How Much Is Too Much Horsepower?


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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The Return of the Manual!

Manual gearshift

When I cancelled a dentist appointment to take a 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S through its paces, I figured I made the right choice. I think most people would choose a morning with a 911 over having teeth drilled.

Yesterday, though, karma caught up with me in the form of a rescheduled dentist appointment. And drilled teeth. And numbing that didn’t take the first time. I left the dentist’s office with a swollen face, numb lips and the promise of more pain once the drugs wore off. There was only one thing that could make me feel better:

Heel-toeing through the twisties of one my favorite roads. Manual transmissions may be going the way of the dodo, as evidenced by that 911 and its high-tech PDK, but at least I still have my 5-speed.

As it turns out, though, there is hope that manuals may be in the midst of a resurgence in popularity.

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