How Much Is Too Much Horsepower?

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707 horsepower.

640 horsepower.

Numbers like this used to represent the hottest, most expensive supercars on the planet. Today they describe the output of cars obtainable by middle managers and financially savvy blue-collar workers.

The Challenger Hellcat (707 hp) and the upcoming Cadillac CTS-V (640 hp) are examples of supercars for the masses; cars with power so great they border on dangerous.

Is all of that power necessary, or is it the result of thoughtless engineering meant only to upstage the competition?

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More 500-HP Cars in America Than Diesels

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If you’ve ever wondered what’s wrong with this country (or just right about it), read that headline again.

Gas prices are around $4 per gallon. Diesels consistently return better miles per gallon than gas engines. Five-hundred-horsepower cars not only get poor mileage but drink gas like runner girls down water.

Gas prices are a hot topic in politics, because the public is outraged by hundred-dollar fill-ups. And yet there are 70 500-plus-horsepower cars available in the U.S., compared with just 17 diesels. Gas prices shouldn’t be what outrages us. Our buying habits should.

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Cars Coming Soon: A 600-HP Mustang and a New Acura NSX?

2012 Ford Shelby GT500

It was over a year ago when I wondered how long it would be before an American muscle car became the first straight-off-the-lot 500-hp muscle car. Well, silly me. That mark was eclipsed probably the day after I wrote that post, and now a few cars offer a stock 500 horses or more.

While we’re all still waiting for a standard Mustang GT or Camaro SS to cross the 500 mark, the current Shelby GT500 makes over 500 horses and the coming Camaro ZL1, (which just recorded a stellar 7:41.27 ‘Ring time) will produce around 580 ponies. That’s pretty impressive and means the ball is back in Ford’s court to either keep the horsepower wars going or concede to Chevy that we’ve reached the point where horsepower is at its peak.

Yeah, right.

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