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Old 05-21-2013, 04:39 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
5,996 posts, read 16,610,111 times
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We've seen power figures climb steadily since the invention of the internal combustion engine and today you can walk into a dealer and buy a mass produced 420hp car for under $35k. Cars that fall under the appliance category are floating around the 300hp figure. When do the numbers stop climbing? I'm a car nut and I love big power as much as the next guy but I realize that there has to be a limit for a number of reasons. One is traction as many of today’s high horsepower builds are either running drag radials or specialized street tires that are border line legal. The other is what I can reasonably trust the lower common denominator to properly control on our streets and the third is simply physics. I'd like to leave exotics mostly out of this conversation (unless it involves trickle down tech) as they aren't generally expected to be reliable or cheap to service. Outside of some unforeseen technological breakthrough the only way for numbers to keep climbing at a significant pace (as opposed to slow gradual increases based on improving efficiency) is by increasing displacement or by increasing boost through forced induction. I can't reasonably see $30k sports cars packing V12's or W16's ten years from now. Factory tuned FI engines have been known to run close to 30psi but even then, there has to be a peak. Even if we do away with internal combustion engines and replace them with electric or whatever else comes next, is peak power at play?
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:41 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
5,996 posts, read 16,610,111 times
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I'd like to add that with a good number of cars costing less than $100k producing 600hp-850hp figures (Shelby GT500 Super Snake), how far can output in these cars reasonably climb?
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,343 posts, read 88,533,794 times
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There has to be a theorhetical limit on a perfectly efficient (100% energy conversion for a given displacement to horsepower). That would be the limit. Some mechanical engineer could probably provide the solution.
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:02 PM
 
3,743 posts, read 12,475,716 times
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I think the limit will simply be "enough" and automakers will start to chase other stats that are important to buyers. Increasingly its mpg, and hopefully soon, curb weight.

I'd rather have a 2,500 pound car with 300 hp than a 3,500 pound car with 400 hp, mpg being equal.
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:21 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
5,996 posts, read 16,610,111 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sayantsi View Post
I think the limit will simply be "enough" and automakers will start to chase other stats that are important to buyers. Increasingly its mpg, and hopefully soon, curb weight.

I'd rather have a 2,500 pound car with 300 hp than a 3,500 pound car with 400 hp, mpg being equal.
I think they will need to have another gentlemans agreement across global makes because one manufacturer sayings "enough" will get clobbered if a competing make is offering another 50 ponies at the same price/quality point. Horsepower still sells as evidenced by the number of people on these forums who are happy with 400hp+ in 4000lbs cars.

I much prefer the lighter route myself but I don't see sports sedans and sports coupes dropping much below 3500lbs. By sports coupe, I mean something the size of the Mustang and my Genesis as I don't particularly want a smaller car. The size of my Genesis is just fine, with the right amount of interior space but I'll be more than happy if they can drop weight below 3000lbs. I forgot the exact figure but I believe someone took a car like mine (an RSPEC) to a scale and it weighed in a tad below 3300lbs.
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
11,031 posts, read 25,940,785 times
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Mine back in the 1980's cars were not really fast but were alot lighter just Imagine an modern Turbocharged and intercooled direct injected 400+ HP I-4 Drivetrain put into a 1986 CRX type of car in terms of power to weight it would be a Rocket.
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:46 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
5,996 posts, read 16,610,111 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTOlover View Post
Mine back in the 1980's cars were not really fast but were alot lighter just Imagine an modern Turbocharged and intercooled direct injected 400+ HP I-4 Drivetrain put into a 1986 CRX type of car in terms of power to weight it would be a Rocket.
Yeah, the only issue today is that reducing weight tends to cost a great deal of money with the use of exotic materials. Manufacturers have offset this with power and technology, with heavy cars like the GTR still running miracle laps on curved tracks. I'd kill for a reasonably roomy coupe or sports sedan that tips in at anywhere below 3000lbs with 400hp on tap. It would be great fun to toss around and power through corners.
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Old 05-21-2013, 06:28 PM
 
Location: Prosper
6,256 posts, read 15,031,598 times
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There is a limit... it's called fuel efficiency standards. By 2016, (just around the corner!) the Corporate Average Fuel Economy is set at 35.5 mpg. By 2025, it's supposed to be up to 54.5 mpg.

For a manufacturer to remain in compliance with it, their entire lineup has to meet that average fuel rating. They won't be able to keep adding horsepower because the fuel economy will suffer, and if they want to meet the CAFE standards, something will have to give.
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:26 PM
 
Location: NY
9,131 posts, read 17,549,710 times
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I am not sure fuel economy alone will kill power. In this day and age, we are seeing a lot of impressive power with ever increasing fuel efficiency.

I own a Charger with nearly 300 HP V6, 2 tons in weight, and AWD which gets better MPG than the 110 HP, 2600 lb \ FWD 4 banger Ford Probe economy car I bought in 1997.

Direct injection, turbocharging, ever advancing computer technology and sensors which can more closely monitor engines and meter just enough fuel will continue to progress, as will batter and hybrid technogies.

Quickly raising CAFE will have an initial impact, but in the long run I do not think it will permanently derail performance.
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,145 posts, read 21,075,048 times
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It's not like every car on the road is roaring around with 300-500 HP; look around as you are stuck in traffic and you'll probably notice most people are in economy 4 bangers that are around 5-15 years old. High powered cars are still few and far between; they just aren't only for the elite anymore. Anyway, there's no sign of Nanny State intervention like back in the late 60's-early 70's and fuel economy is doing pretty good for so much power so fast cars will keep getting more powerful until it stops being profitable for them to do so.

I'm looking forward to my 2025 Dodge Challenger with 1500 HP and a 0-60 time of 2.3 seconds. It will make me feel OK with the fact that I never got a Bugatti Veyron.
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