View Full Version : Where will the horsepower war end?

01-15-2005, 02:10 AM
Do you guys find the horsepower war a little ridiculous? Lets be realistic before we blurt out "Hell No!". Back when I went to highschool, a car with 200 horsepower was considered a LOT. Nowadays, family sedans get 230-280. Yes, North Americans are getting fatter and lazier each, but how much horsepower do we need to haul our butts up a hill? Each year, the outputs and engine displacement ratchets up. Fuel economy goes up slightly as technology increases, but imagine where we could be with the worldwide oil situation if horsepower stayed the same while technology greatly improved fuel economy rather than just maintain it (or marginally increased).<br>What I'm saying is, would you rather have the market flooded with 3.4-4.0L V6 and +5.0L V8s (as it is now), or have super rare,niche market, narrowly-focused cars like the Lotus Elise?<br>Do you miss the days when the handling dynamics were pure and simple, thanks to a lightweight chassis? Or do you prefer the big torque of V6 accelerating your big, heavy chassis out of a corner.<br>Should Honda (for instance) make a 300 hp Accord next year or trim 300lbs and keep the same 240hp?<br>

Top Secret
01-15-2005, 02:21 AM
Yes, to be honest, reducing weight, instead of increasing engine power is a more logical idea. Less weight means smaller fuel economy, less stress on the wheels, basically, all positives, while having increased engine power - sure, it's always good to just brag about how much HP this car has, and that's the publics perception; more power means a faster car and therefore you look cooler. That's what the people buy and the car companies are just happy to provide for the consumer.<p>And to the main question. Until someone just happens to lead everybody in the world to a universal revolt against high-powered cars, I think the horsepower war will never end - it will just continue to grow and grow.

01-15-2005, 04:04 AM
Similar thing happened in aviation in the States, efficient airframes lost out to more powerful engines. The addage was that you could make a barn door fly if you stuck a big enough engine on it.<br>Maybe because American gas prices have always been so low and the roads so straight, big blocks in heavy cars were the easiest way to progress.

Naga Royal Guard
01-15-2005, 08:57 AM
bigger engines and heavier cars are what the people need, ask them why and you will wish you never asked

01-15-2005, 09:57 AM
until the oil runs out...<br>then they'll scream; "Why didn't you warn us? Why did you let us demand gas-guzzling V8s in overweight cars?"

01-15-2005, 03:58 PM
This will all stop when soccer moms finally realize that the size of your car doesnt make you a better person. <p>You dont need a Lincoln Navigator to take two kids to soccer practice! <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.germancarfans.com/images/forums/bangin.gif" BORDER="0">

01-15-2005, 06:55 PM
personally, I want power...I mean, there are some exceptions, like as you put it, the elise, its a small car with low hp, but the fact that it doesnt weigh much gives it a lot of balls...small cars are fun and everything, like my friend has a custom porsche 914 which is a blast to drive, but i would like to have power in more than just small cars...I feel better in cars with more substance, that being said I also likethe feel of high displacement engines more than anything else, nothing feels better than hearing and feeling the roar of a big block as you step into the gas and the car launches forward and puched you back in your seat...I like power..and lets say for example I drive a large family sedan, I would like it to have a good amount of power also, just because I drive a large car does not mean it should skip on the performance...frankly I dont care about gas prices, and I am willing to pay them, and until all the gasoline runs out I will still want my big gas-guzzling V8...there is no replacement for displacement...while going lighter is another idea, there is only so light you can go until the car starts becoming unsafe...you could make cars lighter, but take for example a corvette...it weighs in the 3000 lb range...not exactly the lightest in the car worold, but what it lacks in lightness, it makes up for in overall performance...now take the same corvette and drop 1000 lbs from it...the performance skyrockets, yet if you were ever to get into an accident, there is no questioning that the car would most likely be totaled, and you would probably be dead...unless they happen to come up with a new type of material that is light as a feather but stronger than steel or aluminum or whatever...until that happens, I will feel much safer driving a 3000 lb corvette made of steel and aluminum, than a 1000 lb corvette made of barely anything...I dont know, I may be ignorant in saying that the lighter a car is, the more unsafe it is, but hey, if I was rear ended by an SUV, it better be in a car that has some substance...wo while weight reduction is great and everything, I think I will keep my big block...ofcourse if you are talking to a person who doesnt like to pay for gas then their comments may be different, but being that I dont mind paying gas prices, no matter how exhuberant they may be, I could care less how much my car weighs, just as long as it makes up for that extra weight in extra performance...

01-16-2005, 03:40 AM
So, because of SUVs, you don't want to have that much of a weight differential between cars and SUVs. If SUV weights came down or held steady (unlikely), then you'd probably accept a reduction in curb weight (without safety compromises). I understand. The spectre of a 6000lb SUV slamming ploughing into a Smart car is a big deterrent when weighing fuel economy against safety. I just think it'd be a step forward if manufacturers focused on advanced chassis design/materials instead of just giving people what they think they want (more power). If mass production of carbon fibre passenger compartments coupled with traditional steel unibody resulted in safe, lightweight cars, then we wouldn't need 250+ hp in family sedans. As fun as a big V8 may be, you're really missing out on the tossable nature of a lightweight sportscar. Besides, how much power do you think would satisfy you? 300? 400? 500hp? Is this a safe amount to be having teenagers learning how to drive on the family car?<br>A number of car companies (I think Audi, for one) have started taking the position that enough is enough and that they would not compete with BMW or Mercedes in the hp war. Toyota stated it even earlier, only to yield to customer criticism.

01-16-2005, 04:24 AM
Ah yes, the more weight is safer argument.<br>Consider this; if your car is lighter, it might handle better and you could avoid and evade crashes. Heavier cars take longer to stop. It's the law. Of physics.<br>Look at what the tiny Lotus Elise does with the little power it has at its disposal, on the Top Gear power lap it beat a Vanquish and was only .4s slower than a Ferrari 575 with more than 4x the horses. And yes, I know Lotus have since put a bigger engine into the car to produce the Exige, but Lotus, as an old F1 team know that weight is key. Colin Chapman lead the garagiste revolution in open seater racing in the late 50's and early 60's where heavy front engined cars were trashed on the track by light rear-engined ones. Lower top speed, but far better acceleration, cornering and braking.<BR><BR>
<i>Modified by pcread at 3:31 AM 1/16/2005</i>

01-16-2005, 06:43 PM
I too would rather avoid an accident in the first place. I've managed to survive 37,000kms and 4 years of riding a 370lb motorcycle. And my Yamaha R6 would've been pulverized if I went head on into a Smart car!<br>Of course, with motorcycles, we have insane amounts of hp/weight ratios, which is why there a many motorcycle fatalities (a lot due to recklessness).<br>There is a limit to how much the average joe like you and me can handle (even if we think otherwise).

Naga Royal Guard
01-16-2005, 06:49 PM
theres flying hard-shell insects with enough weight to make a motorcyclist lose control if they hit one

01-16-2005, 10:30 PM
I've been lucky. I hit a bird one time but I didn't notice. Got off the bike and saw feathers and blood ony my brake lever. I've managed to stop harder and accelerate harder than most cars which helped me avoid some accidents. Only once did I wish I was in a Hummer when some psycho in a black Dodge Dakota (if I recall correctly) that was hopped up on some kind of drugs decided to throw his weight around. I pulled over and called the cops ASAP.

01-17-2005, 12:16 AM
Everybody likes to feel the power when flatting the right foot. However for that you only need, let's say, around 250 to 300 hp. Like i said in another thread, there is no point in having 500hp instead of 400hp. Probably few would notice the difference. I wouldn't.