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Porsche calls for an end to the horsepower wars

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Porsche calls for an end to the horsepower wars

 
Old 05-16-15, 06:27 PM
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4TehNguyen
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Default Porsche calls for an end to the horsepower wars

Makes a lot of sense, more and more power is diminishing returns. Focus more on lighter weight and better handling.

http://www.wired.com/2015/05/porsche...orsepower-war/

PORSCHE CALLS FOR AN END TO THE HORSEPOWER WAR

PORSCHE’S 2015 911 GT3 is a pared-down, track-derived homage to what the German brand does best. It makes 475 hp and enough grip to liquify your kidneys. It redlines at a monster 9,000 rpm. It’s faster than any GT3 before it.

And it’s … fine. Very good, even. But not great. An astonishing piece of engineering, yes, but in the pantheon of hot Porsches, kind of a dead fish. Steering feel that isn’t a patch on a 10-year-old 911’s. A huge, uninviting cockpit. No manual transmission.

As a rule, new cars get faster, but not always better. This is partly because the automotive industry is a game of metrics. Cars are built by engineers, and engineering runs on numbers. Couple this with the needs of marketing, where bigger is always better, and you have a business driven to continually top itself. Each new car must be safer, quieter, more comfortable, and more capable than those before it.

When it comes to performance, the measuring stick traditionally has been horsepower. It’s an easy thing for the public to process, a number that almost directly relates to potential velocity. Problem is, more power means more weight. And while the industry is working on ways to lighten the load (largely through the extensive use of carbon-fiber instead of steel), the scales aren’t tipping lighter. Which in turn requires more engine output, to carry the same speed in a straight line.

This may be about to change. In an interview with England’s Car magazine, Andreas Preuninger, Porsche’s GT-car chief, said the marque’s future range-toppers won’t chase numbers.

“I’m not a believer in this horsepower monster, up, up, up, more, more, more,” he said. “For my personal tastes, around 500 hp is enough, because 700-800 hp calls for bigger brakes, sturdier suspension. It gets heavier and heavier logically.” Performance and improved driver feedback, he says, will come from lighter weight and increased engineering focus.

Porsche always has been known for this stuff, it’s just strayed a little of late. It’s one of the most profitable and respected brands on the planet, a place the industry looks to for groundbreaking, trendsetting engineering. It has pursued stratospheric engine outputs like everyone else. But this is the first time in memory a company bigwig has gone on record endorsing moderation. (Although you’ll note that he qualifies his statement with the “personal taste” bit of corporate politesse.)

We live in remarkable times. Any forum fanboy will tell you that 500 hp—five mother-loving hundred horsepower!—is snoozeworthy. The last Ford Mustang GT500 made 662 hp, brah. The current Dodge Viper is good for 640. BMW will sell you a family sedan with 575, and Dodge has two with 707. (A number, it should be noted, I can’t say without collapsing into giggles, because the last time I drove a 707-hp Dodge Hellcat, while assisting with this, I broke three laws in four counties and damn near got arrested twice while eating 90-mph Midwestern beef jerky and cackling like a lunatic.)

But those cars are unsustainable peaks. They’re so capable, they only come alive with sanity in the rear-view. First gear in the Hellcat is good for more than 60 mph. To keep average people from burning the tires off a BMW M5—or ending up in a ditch—the car’s electronic stability control is a restrictive fun-killer. (You could turn it off, but in everyday driving, why should you have to?)

And while each car is undoubtedly defined by its engine output, it’s a case of diminishing returns. Only so much of an M5 or Hellcat’s grunt is usable in the real world. As weird as it sounds, those cars aren’t made noticeably better or more involving through the application of absurd speed. Great cars tell you what they’re doing, painting a picture with feedback. It’s what helps make you comfortable, getting the most out of the machine, but it’s also fun. And many engineers don’t put a priority on it.

Ask a motorcyclist or any hot-rodder: Nutso power is nice to have, but you get used to it quickly. If raw power is a car’s main talent, it feels the same on any road, which means you get bored. The rest of the experience—steering feedback, driveline noises, chassis response, the feeling of control—has to be satisfying.

If Porsche is considering a sea change, the rest of the business shouldn’t be far behind. Preuninger is a bright light within Porsche, a company full of bright lights. His job focuses on sports cars, not SUVs or sedans. He has long advocated the prioritization of driving feedback over complication—a rare thing in this industry—boosting things like available manual transmissions, lighter weight, and a focus on driving feel.

Parse out the rest of Car’s interview, which includes a dissection of the upcoming 2016 GT3 RS—the track-focused, low-production upgrade of a low-production, track-focused car—and it becomes clear that Preuninger is advocating a return to sanity.

A brief note about that 2016 GT3 RS: “RS” stands for the German word rennsport, or motorsport. With Porsches, the letters represent the hardest of hard-core. The ’16 RS will feature a number of technical advances, including a magnesium roof (a first for production cars), claimed aerodynamic downforce matching Porsche’s astonishing 918 Spyder, rear tires borrowed from that same supercar, and enormous front fender slats designed to aid downforce. (And presumably be difficult to clean and capable of inhaling small children, but that’s nitpicking.)

The RS’s 500-hp, 4.0-liter flat-six uses a crankshaft that shares its alloy with the crank in the 919 race car. Due to the constraints of a longer piston stroke, that shaft revs to 8,800 rpm—200 below the base GT3’s 9,000-rpm redline.

