least once, it’s pretty spectacular. Bring some hearing protection, but take it off for at least one of the nitro burning car’s runs.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @JimC2 – agree. I’ve never been into watching drag racing as a spectator sport even though I did it and came in 3rd one year in my bike’s bracket.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Syke, the challenge of drag racing is managing traction. An untalented driver will convert large quantities of engine power into lots of tire smoke. A talented driver achieves optimum wheel spin and weight transfer for best elapsed time.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        So does the untalented driver. He just activates launch control on his Demon and floors it. Fun stuff; like the first few seconds of a roller coaster ride.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “And I’m definitely not impressed with drag racing. How American a sport can you get?”

      The Europeans love it too, and do it best. Every week or two from spring to fall, they hold a big drag racing event where twenty low-8-second cars in close proximity drag race to see who can get to the corner first. Drivers often come together, but the ones who keep their head get to continue on to the rest of the race. It’s my favorite aspect of motorsports.

  • avatar

    Nope. Not really. What I want is the knowledge that I can use every single one of the horsepower I do have. Having an insane amount of horsepower is like having earning millions of pounds a year – you know it’s going to be hard to put it all to good use.

    People have been moaning about the launch of a new four-cylinder Jaguar F-Type with ‘only’ 300bhp, and aside from the lack of a six or eight cylinder growl, I suspect it will be an absolute treat to drive.

    Tim, I’m totally with you. Let’s start concentrating on how good a song we can sing, not how loud we can sing it.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Tim I don’t like this review of the Demon. It’s not a good car because they won’t sell very many. You need to consider sales figures and the opinions of others before you write reviews containing your opinion.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    I’d happily trade away any amount over 150 HP for a hydropneumatic CUV.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Citroen.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        “Citroen.”

        Citroen, who no longer offer the system, never offered it in a CUV and presently have no dealerships in the US.

        I’ll bet you’re a font of advice for the whole family.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          OMP, yeah, they no longer offer it because the system sucked, leaked and made people carsick with the wallowing.

          I didn’t know you were being serious.

          Now that I see that you are, I’ll skip your future comments so as not to offend you with my wry wit.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    I’m more impressed with the Demon in terms of what they are doing with that horsepower.

    The # is impressive all by itself sure, but the fact that they’ve mapped torque limiting and launch control functions in which allows this 4,000lb+ vehicle to pull the wheels off (controlled i’m sure via calculated torque algorithms as well) through 315 series drag radials is the cool part, and hustle itself down the 1/4 in 9.65 seconds is just silly (in a good way).

    Anybody, factories included, can make silly horsepower any more in a full on race vehicle. The aftermarket has easily surpassed this figure as well. But having that car idle, not overheat, pass emissions, behave in traffic, and be driven as-is off the dealership lot and be usable for a commute if you wanted is what makes it amazing.

    So I guess the horsepower is impressive yes, but it’s the technology behind the application of it that is more impressive and continuing to evolve.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    NO.

    Horsepower is what megapixels once were for cameras. I will gladly take engagement and handling over horsepower.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      But the combination of both is the best of both worlds. But there is a limit as far as improving the car goes. Would more HP make me enjoy my C7 more? Well if it would I’d be in a Zo6 and I’m not, so no, I feel I have enough to compliment the rest of the car’s performance. One you reach a certain level, other improvements are worth more. Take brakes. You can never have too much brake, period. If all cars could stop from 60 to 0 in under 100 feet you would have a pretty good chance of never rear ending anybody.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    This is strictly a niche car for those who want to show they are the fastest. I get why FCA is making this model but most who will look at it will most likely buy another FCA product. It might be worth having this model in the show room to attract other customers. Realistically I do not need anything over 200 hp but I do want good acceleration for getting on the interstate and for passing. More important is if the vehicle is multi functional and has comfortable seats with plenty of head and legroom. Many of us are not the targeted buyers for this car.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    It’s getting pointless. This car needs that much HP because it weighs as much as a Sherman tank. It’s for people who want bragging rights, nothing more. Besides, if this is your kind of thing, why not drop an LS1 into a Miata and blow everyone away for about $65000 less?
    I suspect the buyer of this will be Ram driving, flag waving, trailer park rednecks who need a car like this to make a Pabst beer run during halftime breaks for college football.
    But, that’s just like my opinion, man…

    • 0 avatar
      CaddyDaddy

      ……….”be Ram driving, flag waving, trailer park rednecks who need a car like this to make a Pabst beer run during halftime breaks for college football”

      I never understood the arrogance of this type of statement. I don’t see anything wrong with any of these stereotypes. Maybe, I need to put myself in the world of an arrogant nose in the air 3 series driving, lease payment making prestige chasing type. BTW, most people who live in mobile home parks in CO happen to be hard-working Hispanics who are just trying to keep their head above water from the downward trending wages caused by the unending supply of labor heading north.

      I would love to have a RAM eco-diesel, I proudly fly my flag for the most gracious country in the world, I drink bourbon and spend my weekends on a river raft, not in front of TV. …..and if I won the lottery, my first purchase would be a Demon!

      Let’s talk cars, not tout our superiority.

