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how much power is enough?

Discussion in 'General Automotive Discussion' started by ross, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. ross

    ross Three Time F1 World Champ
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    this may have been discussed before, but i got into this conversation a couple days ago with some big car guys, so i thought it might be a good topic here.

    my own view is that at a certain point, you can no longer put the power to the road. and at a further point, you cannot operate the without computerization.

    and in an attempt to set some ground rules, i suggested that the discussion only made sense if you were talking about power to weight ratios.

    so for example, my own f40 has somewhere between 550-600 bhp (bigger turbos), and weighs about 2900 pounds with all the fluids topped up. so the power to weight is approximately 1:5
    it has no driver aids. poodling around it is easy to drive. driving it aggressively requires a bit more attention since the torque and bhp comes on rather quickly when boost builds up. i think it has enough power, but i realize this is a subjective opinion. some might rather have LM versions with higher bhp, and lower weight, maybe 750bhp and 2500 pounds for a ratio closer to 1:3 which is probably more than enough for all but the very experienced or professional drivers.

    which leads us to more modern cars where we have a horsepower war going on.
    i would posit that none of them can really function with a ratio lower than 1:5 without computers, and that even with computers, none of them even really need to be less than 1:4.

    all this is subjective, and i dont have the same opinions as others.

    thoughts?
     
  2. Jo Sta7

    Jo Sta7 F1 Rookie
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    In my opinion it comes down to three things. Power, weight and traction. Some cars you drive and they feel like they have too much power. f12 comes to mind. It’s because of where the weight sits and lack of traction. Some cars have such good traction like an NSX or Porsche Turbo there’s always this itch to think, “let’s see it feels like with 100 more hp”. In general, for the road, probably 300 hp per ton is the the sweet spot, but again, depends on those 3 factors.
     
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  3. absent

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    At some point it becomes simply academic proposition, can't take advantage of that performance anywhere, (at least without going to jail), in reality all that power is for bragging rights to your friends.
    I have realized this only recently and henceforth decided not to buy new Ferraris anymore, my interest from now on is only in older cars, more analog, manual transmission and no computers bailing me out in case I was an idiot.
     
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  4. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 World Champ

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    Power, weight, weight distribution, and driver aids as mentioned above all play a part. I will add suspension setup (firm) and lack or minimal comfort features including sound deadening and soft seats make a difference to me.

    Going 90+ mph in a 7 series BMW feels like nothing on a highway vs 45 mph in a 1930s Ford 2 door roadster. The more connected you feel to the road the less power you need. It's the reason why electric cars brag about 0-60 so much. They have no other way to recreate a visceral experience than teenage stoplight racing.
     
  5. ross

    ross Three Time F1 World Champ
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    the traction control in an F12 is actually there to feed less power to the wheels than your right foot thinks its doing, just so that you dont break traction.
    the reason why some cars feel planted and others dont is a question of suspension settings, but also the power to weight ratio that doesnt overwhelm the chassis.
    i tend to agree that around 600 bhp per metric ton, is about the limit.
     
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  6. anunakki

    anunakki Five Time F1 World Champ
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    My 2001 Viper had more than enough power. I didnt need that much, never mind more.
     
  7. cayenne_ksa

    cayenne_ksa Karting

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    in simple words all new sport cars has more power than anyone needs. They are super FAST.

    For me i don't look into HP anymore. Moreover Electric or hybrid cars are not interesting.

    400-500HP is more than enough to make me happy. Fun behind the wheel, car engagement matters more. I enjoy driving my light weight Porsche 964 c2 manual more than anything else. Also my M3 e92 is super fun.

    What makes car feel slow ?

    1) if you are into straight races and you compare your car to others. Or just want that hard pull from 700+ HP cars

    2) the car has a lot of traction like 911 turbo

    3) the car is so comfy like RR or 7 series.

    for me taking car on twisted roads or track is my biggest factor
     
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  8. Jo Sta7

    Jo Sta7 F1 Rookie
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    I love a car with good torque and good traction. That feeling of having your neck snap back from flooring the throttle followed by your stomach turning over is intoxicating. The NSX has the best launch control I’ve experienced consistently. Eventually I’ll get around to downpipes and a tune so the acceleration doesn’t taper off after 100.
     
  9. LightGuy

    LightGuy Three Time F1 World Champ
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    #9 LightGuy, Oct 28, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
    The new NSX is indeed intoxicating.
    It gets lots of "expert" bashes about the weight and steering input.
    These guys must read each others columns and dog pile to look informed.
    Nothing wrong with steering or weight on the new NSX.

    Same thing with the reviews of the Alfa 4C.
    Steering is said to be confusing by the "experts".
    Every one I have driven is visceral, direct and involving and I used to drive formula cars.
    Nothing steers even close to a formula car.

    So I have fallen in love with the 4C recently even more so than the theoretical pedestal I've put it on in years past without even driving it..
    237 HP with a bit more torque. Nothing right ?
    The NA rip muffled by a turbo. So more concessions to the point of mediocrity ?

    Nope... this car is automotive bliss.

    But the public is mesmerized by HP numbers and 0-60 times.
    Let them sleep.
     
  10. David_S

    David_S F1 Veteran
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    I'd happily settle for 250 hp, so long as it has a broad flat torque band, and is in a small package that weighs 2000 lbs or less, and sticks to the road like glue.

    Something along the lines of a Porsche 550 Spyder on steroids would be ideal. ;)
     
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  11. Ak Jim

    Ak Jim F1 Rookie
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    In my opinion 1HP per 10lbs of weight is good. More can be better but 1/10 ratio is a great starting point.
     
