When is too much power, too much?

An article showing my opinions on cars getting too powerful.

3y ago

As cars continue to become more advanced, both in technology and dynamically, it also adds the thing that car guys across the world can't seem to live with out. Horsepower. Because without it we couldn't build speed, then without speed we can't go fast, then if we can't go fast then what's the point of having a car then? Now I say go faster, but it depends on how you look at it. For instance, the Porsche 911 GT2RS went around the Nurburgring in 6:43.7 (if I remember correctly). A Dodge Demon can't even dream of going that fast. Just like how a GT2RS can't dream of doing a claimed 9.65 quarter mile. Both of those examples show that going fast can be more than going in a straight line. Keeping the Demon specifically in mind, I'm going to give my thoughts and opinions on when the car industry has gone past the point of the unknown and where power becomes too much to enjoy.

Beginning with the former, cars are starting to really start to gain power. For instance: a 2005 BMW M5 had a 5.0L V10 making 500 hp and 380 pound feet of torque. Very good for a family sedan. It had a top speed of 200 mph (delimited) and did 0-60 in 4.2 seconds. Like I said, very good for a family sedan. Especially one that weighs over 2 tons. Fast forward 11 years to the BMW M4 GTS: A track slaughtering, no compromising, unforgiving super coupe from the Bavaria's craziest engineers (ok that might be exaggerated but you see the point that it's a bit insane). It makes 493 HP from it's twin turbo straight six. Let that sink in for a second. A 5.0L, 8000+ rpm, free-breathing V10 is just as powerful as a 3.0L, 7500 rpm, twin turbo, water injected straight six. Although it is faster (BMW is quoting a 3.7 second 0-60), it needs all that engineering for the water injection system, and new engine componenets through out to produce it's power. Although the E60 went through plently of engineering to produce it's power, the M4 now is so much more complicated, compared to the M5. Ok, back on track. What I'm trying to say is that in 11-12 years, we went from an M5 that was the most powerful 5 series at the time to a 4 series that needs water to make more power...Not only is it limited to the GTS, the standard F80/F82/83 M4 seems to have a power issue as well. Motor Trend says "This is finally an M3 that isn't completley and totally overwhelmed by it's own power." (Head2Head episode 85.)

Now I may have gone a bit off topic there, but this is the part I really wanted to write about, I just threw a little bit in there before the meat and potatoes. Think of it as an appetizer. Anyways, on to the topic at hand which is "Where cars have so much power they can't be enjoyed." Let's go back to that Demon I was talking about earlier. Yes, Dodge's (no pun intended) demonic drag missile from hell. It makes between 808-840 HP (depending on what fuel you use) and 717-770 LB-FT which isn't only 101-133 more HP than the overpowered Hellcat, but it also makes 67-120 more LB-FT. While that is fine and dandy, on the road those drag slicks won't be very much use when putting down that power. Dodge even says that frequent driving use will wear down the tires faster than you can say "How much do those radials cost." (A lot I assume.) On the road, 800+ hp is worthless. The maximum amount anyone would need, even in an emergency situation, is at least 450. That's probably more than enough, but there's just no need for 840 HP on the road. There's just no point. On the drag strip however, that's a different story for another article. Here's another example of cars that have more power than they probably need: The Mercedes E63 AMG S. Think about it right, it has a 4.0L Twin turbo V8 and that's mighty fine however, it makes over 600 HP (603 to be exact). To put it into context, a 2007 Mercedes E63 AMG (Which had a 6.2L free breathing V8) made 507 HP, up from 469 in the previous 5.4L supercharged unit. It also made 465 LB-FT, down from 516 LB-FT in the previous motor. Now, in 2017, a 2018 Mercedes E63 AMG S makes 603 HP (up by 96 HP) and 627 LB-FT of torque (up by 162 LB-FT from the 2007 model). A family sedan makes more power than two base Porsche 718 Coxsters put together! That's crazy for a family sedan. Let me repeat that, a FAMILY FUCKING SEDAN! That's just not very practical. In fact, I'm willing to bet that whoever actually goes and buys a new E63 doesn't even have a family. I'm not saying they don't but it isn't very likely, but what do I know lol. But 600+ hp in a sedan just isn't practical for day to day living. But neither is 707 (*enter Charger Hellcat). Not only is it making 700+ HP, it's sending it through tires that can't handle it. On paper, 275mm tires sound pretty hefty for any car, but for 4500 pounds? Not even close. Even with the sticky Pirelli P Zero tires, it still squirms like a fish that has just been caught. For my personal preferences, I think a family sedan should have no more than 500 HP. That way it can still be considered fast, but not be overwhelming. Here's something else to consider as well. Take a McLaren 720S for instance, it makes 720 PS (710 HP on our shores) and a lot of torque (568 LB-FT if my sources are correct). While that is all fine and dandy, on a backroad, or even where it'll spend most of it's life, a city, 710 HP ain't going to do you much good. Partly because city streets are so narrow and short that if you floor it, you have to be constantly looking out for various obstacles. Now I'm not saying that applies to every person who has a supercar living near a modertely large city, but in a place like NYC, 710 HP isn't worth anything as you can't do anything.

To keep you from spending the rest of your life reading this, I'm going to end it here, if you guys want me to I'll make another part. Those were just some of my thoughts on cars getting too much power and yes I know it bounced all over the place, but to summarize: Cars are getting powerful to the point to where it's not even practical to use in the real world. Perhaps instead of increasing power (for instance: The new Civic Type R makes 300+ hp, compared to it's original EK9 ancestor's 197), perhaps they should look at how cars performed before they started shoving power down their throats and maybe, just maybe cars can go back to where they don't need a lot of power to make their owner happy.

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Comments (1)

  • I agree on this,we have Tesla as example along the model X P90D,why I need a 770hp minivan if I will only use it for groceries and taking my kids back/forth from school?

      3 years ago