      • 0 avatar
        OzCop

        Well stated C daddy…stereotyping the masses, regardless of their perceived lot in life is indeed silly at best, and arrogant at worst. We all have our favorite sports, be it stick ball, club ball, racket ball, bowling, boating, or any number of motor applied sports. I’ll happily accept the flag waving, Ram pickup moniker, even though I have never lived in a trailer park. That is not to say I didn’t grow up relatively poor, nor did I attend the best hoity, toity, schools, but did indeed possess enough common sense to pull myself out of the situation I was unfortunately born into, and not ridicule those who didn’t.
        The fact that any of us peruse and comment on this particular site tells me we all have an interest in things automotive related, and indeed I am one of those who participated in drag racing for many years until I found it much more fun and appealing to play on road race courses, and indeed, parking lots with a sea of cones representing a 40 to 60 second autocross course. I have found the skill level of each of these racing and performance driving venues has it’s own learning curve and applied skills to get from point A to point B, be it a quarter mile drag strip, a 2.5 mile road course, or a 60 second autocross course. It takes more than horsepower to be competitive in each of these venues.
        As for the Demon HP numbers, and the car’s intended purpose, I am amazed at modern technology that allows these kinds of numbers, and the attending technology that allows one to put that kind of power to the ground. For my kind of auto sport, track days and autocross, that car would be useless to me in my opinion, without enhancing the suspension dynamics to fit the cause. I too admire the FCA folks willing to allow Dodge to create this monster. They will sell several, just as they did the 707 hp versions, and as someone else mentioned, those cars will bring some people to the showrooms in hopes of selling them an SUV or that red neck Ram truck mentioned in the previous post…

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Caddydaddy, I need to buy you a beer.

        The only thing I really dislike about this site is the tendency for some commenters to judge, make fun of, or berate people who don’t count their wealth as only what is in their wallet.

        I live down south. Dirty South. I don’t live in a trailer, but I damn sure would if need be, and I dare anyone to try to judge me for it.

        But, my car is a 1995, and worse, its American! So my opinion doesn’t count. Let the blue-collar bashing continue.

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          “Caddydaddy, I need to buy you a beer.”

          So you applaud him for calling out a stupid stereotype while you yourself perpetuated a stupid stereotype IN THIS THREAD.

          Wow…..

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I’d love to meet the trailer park redneck who can spend $80K+ on a one-note drag car. I’ll make sure to offer him a “Coexist” sticker in exchange for that nasty flag of his.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      I’m as big a fan of an LS-swapped Miata as anyone, but you’re delusional if you think you’re going to put down the kind of acceleration numbers in one that the Demon does.

      Of course the Demon is about bragging rights (as is an LS Miata). It also can do some really cool stuff (as can an LS Miata).

      Personally, I’m with the others who don’t really see the fun of driving a car which has way more power than I can use on the street, but I still think that the Demon is pretty damn cool.

      Regarding price, if we’re talking apples-to-apples and not some barn-shed conversion using a 15 year-old donor car and used parts, a Flyin’ Miata LS-swapped, new ND Miata starts at $75k including the donor car, and last I heard still wasn’t 100% sorted.

      Perspective is important.

  • avatar
    phreshone

    In a daily driver I want enough HP to do the job, no sweat, not enough to kill me. Do I really want/need more than about a 250 hp V6 or 225hp I4t in my mid-sized sedan. No…

    My Saab 9-5 towed 2000 lbs at 75mph across WY and up the Oregon Blue Mountains no problem. My VW CC is more than fast enough with the 2.0t. Now was my 96 Probe GT down 25 hp at 165?… you bet. Would I buy a Mazda 6 at 185hp? probably not… But I’ve done 3 Skip Barber 1 day outings in 120 hp open seaters… fast enough and powerful enough to make you realize you don’t need much more, and a Viper on autocross course was less fun than a Dodge Stealth TT.

  • avatar
    vagvoba

    I want cars to be able to run in slow, comfortable, and economical mode, but also in beast mode, whenever I fancy.

    For example, I love the ECO mapping of the gas pedal on the Toyota Prius in traffic. It’s very soft and it’s extremely easy to modulate power without the constant annoying feeling of acceleration and braking in a stop and go traffic. It’s also virtually silent and there’s no vibration of any kind at a slow pace. The electric motor is inherently smooth, but also the ICE at low RPMs is almost unnoticeable. Perfect city vehicle.
    However, when I need to catch a green light or need some juice on the highway, I’d want 250 hp kicking in with some decent sound effect, unlike the noise of the vacuum cleaner under the hood of a revving Prius.

    I owned a few sporty cars before and they were fun to drive, but sometimes you just want to get from A to B and need a very smooth and easy commute through traffic.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    For any car I own or drive- no, I don’t care, not anymore. I’m sorry. Flying is far more fun for me.

    But I still love the art and science that go into a fine automobile.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    HP is like sex, money, and oxygen; it’s only a problem when you’re lacking it. I really want my next car in the 300-400 range; it doesn’t need to be crazy, but I want some oomf.

  • avatar
    Ianw33

    I am all about as much HP as i can get for my money. What i lack is any descent legal opportunities to really take advantage of that power…other than going 70mph on the highway when its not at a standstil

  • avatar
    Chan

    I identify as an occasional user of the tool called “critical thinking.” My answer is it depends on the use of the car.

    Automotive performance has long passed the limits of human reaction time. A well-developed AI driver would lay waste to the best human Nurburgring times. In a modern performance car, what matters most is the stimulation of the human senses and mental involvement.

    To maximise fun, a specific environment demands a specific level of power; for example, 300-ish HP is perfect for my local mountain road. I had a car with 245 hp that felt underpowered, and my current car has around 400 and feels slightly overpowered for that road.

    The masses will always want more of everything without really reflecting on why they want more. Marketing this way is just lazy; that is why we end up with the Hellcats which sell on numerical excess and not actual performance. But I am not saying that it’s a bad car, far from it–it’s actually bad product planning pandering to lazy marketing.

    IMO this is why family sedan horsepower has peaked at under 300. In 2004, the Nissan Altima SE-R crushed everyone else with 270 horses when the typical V6 was pushing 200-240. Then the others caught up, and a few V6 offerings were flirting with the magic 300 hp. Then CAFE started to kick in and buyers started tracking MPGs instead of peak HP. Non-DFI V6s stagnated in the 270hp area, and now the “hot” version of the Hyundai Sonata is down to 245 hp.

    But in reality, those 270 horses were always hobbled by a gearbox hell-bent on the smoothness that the buyers demand. The power was there just to let gloating owners gloat.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Acutally, the masses buy vehicles with very modest horsepower. What percent of midsize sedans go out the door with normally aspirated 4 cylinder engines? I’m fairly sure it’s the vast majority. I expect that most of the turbo 4s are the < 2L ones in the EcoBoost Fusions.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I find a 255 HP Turbo 4 to be much more enjoyable than a 306HP V6.

