A while back, I hosted yet another debate asking you all what you thought the right amount of power was. With many participants and a diverse lineup of answers, I am here to tell you that I officially agree with none of you. But then again, I kind of do...
The horsepower side of things...
Many have said that there is no such thing as too much horsepower, and immediately there is a problem. Just because horsepower is considered cool and all, and is an easy tool for you to use while flexing on your friends, it isn't necessarily unlimited, is it?
The cars we have today have enough horsepower for what they need. One of the most prime of examples is the 2019 Maserati Quattroporte. A poor-man's Quattroporte with the base 3.0L V6 has a proper 424 HP. Please enlighten me when I ask: Since when was that too little? After all, it can still go to 60 in 5.0 seconds and it can propel itself to as near as makes no difference, 180 MPH. It can haul you and your 5 St. Bernards around when you need it to, and can go fast when you need it to. It's a win-win!
So why then do we have cars popping up all over the world with horsepower amounts that you just can't use? In my eyes, it's malarkey when a car has anywhere over 1,000 HP. Unless you are going for the top-speed title or 0-100 as fast as puppy jacked up on coffee, there is absolutely no reason for it.
Take the classic Mclaren F1 as an example. The Mclaren F1 used technology that, by today's standards, was basically from the rise of the Roman Republic. Until the Veyron appeared, the F1 was the fastest car in the world, topping out at 242 MPH. A staggering achievement, and it was all handled with a light 618 HP. You mean to tell me that in order for Buggati to reign supreme with their Beetle-looking W16 powered masterpiece, they needed well over 400 horsepower in order to do it? I don't think so...
So if you haven't already gotten my point, what I mean by all of this is that you only need a certain amount of power in order for you to succeed in whatever the hell it is you want to succeed. There is absolutely no need for access power that will never be used, or can't be used, because it is just a pointless waste of time.
Do what you need to, and be done with it! Are you listening, car companies of the world?
The torque side of things...
As some of you know, there are two types of power in this world, hence why I stated "Power" in the title, rather than "Horsepower." That's because, there is another horse running in this race. And that horse, that horse has some torque!
As important as horsepower is, it is actually torque that get's you up and moving. There are plenty of cars that have been made with more torque than horsepower, and I think that's OK.
Arguably one of the most pointless cars in history, meet the Mercedes SL Black. It has flares large enough to host a Victorian dinner party as well as massive V12. It isn't the fastest car in the world, or most comfortable, or fastest accelerating. But once you put another set of tires back on the rear axle, as fast as you put them on, they have disintegrated themselves once again.
This all happens thanks to a thing we call torque. It is what propels you fast enough that you swallow your tongue, and it is the culprit for all those shredded tires. But don't hate on torque because your monthly tire bill is increasing, hate on torque because it is amazing!
As amazing as it may be, though, there is such a thing as too much. Once your car is undriveable, that is when you know there may be a bit too much punch locked and loaded under the hood. We haven't gotten there yet, but then again, we have passed the wheelie stage so...
But besides all that, the SL I listed above does have what some might call "A bit too much." With an already staggering 670 HP, Mercedes added a whopping 1,000 Nm of torque to that bulbous engine! A krazee amount for a car you can't really do anything with. It may be fun, but...
And then, we of course have electric cars as well. Electric cars are born with the acceleration advantage over any gasoline-powered dinosaur you see. Even so, the new Tesla Roadster can apparently accelerate to 60 in 1.9 seconds. And acceleration, similar to top speed, is a pointless measurement of a cars capabilities because only once in a blue moon will you be pushing your car to it's full capabilities.
So torque then, similar to horsepower, is not unlimited. If I had to put a good number on it all, I would have to say that a solid 600 HP is enough and torque ranges vary depending on purpose. A diesel truck has almost twice the amount of toque as it does horsepower. As does a bus. As does a tractor. As does anything that I actually used with a purpose. But for cars, again, 500 ft.lbs is probably enough.
But wait, there's more!
This last quick bit of information is on the matter of power-to-weight ratios. There is a reason I saved this for now rather than before because it is one of the most important parts of underlining this almost impossible to answer question.
You see, since both horsepower and torque are the most important parts of a cars being nowadays, both of them are based off of this simple little formula. What defines is a cars amount of power per kilogram of weight. For example, of a car, like the Koenigsegg One:1 weighs 1360kg, then it needs a fitting amount of power to get it moving. However, 1360 kilograms isn't all that heavy, so why does this specific car have 1341 HP?
That's because Koengigsegg, as pointless as it may be, decided to be the first to over crack a power-to-weight ratio of 1:1, hence the name of the car. To put this into perspective, a Demon has a ratio of 19.8:1. And the Demon gets going pretty well you ask me.
Finally... the END!
So basically what we've established here is absolutely nothing. However, I believe that a car needs only the amount of horsepower and torque for its capabilities. A hot-hatch needs low HP and torque because it is a very light car, hence where the power-to-weight ratio comes in. Also, once a car becomes too powerful that man itself can't handle it, then it is definitely overpowered. But all cars have guidelines, and each of those guidelines should be met accordingly, and not over compensated. If I had to put exact numbers, I would probably say that 600HP is enough, and 500ft.lbs is also quite enough.