How much is too much?

What is the horsepower limit?
With every new iteration of a car we see an increase in horsepower. This happens in everything from compact commuter cars to high performance street cars. The reason this is generally done is due to fact that the car has added more features and safety equipment increasing weight. Obviously this increase in power is to compensate but does it really?

There is a certain limit for everything and power has to be the same, today the average car is more powerful than one from 10 years ago, but does it drive any better as a result? Probably not. In fact I would be willing to bet the car from 10 years drives even better but for some reason people have in their minds that power makes everything better. I'm sure if you got in a civic from the 90s compared to a new 2012 model you would have more fun the 90s version. This almost feels like things have gone back in time.

Right now we're in an endless rut of increase power to match the increased weight. This however will only make fuel economy worse. Now you may be thinking that we have more efficient technologies allowing engines to produce more power. To a certain extent this is true but horsepower isn't free and if we're trying to get more efficient cars this isn't the answer.

The other problem is the chassis have to deal with all this extra power, with most cars today being front wheel drive there is always the issue of torque steer when too much power is added. This ruins the handling of the car, creates under steer and unsettles the car under cornering when power is added. Some manufactures add AWD to compensate.

Not only is horsepower used to counteract added weight in cars but you will also notice manufacturers putting in more power in there super cars and sports cars as a way to try and improve them. I think a better way would be to improve handling and drop weight.

So this is where you the reader come in. How much horsepower is too much? Do you still think cars need more power across the board or do you think we're good right now? Leave a comment below.


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