      That’s because the 255 HP has more HP and Torque from 0-4200 RPM, and is only out performed by the V6 above 4200 RPM.

      The thing is, MOST driving, even spirited driving, occurs below 4200 RPM, making the turbo 4 much better for daily driving- and spirited daily driving.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    To me, horsepower BY ITSELF is not impressive. It’s basically a check writing competition.

    It’s the whole package of a car that impresses me – how well it does it’s job and how flexible it is. A GTI is plenty fast enough to have a ton of fun on public roads. Something with 500, 600, 700hp – you might only get to enjoy very briefly under certain conditions without completely obliterating the speed limit.

    Someone above mentioned a lb/hp limit above which more power is meaningless. I tend to agree with that.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      One of the problems I find from HP though is the tuning issue. When OEMs chase peak HP numbers, they actually poorly tune the vehicle for experience, just to get the right peak HP number at 6400 RPM.

      this is one thing I always liked about BMWs… and I don’t like BMWs…

      It wasn’t about peak HP. They tuned the motor/trans for driving.

      GM was awful at the opposite. They’d post a peak HP number, but the thing would lag like a 3 cylinder metro under 4000 RPMs… The torque and HP curves were pathetic.

      So I agree HP is a piece that does technically matter, but I’d take a well tuned 255 HP with a good torque and HP curve over a 808 HP monster that sucks to drive.

      (Not saying THIS 808 HP monster is that, just using that as a comparison)

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    It’s fun certainly but I realized after owning a 2015 M3 (1/4 mile low 12’s at 118-120 mph) and driving some 600-800 hp cars, it really is unnecessary day to day and frankly takes the fun out of a car when the chassis is overwhelmed by power.

    I find it can be more fun to wring out an engine rather than be traveling at illegal speeds in the matter of a few seconds. Now I am back in a 2008 base Carrera, 325hp, it’s enough to have fun and is a nice balance between chassis and power.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Nope. Horsepower figures turned from street-usable to bragging rights/trophy collections somewhere in the mid-late ’90s. 150 actual** hp on the ground is more than adequate for everyday driving.

    ** as determined by fuel maps, rpm, throttle opening, and drivetrain losses; not what a given car is “rated” at in the ads.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Not really. I like an “adequate” amount. Anything less than 8 seconds to 60 is more than adequate. I do like a decent amount of low-end torque, winding the nuts off an engine is fun in small doses, but it gets old fast. I appreciate reasonable gas mileage, 30-35mpg highway is fine.

    Ultimately, being a serial-multiple Saab driver I find that a 4 cylinder turbo of about 2l displacement and 180-250hp is about perfect in the medium small cars that I prefer. Power is there when you need it, but so is the efficiency.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    I really couldn’t care less about HP these days. Why? Because all but the very slowest cars these days are perfectly capable of accelerating much more than adequately on the road. Most people don’t use anywhere near the max power in their cars. So you really don’t need a powerful car to “keep up” with other drivers. HP has become a number mostly used for bragging rights and not really otherwise very meaningful.

  • avatar
    George B

    I still care about horsepower, but probably wouldn’t buy a Hellcat or Demon. I’m much more likely to buy a Mustang GT. I don’t know where I’d get to use more than about 400 hp in a passenger car. What I would want is a normally aspirated V8 that makes all the right sounds when driven a little aggressively within what’s tolerated on public roads.

  • avatar
    JimmyC

    I love horsepower. I live in a part of the country (Michigan), where traffic is not that bad and power can be enjoyed. The quickness of Tesla vehicles feels great and I will buy a Demon if I get the chance. Even though EV’s are more efficient, I prefer ICE power because I love the sound and feel of large ICE engines. Sports car handling and balance is also fun on a track but I no longer drive on tracks so I’m done with that. Weaving through traffic will just get me in trouble. I know that some people believe that big HP is compensating for something, whatever. I like big engine HP because it is fun to accelerate quickly which I can do without getting tickets. For me, more power is always welcome. I can always choose to use it or not. That’s the beauty of a free country. I get to spend my money on what I like. Others can do the same. This country’s auto market offers excellent vehicles in every segment. At this point in my life, I personally prefer muscle cars. Earlier in my life raising children, I drove economy cars, and then a series of practical family cars. Right now, I’m all about HP and fun.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @jimmyc: One huge advantage of a performance EV like a P100DL over ICE is that because it’s so quiet, you can get away with full throttle acceleration without attracting unwanted attention. Even if you know a cop is in close proximity, you’re good to go. Try that in a Demon and you’re going to be seeing blue lights. The sound might not be as good as an ICE, but you can go full throttle at will as long as it’s safe. At full throttle, you do get some pretty cool sounds, so there is a little bit of audio entertainment.

  • avatar
    carguy

    As entry level models have more and more standard power I care less and less about upgrading the engine. Most cars are fast these days and stop light drag races are usually won by who is the braver idiot to jump into the intersection first after the light turns green than engine power. Let’s face it, grandma in her V6 Camry can beat you at the lights if you blink.

    All that remains for the “fast car” are nice noises, bragging rights and some extra capability at the track.

  • avatar

    I recently did a comparison of all the cars I thought were fun. Vette, Porsche, Big Sedans with big engines, smaller sedans with big engines. I even tossed in some historical.

    My very normal GM parts-bin 3.6 liter CTS can 0-60 in 6 seconds-6.5 depending on test. This is faster than the vast majority of classic “muscle cars”, save the big blocks and a few specials. It is also as fast as a Sienna and other boring things. My 4 door sedan is faster than the malaise corvettes, even. With 300 hp, I never have any shortage of power in any rational situation. It is enough that you have to be careful not to spin tires if you turn off TC.