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  12. David_S

    David_S F1 Veteran
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    I'd largely agree with you, but? You just GOTTA keep that overall weight down. You can stop & toss around 1500 lbs with 150 HP much better than you can 3500 lbs with 400+ HP. :)
     
  13. Samuel Misrasi

    Samuel Misrasi Karting

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    I’ve owned a 1000rwh ‘07 Shelby Mustang, and more recently a ‘12 Shelby Mustang that made 780 at the wheels. I wouldn’t describe them as having usable power on the street, but it’s certainly the most fun you can have with your pants on. Both cars had drag radials, and did a pretty good job of planting the power in most of the gears, with a little throttle control. When the grip was there, the acceleration was insane. It really was exhilarating.

    Currently, my lightly modded 599 makes somewhere between 650-675hp at the crank, and most days I’m left wanting more. It’s smooth, controllable, and predictable. It doesn’t have that brute torque, and can’t do an 80mph rolling burnout on command, like my previous cars could. It does what it’s supposed to do, which honestly isn’t as “exciting” as what I’m used to. So I can’t really say how much hp is too much, as I’m always chasing more.
     
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  14. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

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    I like this 1/10 ratio proposal.

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    About 2,000 kilos and 453 hp, so just about 1/10. And. Handsome as heck!

    To be honest, I can't imagine much more than 500 hp for the way I enjoy my Ferrari. Maybe if I tracked it more. I think that's why I have less interest in the newer V8s and V12 other than the Porto and new Porto coupe, and spending more time checking out the older F-cars...T
     
  15. spicedriver

    spicedriver Formula 3

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    After driving race cars, street vehicles all feel slow. With the exception being the big sport bikes. Those things can really accelerate.

     
  16. INTMD8

    INTMD8 F1 Veteran
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    I've had similar and highway speed burnouts are fun but where I live that meant meeting up with a group of guys an hour away at 2am with a spotter.

    Otherwise, it seems not so usable most times. People find it off putting when a car passes them in a blaze of tire smoke it seems.

    I went from a 1000+hp twin turbo Corvette to an F355. Did a bit of weight reduction so it's 2987lbs and 340rwhp. Might go for slightly more weight reduction and horsepower but for usability on the street it's approaching perfect for me.
     
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  17. 3POINT8

    3POINT8 Formula 3

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    I've heard track instructors say 99% of the public cannot handle more than 300hp in a car. I've seen miata's pass 488s at the track. hp is easy to get. just buy it. driver skill takes time and effort. my point - learn to drive and increase your hp when (and if) you outgrow your car.
     
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  18. ross

    ross Three Time F1 World Champ
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    chris harris was recently recorded saying that even he cannot use the power in the new cars. even on track.
    it has become some kind of pointless rabbit hole now
     
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  19. freshmeat

    freshmeat F1 Veteran

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    Subjective topic. I personally think it boils down to every individual; each person has his/her own limits and goals.

    Some get gratification from knowing they've managed to tap into every ounce of performance from the machine, some like the ease of use and accessibility to performance however much that may be or how it may be delivered (nannies no nannies etc), and then there are others who simply get gratification from knowing they pilot the latest, greatest, most powerful machinery on the planet.

    People can do silly things even in Prius'. People can also do equally silly things in LaFerraris. Too much power just boils down to the driver and his/her driving competence.

    I personally don't understand where this HP war is taking us or what meaningful drivers outcome it's going to shape...to this day, I still fondly reminisce of the exhilaration I had in a Miata spec car, racing other miatas on the circuit...under 200hp of balls to the walls driving, still one of the best fun I've had...all balls, leave the wallet at home.
     
  20. buddyg

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    I daily drive a Dodge Challenger Demon, on 93 octane it makes 808 hp (840 hp on 100 octane) and comes from the factory with drag radials. It will spin on the street from a dead stop but once’s it’s moving it puts the power down very well. Nothing like being on the highway and seeing an opening from a left lane loser and slamming the throttle. It feels like a time warp and the pass is made. I love the car and the power!
     
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  21. INTMD8

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    I remember Clarkson reviewing the F12 had the same sentiment.

    Personally I do not like the synthetic feeling of traction control reeling it in and keeping it on the edge of traction.

    ^I had a Charger hellcat for a few months, found it fun at first then frustrating. It was my daily car so didn't want drag radials and it was otherwise useless on summer performance tires. Would still do highway speed burnouts.

    Much happier now with my slower awd S63.
     
  22. italiafan

    italiafan F1 World Champ

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    I think the HP wars are absurd, so absurd in fact I think they are possibly destroying the brand of Ferrari. There is so so so much more to the enjoyment of an exotic car like Ferrari than 0-60 times and top speed claims.
    I have a 16M with a mere 510 HP...that car is raucous good fun and will keep up with any "sane" driver in any car in the world on public back country roads. I have a 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 with a manual transmission and a mere 500 HP. Because of the manual it is a little slower off the line than a DCT (or auto) car...but is one of the most fun cars to drive I have ever had.

    So...I am going to say ~ 500 HP for any moderate weight modern car is more than sufficient for a great time enjoying a sports car.

    Might be fun to actually make a poll.....interesting to see the number....so I might do that in this section if you don't mind.
     
  23. plastique999

    plastique999 F1 Veteran
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    L-O-T-U-S


    Sent from my 16M
     
  24. Bas Jaski

    Bas Jaski Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Really depends where you live and what roads you want to enjoy. European B roads are far narrower (and often blind) compared to the ones in the States. So logically, you can do with less power in europe and be more on the limit.

    Its more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow....
     
  25. Jo Sta7

    Jo Sta7 F1 Rookie
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    If the traction is great more power the better. It’s the spinning tires that makes things pointless. Today I was driving my NSX and wishing it had 100 more hp.
     
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