We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby Edition – Increase in Horsepower

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May 19th, 2017

We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby Edition


We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby Edition - Increase in Horsepower


I read this on Bloomberg the other day and thought “wow, we’ve come a long way.”


Many average cars today have more horsepower than some of the most powerful cars from 1976. Case in point, the 1976 Aston Martin DBS, the most powerful car at the time, had 285 horses. The 2016 Toyota Camry—not exactly known for tire squealing power–has 268 horsepower. No, that isn’t more than the Aston Martin, but it’s pretty close. Oh, and the Aston Martin Vanquish puts out 568 horsepower these days.

The article does go on about comparisons to then and now, and the reporters crunched a lot of numbers, but what I find most remarkable about the jump in horsepower is the rise in efficiency at the same time.

Conventional wisdom would tell us that when we see an increase in horsepower we should see a decrease in fuel efficiency. That isn’t necessarily the case—so take that green car proponents.  But I digress. Technological advances have helped raise the fuel economy while increasing output. The vehicle the writers used for their example was the Chevy Camaro which comes in 3 engine models, the 455-horsepower V8, the 355-horsepower V6, and the four-cylinder, 275 horsepower model.

With advances in engineering, like cylinder-shutoff for highway driving, and precise timing fuel injection to get fuel into the air and not the cylinder wall, for example, the efficiency numbers increased and they keep going up just as power numbers keep going up. It helps that cars are much lighter now than they were forty-one years ago. Was 1976 really forty-one years ago?

I say all that to say this: We don’t need an anemic “eco-friendly” vehicle. Nor do we want them. I don’t think this article was written as pro-gasoline engine and anti- hybrid or electric or some other kind of engine, but the research shows without bias that we aren’t getting less efficient. We aren’t even getting bigger.

We are however getting leaner and meaner, or lighter and faster, however you want to phrase it. In other words, our advances in technology can produce a lot of speed and power while giving us decent fuel economy. And this is under regulations that want to destroy gasoline engine vehicles—or at least want us to start choosing alternative fuel vehicles versus gasoline engines.

We have come a long way since the ’70s. Can you imagine where we will be in five years? Ten? Twenty?

Post your comments on Twitter @LaurenFix


Final Thought:

This final thought goes with the previous post: http://jalopnik.com/what-the-hell-is-this-widebody-chrysler-300-srt-with-do-1795333944

Is Chrysler testing a 300 Hellcat? That would be awesome! Please be testing a 300 Hellcat.

Post your comments on Twitter @LaurenFix

Love Your Car! See you next week!

–Lauren Fix

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