    A “fast” car today is pushing for four seconds or less…a lot of cars are 3.9 seconds. A vette is as fast as an ATS-V, or an M2, or a Porsche. You need to go GT-R or Z06 or serious one off for “faster”.

    I want enough power to be able to pass the Feeble Passive/Aggressive who blocks the left lane at ten under, then when traffic opens up, floors it making the easy 50-70 pass it should have been a WFO 70-90 pass. Extra points from carbon from the exhaust because they normally don’t open it up…..

    Of course, need vs. want is an entirely different discussion.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      My 3.6 CTS ruined my collector car for me.

      I had the ST Performance CTS, which is the normal DI motor + 6spd manual and bilstein suspension + bigger brakes.

      I also had a 2nd gen Z28.

      The Z28 used to be my dream car, but then I realized my “DD” was more fun to drive than that. It had like 165 HP, and weighed 10,000 lbs, and this “Parts bin” “DD” like car outperformed it in every possible way. Took my dream car and ruined it.

      In 2 years I put about 200 miles on the Z28, pretty much driving back and forth to the repair shop for normal maintenance. Really sucked the fun out of it, and I sold it.

      Thats one of the odd issues. HP was a huge issue when it was holding you back but now even “normal” DD cars are putting up sufficient enough numbers that they perform well. Modern suspension puts even old sports cars to shame. You don’t feel held back anymore even in a mid-tier sedan…

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      “…I want enough power to be able to pass the Feeble Passive/Aggressive who blocks the left lane at ten under, then when traffic opens up, floors it making the easy 50-70 pass it should have been a WFO 70-90 pass…”

      My V6 Jeep Grand Cherokee is among the “slowest” vehicle I’ve ever owned. And you know what? If I drive it like an idiot on the highway, it has more than enough power to get around those passive-aggressive jerks who try to stop people from passing them.

      • 0 avatar

        Your JGC has 300 hp…hardly under powered…and that is the base engine.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          The JGC V6 is probably okay for the flatlands, but if you get into the mountains, that tranny gets real busy because the JGC is very heavy.

          Best all-around power train for the JGC is the 5.7L HEMI V8.

          We owned a 2012 JGC V6. It was no match for my son’s 2012 JGC SRT8.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Yes. Also, horsepower needs to be usable. If I don’t achieve my extra 50 bhp until 6900 RPM its fracking pointless to those other than marketing jag offs.

  • avatar
    GermanReliabilityMyth

    Well, most everyone has weighed in already, so I guess I should take my turn peeing into the wind (of comments).

    I’m getting older, but I’ve always been and old soul type of person. The most fun I’ve probably had rodding a car is flogging a GTI on a test drive on some county roads. Beyond that, I see no practical purpose for vehicles that can accelerate to super-legal speeds in no time flat. The points on my license are happy right where they are and insurance costs enough as it is without giving them a reason to charge you more.

    That said, here’s what I do like in order of importance:

    1.) Reliability
    2.) Durability/Build Quality
    3.) Comfort (cabin dB level, civility of ride)
    4.) Relative economy-to-power ratio
    5.) Delivery of power (ideally, torque rich down low but not a TDI attached to that damnable DSG lag box)
    6.) Everything else. Unique qualities of drivetrain, styling, perception and so on

    As you can see, massive horsepower is nowhere to be found on that list and all the fluffy stuff is at the end.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    Its subjective. I think around 100hp per 1000lbs is the sweet spot. Above that it really starts to not matter. I don’t really crave anything more than that.

    My last car was a Boss 302 with 444HP, my current is a Scat Pack Challenger with 485HP. People always ask me why I didnt supercharge either one. Whats the point? Its already way too fast to use on the street. It actually gets very frustrating to have all of the power but not be able to use it.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I agree with you. People have asked me if I want more power out of my GT. I tell them that I could add a Ford supercharger very cheaply, keep the warranty, and be putting down 700 hp. But what’s the point?

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    No.

    Remove the congestion and idiots from the roadways so you can actually utilize more than 150hp and I might start caring. Until then, 808hp is corporate bragging rights and an ego boost for a few men who think they’ve personally accomplished something remarkable by buying a Demon.

  • avatar
    notwhoithink

    No, I don’t really care about horsepower anymore. Just about any moderately competent car will have enough power to be usable. My Fusion has just shy of 250 HP, and that’s more than sufficient for daily driver duty. IMO, anything much beyond 300 HP becomes far too much of a temptation for me to use as a daily driver. The point is to get from point A to point B, not to set a record doing it. The 250-300 HP range offers more than enough opportunity to feel sporty without getting yourself in serious trouble.

    On the “nice weekend sports car” category, I have a hard time believing that the 840 HP Demon can do anything that a 650 HP Z06 can’t, outside of a drag strip. And even then I’m probably more likely to opt for the Gran Sport.

  • avatar

    I think “no replacement for displacement” still holds merit. Nothing like a 300-400HP V8 loafing along at 70-80 on the open highway at under 2,000 rpm.

    Squeezing crazy power out of a tiny engine is the new thing but I wonder how overstressed the internal components may be…and whether they’ll be able to go 200,000 miles.

    No matter how it’s done, power is only as good as the ability to control the vehicle it’s in. 800HP in a vehicle I can only drive in dry weather? No thanks!

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      You know what? Darned few understressed V8s make it to 200K miles. Most cars are killed off by something other than the motor wearing out long before then.

      Worshipping at the altar of the v8 is just silly. At least two cylinders to many for no good reason at all.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Europeans gave up on trying to make a great V8, if that’s what you’re so sore about.

        It’s not a V8 fetish or anything, but what tops a V8, all things considered? Nothing so far.

        Especially if it’s in a 4,000+ lbs, bigger vehicle.

        There’s some cars a V8 would ruin (I own one), most being midsize or smaller, but a V8 would improve the dynamics, over-all appeal, of too many cars/vehicles to list here. And I’m not even talking “performance”.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I always thought that the V8s from Mercedes and BMW were pretty decent, but out of my price range. And Italy’s V8’s aren’t bad either, like the Testarossa.