And so this is the trap, the contradiction, of loving cars. You know what’s right and practical, but your primal-monkey brain wants to simultaneously have its numbers cake and eat it. The first time I read about the RS’s engine, all I thought was, “What, they couldn’t make it work at 9,000?”
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Old 05-16-15, 06:43 PM
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When it comes to performance, the measuring stick traditionally has been horsepower.
Torque is what determines acceleration, particularly from a stop or low speed acceleration...the way most Americans describe "performance". Though horsepower is one of the factors that determines torque, it generally comes more into play at higher speeds, overcoming air resistance.

To keep average people from burning the tires off a BMW M5—or ending up in a ditch—the car’s electronic stability control is a restrictive fun-killer.
I don't see it as a fun-killer at all. ESC is there for a reason. What's fun about drifting and ending up in a ditch...or worse? And even if one doesn't wreck the car doing that........there go the tires.

(You could turn it off, but in everyday driving, why should you have to?)
Or rather, why would you WANT to? Like I said, it is put on today's cars for a reason....to keep them from swapping ends under idiot driving.

Last edited by mmarshall; 05-16-15 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 05-17-15, 12:16 AM
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I'd like to see the start of MPG wars. Let's see who wins that one. Europe or USA.
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Old 05-17-15, 06:45 AM
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Well bloody time, I'd say. Does anyone really need a 600+ hp wagon? You could only deploy that power on limited stretches of the Autobahn, anywhere else in the world and you're into license-losing territory. I also doubt an E63 or M5 owner would be using their daily driver as a track day machine.

Porsches used to be about handling and balance, even though they usually had less power than competitors.
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Old 05-17-15, 09:47 AM
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Good article. Lexus gets bashed a lot for making cars with "weak" engines (relative to the Germans). Just look at the bashing the RCF gets from the automotive press. They want Lexus to join the horsepower/torque wars against the Germans. But even Porsche sees the folly in this horsepower/torque obsession. What good is a 700hp beast when you are stuck in bumper to bumper traffic?
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Old 05-17-15, 10:23 AM
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Porsche calls for an end to the horsepower wars
Sounds likes they've done all they can for the flat 6
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Old 05-17-15, 11:05 AM
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Porsche may have gone on record as saying it, but the GS-F is Lexus' actual implementation of this philosophy already. And it insures that in this day and age, only SMART people will be purchasing that car. I love what it stands for.

If your nut hang low enough, your car won't have to make that statement for you.
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Old 05-17-15, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 4TehNguyen View Post
Makes a lot of sense, more and more power is diminishing returns. Focus more on lighter weight and better handling.

http://www.wired.com/2015/05/porsche...orsepower-war/
So it wants everyone to come down to their level and then beat them with experience? LOL
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Old 05-17-15, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by chromedome View Post
Well bloody time, I'd say. Does anyone really need a 600+ hp wagon? You could only deploy that power on limited stretches of the Autobahn, anywhere else in the world and you're into license-losing territory. I also doubt an E63 or M5 owner would be using their daily driver as a track day machine.

Porsches used to be about handling and balance, even though they usually had less power than competitors.
Do you really need anything over 200hp? I welcome increased power and lowered weight.
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Old 05-17-15, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by kbb View Post
Porsche may have gone on record as saying it, but the GS-F is Lexus' actual implementation of this philosophy already. And it insures that in this day and age, only SMART people will be purchasing that car. I love what it stands for.

If your nut hang low enough, your car won't have to make that statement for you.
Lol did you read the text bellow the headline?

You can try and spin it as much as you want. Porsche will do so by implementing new tech. The gs-f is using a decades old engine and trans and its called a new car lol..

Have you seen how much the rc-f weights ?

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Old 05-17-15, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
Though horsepower is one of the factors that determines torque, it generally comes more into play at higher speeds, overcoming air resistance.



I don't see it as a fun-killer at all. ESC is there for a reason. What's fun about drifting and ending up in a ditch...or worse? And even if one doesn't wreck the car doing that........there go the tires.



Or rather, why would you WANT to? Like I said, it is put on today's cars for a reason....to keep them from swapping ends under idiot driving.
MM, You mixed up torque and HP. Torque x RPM = HP. In other words, torque is the basic. The higher the engine engine RPM , the more the HP.
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Old 05-17-15, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by chikoo View Post
MM, You mixed up torque and HP. Torque x RPM = HP. In other words, torque is the basic. The higher the engine engine RPM , the more the HP.
No, I did not mix it up. Horsepower is a measure of unit of work done....the amount of work it takes to lift a 550 lb. weight 1 foot in one second. Torque, though affected by HP, is a different force altogether....a twisting motion, determined by a lever effect. It is what actually comes out the rear of the engine on the output shaft. To simplify it, torque is what accelerates a car; HP determines its top speed.

The correct formula, BTW, is: HP = Torque x RPM ÷ 5252 (you forgot the 5252 part).

Anyhow, back to the thread topic, I agree with Porsche. IMO we are well past the point of diminishing returns when it comes to just adding more and more power to today's cars. It's like trying to drink more and more beers when you are already drunk enough to pass out.

Last edited by mmarshall; 05-17-15 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 05-17-15, 09:23 PM
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by sam smith

because the last time I drove a 707-hp Dodge Hellcat, while assisting with this, I broke three laws in four counties and damn near got arrested twice while eating 90-mph Midwestern beef jerky and cackling like a lunatic.)
This moron has no business reviewing, writing or have anything to do with cars.
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Old 05-17-15, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Stormwind View Post
This moron has no business reviewing, writing or have anything to do with cars.
That or you just have no sense of humor.
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Old 05-18-15, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Stormwind View Post
This moron has no business reviewing, writing or have anything to do with cars.
Originally Posted by NickTee
That or you just have no sense of humor.
Actually, it sounds like Jeremy Clarkson.
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