          If I could ever afford it I would like a BMW 6-series with the V12. A dentist friend of mine in Grand Junction has one and it is one hell of a ride.

          It’s too bad that automotive-correctness has made the big American V8, V10 and V12 politically incorrect.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          They are just pointless today. There is nothing magical about them. An inline six sounds infinitely better and is far smoother, a V6 is better for packaging, a four is more efficient. They mostly sound like crap to me. Either the lumpy American style or the raspy European flat-plane crank sound. Blech. Or they sound like nothing at all, like my Disco.

          I own one and I think it is largely rubbish. American engineered (originally) at that.

          I’ll take a turbo four any day and twice on Sunday. Of course, I have no use for a Canyonero other than to tow my boat. And the V8 in my tow beast makes less hp and torque than the turbo 4 in my GTI, which makes it completely pointless. Sucks an amazing amount of fuel for so little power, too.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Nostalgia.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            V8s aren’t magical, they’re not perfect, I’m not sure where you’re hearing that. Some V8s are better than others, but there’s nothing better, all things considered.

            And if what you say is true, I’d like to see how long the GTI engine would last, towing your boat, in place of the V8. Stay clear of shrapnel. You simply don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I say to each his own because I can foresee no circumstances where I would voluntarily give up my two Toyota 5.7L V8s.

            Then again, at my age, I most likely won’t be buying another vehicle again.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You will when you give me your truck.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Pick a Malaise-era carbureted 350 and a modern 2.0T from any maker, and I’ll bet the modern engine will last longer and run much better later in its life.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “Nothing like a 300-400HP V8 loafing along at 70-80 on the open highway at under 2,000 rpm.”

      That V8 is making all of 50-60 hp under those conditions.

  • avatar
    Syke

    It’s funny. Of all the vehicles I’ve owned in my lifetime, the most fun I’ve had was in a:

    1969 BSA Royal Star (A50R)

    To those with even a passing familiarity with vintage motorcycles, this was a classic British vertical twin, looking identical to the A650 Lightnings and Thunderbolts. The big difference was where the 650’s put out 44-48hp (normal for a sub-Harley street bike in the 60’s), the Royal Star performed to the tune of . . . . . . 22hp.

    This bike was the living proof of the old motorcycle maxim, “It’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast, then to ride a fast bike slow.” Impeccable (even to this day) handling, the lack of horsepower allowed me to be running the bike wide open virtually all the time and push the bike like mad without fearing that I’m going to get in over my head.

    Second best ride? 1969 Triumph Bonneville café racer. 650cc, 44hp, and I’d spend Friday evenings shutting down squids with their four cylinder 600 and 750cc race reps (aka, “crotch rockets”). Of course, I’d cheat. I’d pick the road, and it never had a straight stretch longer than 1/8th of a mile. And for its light weight (less than 400 lbs), that Triumph engine put out enough torque that I was shifting half as much as the kid on the Jap bike.

    Horsepower is overrated.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The music from the Demon is quite manly, and this is a pretty compelling 4-minute video about it:

    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vD6A6NxySQ”

    The most powerful, quickest car I’ve ever owned is the 250 HP minivan I drive daily. I’ve only owned one V8 in my life – an anemic 135 HP Ford 302 from 1982. I’ve never even owned a turbo.

    If I ever get the Model 3, it will likely be the quickest car I’ve owned, but it’ll be in V6 Camry/Accord territory – quick, but not exotic.

    Back to the Demon: I’d like to befriend someone who buys one, so I can get a free ride without spending 6 figures on it.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Somewhere, deep deep in a garage of one of the five boroughs; a Fiat 500 is losing it’s backseat. BTSR is grinning madly as the Tigershark is removed from the little Fiat. He becomes absolutely beside himself as his body men start removing or widening the engine compartment as needed. His nostrils flare and his eyes glaze over as a Demon engine arrives; straight from/imported from Detroit. Over the next several weeks, some very competent and capable engine/drivetrain/electronics personnel enter and leave the garage. All of them with evil smiles. Then one warm summer day, BTSR gets the phone call. Dyno tested, out of paint, test drive and ready to go! Sliding the convertible top back; BTSR keeps chanting HELLCAT! as littel Fiat goes down the road. Oh c’mon, someone’s gonna try it.

  • avatar
    5280thinair

    While the amount of horsepower available in vehicles continues to go up, the amount of power most drivers will actually make use of seems pretty stagnant. If your vehicle will go 0-60mph in 8 seconds or less, and you actually make use of the capability, then you’re probably already beating 90% of the other drivers in real-world situations (getting away first from freeway metering lights, taking advantage of holes that appear in traffic, etc.). More is always nice, but doesn’t translate into much actual usable capability on the road.

    On the racetrack is a different matter (I’ve heard the late Mark Donahue quoted as saying “I’ll have too much power when I can leave black streaks all the way from the exit of one corner to the entrance of the next”) but of course very few street-legal cars ever see track use.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    I care about power.

    It’s not about “usefulness”, else we’d all be driving used Honda Insights.

    It’s because power is frackking cool. Give me 808 horsepower in a minivan,even if I spend it all in traffic. Give me 1000 HP in an Accord if possible,because it’s frakking cool.

    So say we all.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    I care about “enough power to get out of its own way”, ideally “enough power to get going pretty good”.

    I don’t care about the Hellcat/Demon/etc. level of power.

    (Nothin’ against it, just don’t personally care.)

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I am more interested in keeping oil dipsticks for motor and transmission oil than increasing horsepower. I don’t need a service reminder to stop working at 140k miles. I realize that this is the trend in vehicles but I do not want to be forced to get rid of a vehicle because a reminder device is no longer working or that I cannot get tires for a vehicle because only larger rim tires with skinny sidewalls are the only tire sizes available. Maybe this is a losing battle for the consumer and the manufacturers adding more horsepower can entice buyers to buy a newer vehicle at a not too great of a cost to the manufacturers. Eventually the insurance companies will raise rates to where the higher horsepower vehicles will be too expensive for most consumers to insure. In the 70’s it was not just the EPA that put an end to the muscle cars but it was the insurance companies as well.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    No.
    I care about feel and the exhilaration that comes from driving something that feels good.

    Right now, my C5 Z06 with a factory rated 405hp is just a joy… “only” 405hp” but the package just delivers

    • 0 avatar
      hgrunt

      When I had a C5Z, I’ve totally had people become visibly disinterested in talking once they discovered the car had “only 405” horsepower.

      My friends and I joked about that’s why Chevy had to put it on the badge.

      • 0 avatar
        427Cobra

        Amen, guys… I sold my A/C Cobra (replica) about 18 months ago. It had an all-aluminum 427 stroker putting out 612 hp/615 torque… in a 2300 lb car. It handled quite well (suspension was all BMW E36), but it was a VERY limited-use vehicle. No top, no way to secure it… a best of 12 mpg on a steady-state cruise… It began to sit more and more… so I sold it. As per usual, I got the itch for another toy within a year. Now, I could have gone C6 or even C7, but decided on a C5Z. Found an ’04 in Torch Red with 8600 miles on it. The styling of the FRC is unique, it’s extremely capable… comfortable… reliable… and just an absolute blast to drive. I’d even say it’s economical, getting near 30 mpg on the freeway. The “bang for the buck” comments are bang-on!

  • avatar
    Maymar

    My two vehicles combined (late model subcompact and tiny 80’s motorcycle) have 116hp and less than 1.8L of displacement. I’d like a little more power (in my car at least, and more importantly, a better power band), but the idea of being able to use even a fraction of the Demon’s 808 is nearly impossible. I think anything much past Mustang GT would just be a case of diminishing returns.

    That said, I love FCA’s willingness to be ridiculous, and wish they could waste development dollars on a mid-engine V6 500 Abarth or something. Hemi-powered 124 Spider? 200 Rally Fighter with the suspension and 4WD from a Cherokee Trailhawk?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    How about a Jeep pickup based on the Wrangler?

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    It’s about the experience for me, which makes horsepower just one factor among many.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    “Anybody can throw a few hundred extra horsepower at a decade-old muscle coupe.”

    Can anyone remind us again why keeping around a well proven platform for a large consumer base is somehow bad?

    By now the platform has all of it bugs worked out, parts support is great since there are so many of them on the road, the interior has been improved vastly since its debut, the infotainment center is one of the better ones out, heck it’s not that heavy compared to say Camaros.

  • avatar
    cornellier

    HP is only relevant to top speed. The top speed of even the most basic car is well in excess of public road speed limits.

    What matters while driving is torque, not HP. Hence the diesel. Hence the standard shift. Brown paint optional.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      No, that’s not how torque and horsepower work. People say it a lot, though.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        people say a lot of stuff they don’t understand. usually something they heard on Top Gear. “People buy horsepower but drive torque!”

        an engine’s horsepower tells you how much work you can get it to do. its peak torque and torque curve tell you how you’ll need to gear it to get it to do that work. theoretically a 400 hp LS V8 could do the same work in a heavy truck as a 400 hp Cummins ISX12, but would need an incredible ratio spread in the transmission to do so.

        • 0 avatar
          MrIcky

          Theres more to hp and torque than that. The peak torque is where you’ll most efficiently accelerate that heavy trailer. When you compare drag cars, high torque will favor ets and high hp will favor trap speed. In HD trucks the most efficient place to be is at the lowest rpm possible to give you enough torque to maintain the required speed. This is why hp doesn’t matter much in an HD truck.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    You know what’s more exciting than horsepower? Sales figures. Nothing gets me more revved up.

  • avatar
    slap

    Eventually, all cars will be self driving, and once the critical mass of cars are self driving capable, it will be illegal to drive a car in a “human driver” mode on most roads. A cars power will become irrelevent at that point – cars will obey all speed limits, and merging into traffic will be orderly and not require high acceleration due to car-to-car communication.

    Enjoy it now while we can.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    At around 200 horsepower currently, I could go for 100 more…

    But I don’t see how I’d get to use more than 400hp, even with my highway-based commute.

  • avatar
    pb35

    Of the 3 cars that I’ve owned over the past 2 years, I’ve found that:

    400hp = good
    500hp = too much

    Depending on whether or not you have cylinder deactivation, your mileage may vary.

  • avatar
    raph

    It all depends – outrageous horsepower just for bragging rights doesn’t impress me much but in the case of the Demon its a car on a mission so that’s fine. Dodge just went with the most expedient and affordable approach with the most appeal to the people who would put down cash on this car. ( I don’t think a 1 liter diesel hybrid electric with a motor at each wheel wrapped in a carbon fiber shell would appeal to most Challenger fans looking for the quickest production car to date )

    The silliness comes in when people consider this the new bar and consider anything with less horsepower inferior ( generally the type that bench races exclusively ). As soon as,the horsepower and performanve numbers hit the interwebz started to flood with the ( I’m actually hearing the badge will be retired ) new GT500 with twin turbo 64 valve blah blitty blah 20 cylinder rotary V9 will make 9000 horsepower and outrun the Demon and/or the flathead LT powered Z/28 will do the same.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    My preference list:

    Construction:

    1. Cast iron or CGI block
    2. V8 or I6 layout
    3. Sleeved instead of parent bore
    4. Turbocharged

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    My only criterion for power now is “is it fast enough to not be annoying in traffic”. I’ve found that something in the mid to low 14 second quarter mile range is my threshold. Bonus if it sounds good and has consistently linear response (i.e. NA V6 or V8). Stuff like gas mileage and maintenance matter too though so it’s a balance.

    The Demon is a pure willy waving exercise…. the kind of stuff someone who has never grown out of early adolescence would dream up. It’s ridiculous. I’d rather FCA updated the ancient LX platform.

  • avatar

    I autocross – so, no.

  • avatar
    Ned Funnell

    I have 110HP in my 3000lb Prius. That’s 27lb per HP. Fortunately, I have 295 ft-lb at 0 RPM, but the main point is that I get 48mpg and can put the savings into my motorcycle project, which is where I have my fun.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The actual number itself doesn’t really matter, nor does power to weight, aerodynamics, etc, it’s about how they work together. From an armchair perspective it’s a lot of work to quantify and a heck of a lot easier to experience by driving. Everything is just relative to the drive.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    I thought I was on an enthusiast site, why does everyone seem to think there is only one valid approach to enjoying a car?

    I had a V8 and loved the sound and the easy passing power, but as it aged I decided that for my next car I would switched to something not as powerful that lets me use more of the rev range without fearing for my license. Squeezing out a couple more MPG would be a nice bonus.

    Now I am in an I6 and do enjoy using more of the rev range and it sounds fantastic in its own way, but now I miss the V8 growl and torque, especially using the car as a highway cruiser. In addition, highway mileage doesn’t improve on the V8 by all that much. Maybe two MPG.

    Grass is always greener I guess. I might have to solve this by owning both.

    Most turbo fours lose all the character of V8s and I6s, but the potential efficiency gains are significant. Most turbo fours are soulless, but not all. I think the 500 Abarth is hilarious and wouldn’t mind one of those in the driveway someday.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    And yes, I do care about horsepower. I’ll echo previous comments about wanting enough to take care of the passive aggressive left-lane campers. That pass needs to be quick – I want it to be too late for them to do anything before they decide to try to stop me. Ending things quickly keeps the top speed required for the pass down.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Wow, so many sour grapes in this thread! Any self-described car enthusiast who claims that they prefer a Miata or four cylinder econobox over the new Dodge Demon is lying or rationalizing why they can’t/don’t want to spend the money for the car. The new Demon is an incredible engineering accomplishment and it will bring a lot of attention to Chrysler’s performance program. End of discussion.

    To answer the original question, yes, of course horsepower matters. Horsepower is a umerical measure of work divided by time. Given an equal amount of horsepower, a heavier car will not accelerate as a lighter car. Interestingly, vehicle weight has a negligible impact on top speed. The power required to raise a car’s top speed increases with the square of the velocity and the vehicles frontal area. So – power matters depending on how quickly you want to accelerate and how fast you want to drive.

    Engine size matters, too. Given equal horsepower, a larger engine will be more reliable because it can better tolerate the thermal stress of a given power output. Cast iron has fatigue strength, a point below which the metal will not fail despite any number of thermal cycles.

    Block material matters also makes a difference. Well cared for cast iron blocks will last forever. Ask Irv Gordon, who has three million miles on his original cast iron Volvo with only three rebuilds! Ask any Ford Flathead V8 owner, anyone who has a 426 Hemi or 472 Cadillac. Properly designed cast iron engines last forever. Aluminum engines won’t, because aluminum has no fatigue limit. Eventually all aluminum blocks fail because they can’t take an endless number of thermal cycles. You’ll never see a three million mile aluminum engine. The reason most engines are crap is because auto makers are under severe regulatory burdens. They can’t build an affordable car that satisfies the arbitrary environmental regulators’ mandates.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      I’m glad you’re finally here to tell us what we actually think. I realize now that I was just delusional with my automotive preferences all these years. Driving around corners on tracks and the streets only seemed enjoyable because it was cheaper than buying a drag racer and accelerating in a straight line whenever the pavement is warm and dry.

      Thanks for your brilliant insight.

      • 0 avatar
        Maxb49

        Not here to tell you what *you* think. A lot original article’s points and the comments below seem incredulous.

        Look at the original article. The author writes:

        “But outrageous horsepower numbers are almost becoming boring. They’re so common. So ordinary. So…”

        Nothing personal against the author, but this statement is factually incorrect. Outrageous horsepower numbers are not common. How many 800 horsepower turnkey street cars [i]even exist[/i]. None, until this car. Heck, it’s getting harder to find “run of the mill” Mustang GTs on lots, an those have “only” 400+ horsepower. By definition, any car with outrageous horsepower figures cannot be common. The quoted passage from the article is self-contradictory.

        There is nothing ordinary about an 800 horsepower car, and certainly nothing boring. These cars aren’t for everyone – that’s why they’re going to be produced in limited quantities. Average people might not car. But I doubt any real car enthusiast would really have these feelings about such an exciting, well executed vehicle. Sorry.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          maxb49: How many 800 horsepower turnkey street cars [i]even exist[/i]. None, until this car.

          The P100DL is only 40 hp less (only an issue if you’re into spec sheet racing) and is even more of a turnkey car than a Demon. It’s not even really in limited quantity. Just go on-line, order, and it will show up a little over a month after you order it without added dealer markup. Even with 5 seats intact, some numbers have it faster 0 to 60 than a Demon – and it can do it quietly enough that it won’t attract the attention of the cops. The end result is far more opportunities to enjoy your toy.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          I think 400hp is in “outrageous” territory. The original Testarossa had a bit less, and thirty years on it is still an outrageous car.

          Note that I don’t use the word “outrageous” to impugn other drivers’ choices. If you drive past me in a Testarossa, a Demon, a 400hp Mustang, or much any hot car with outrageous horsepower I’ll probably give you a smile and a thumbs up.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      Drake is the best singer ever. Anyone who doesn’t like Drake’s music is just jealous of Drake and a hater trying to rationalize their choice. I laugh at any music fan who talks about The Beatles, Gary Clark or Mozart. They just wanna be Drake.

  • avatar
    Lynn Ellsworth

    Ah, No. I am now interested in kilowatt hours and range.

    Instead of throwing away the name Plymouth why didn’t FCA prepare for the future and make a line of electric vehicles?

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    My dream car is a big bus size RV that I can park anywhere I want whenever I feel like, so I’m home wherever I go (work, vacation, extend my living space at the real home, etc).

    To power such a huge RV I’d need a lot of HP, probably at least 400hp if not 500hp. So yeah, that matters.

    Oh, you’re talking about my daily driver? I’d probably need about 250-300hp on my minivan, or 200 on my sedan.

    As long as the fuel economy is good, handling (steering and suspension) is good, transmission is good, paint job is good, and is comfortable, it’s good to me.

  • avatar
    manny_c44

    No for me it isn’t interesting.

    For fun I prefer driving on a country road, so even 13 lbs per horse is good enough. Some people gripe about the 4 cylinder Turbo becoming a standard bearer in all VAG cars (even Porsche) but it really is adequate for a small car like a GTI/Golf R on a tight country roadway. The 235 HP is just about enough for a GTI sized car, and the 292 HP in a Golf-R is already more than I could use.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Lunatic power does make things fun in and of themselves. While I personally get more driving excitement in LA and SF from a 3 cylinder Geo Metro than a 400hp A8, once you get into wheelie popping power, there is something else to be excited about. If I didn’t ride bikes for almost any other errand than picking up people at the airport, I would perhaps care more about sorta-kinda-fast German cars and the like. But compared to almost any bike they are 1) mechanically slow. And 2) More importantly, boat anchor slow in the kind of traffic that is a permanent fixture in almost all cities. Aside from 3am on Tuesday nights, even a bicycle is faster door to door, than a 550i is door to garage to parking lot to door for most trips in SF. And LA isn’t that different.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    I really don’t care about horsepower.

    Back when horsepower was the only fun thing about cars, I wasn’t a car guy — I was just a guy whose dad had taught him how to maintain a car who kinda enjoyed doing his own maintenance.

    The high horsepower game had always ultimately ends up as a check writing contest, and you don’t really win one of those if you pay more than the other guys. I can get higher G-forces out of my brakes than I can out of my engine, and I’m OK with that.

    Green cars, though, are fascinating! You have to be clever to be both affordable and efficient. You have to be even more clever to come up with something that works differently than The Way We’ve Always Done It and still can be part of everyday living.

    Aldo, the car industry is a grand industrial soap opera. As someone interested in business, this is fascinating to watch. Also, since it isn’t the industry where I work, I don’t have to sweat the outcome — so it’s fun to watch.

    But, yeah, one big fat meh to a gas guzzler that might be able to be competitive with the Model S on the drag strip. I haven’t been following it, because i don’t care. I don’t care about the Model S’s performance on the drag strip, either — that’s not what’s interesting about the car to me personally.

    • 0 avatar
      SuperCarEnthusiast

      Just as in the 1930s-40s; there will only be a number of players and the gasoline engine might be going away in 50 years time! But for now; it still way ahead in terms of advantages vs EV vehicles!

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    Hopefully, this is only the beginning with 840 hp! It just good enough to keep up with the traffic on the super highways now a days! Maybe the next model hit the 1,000 hp and then I will think about buy it! 0-60, in 1.5 seconds?

  • avatar
    ktm

    Do I care about horsepower? No, not anymore as I chased those ponies for a while and realized that there is someone who is always going to have more and be faster. I am quite happy with the paltry 360+ whp my modified LS1 has…..considering it is paired with a 1972 240z with 3.70 gears. There are very few things on the road that are lucky enough to see anything other than the tail lights.

    It’s also how you drive your cars. I drive my Mazda 5 like a bat out of hell; I do the same with my wife’s Prius (so does she!). Most people don’t utilize half of the power their cars have any way.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Horsepower my ass!

    I’ve been there and done that over 30 years ago.

    Torque and oodles of it at highway speeds and off idle is what I like.

    V8s are great for this, but diesel wins hands down. A diesel with V8 torque gives 4 cylinder economy.

    You can’t ask for better.

    I’ll leave those high powered V8 muscle cars for others.

  • avatar
    ccd3

    I’ve had 2 experiences which relate to this topic. First, I did a SW upgrade (Stage 1) to my Audi TT RS which supposedly raised the hp from 360 to around 400hp. What I noticed was less turbo lag more than anything else. My guess is that the SW spools up the turbos earlier (with less concern about gas mileage).

    The second experience was riding shot gun in a TT RS with a modified turbo package that is supposed to raise hp to something north of 500 hp and close to 500 lb/ft of torque. The extra grunt was noticeable, but subtle (at least on public roads). What was far more noticeable to me was the aftermarket suspension and haldex controller which made the car corner better and feel better balanced. After riding in that car, I’d be more prone to change the suspension and haldex controller than to add horsepower.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I would like a mid sized sedan under 4000# with 400-450hp. V8 or V6 is fine. Rear wheel drive. Not German. Under $35k, preferably under $30k. Oh, and drives like a 4 door Miata. I know, I know…

  • avatar
    ccd3

    Lighter cars would be more entertaining than big horsepower behemoths, but horsepower is cheaper than making a car lighter and easier to market as well. Lotus has been trying to carve out a niche for itself based on light weight with very mixed results so far.

  • avatar
    Troggie42

    So, this article is tailor-made to drive irritated clicks, right? Well played there, Tim. ;)

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    Scalpels, bowie knives and chainsaws can be fun depending on the context. I wouldn’t do heart surgery with a chainsaw, nor chop down a tree with a scalpel.

    I could afford a lot more car than my Focus base hatchback with 5 speed and essentially a Miata engine, but it’s a good feeling to rev it up and feel like I’m using all the car I paid for. And handling is a big thing for me, I can’t use 808 horsepower at 5 pm on the 405, but having a stable car that can let its hair down once in a while in the turns is fine for me.

    I’ve had a Subaru Legacy stage II, and that car was no fun unless you were going superlegal speeds. Ditto on the 2014 3.7 Mustang I rented and got my first speeding ticket in after 12 years of driving, it felt like a Maverick with a modern engine and radio.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    One of the most fun car I have driven was an MGB with 43 hp. I don’t need to go fast to have fun.

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