Horsepower in High-performance Cars

A car is considered to be "high performance" if it has a lot of power relative to the weight of the car. This makes sense -- the more weight you have, the more power it takes to accelerate it. For a given amount of power you want to minimize the weight in order to maximize the acceleration.

The following table shows you the horsepower and weight for several high-performance cars (and one low-performance car for comparison). In the chart you can see the peak horsepower, the weight of the car, the power-to-weight ratio (horsepower divided by the weight), the number of seconds the car takes to accelerate from zero to 60 mph, and the price.


Horsepower
Weight (lbs)
Power:Weight
0-60 mph (seconds)
Price
Dodge Viper
450
3,320
0.136
4.1
$66,000
Ferrari 355 F1
375
2,975
0.126
4.6
$134,000
Shelby Series 1
320
2,650
0.121
4.4
$108,000
Lotus Esprit V8
350
3,045
0.115
4.4
$83,000
Chevrolet Corvette
345
3,245
0.106
4.8
$42,000
Porsche Carrera
300
2,900
0.103
5.0
$70,000
Mitsubishi 3000GT twin-turbo
320
3,740
0.086
5.8
$45,000
Ford Escort
110
2,470
0.045
10.9
$12,000

You can see a very definite correlation between the power-to-weight ratio and the 0-to-60 time -- in most cases, a higher ratio indicates a quicker car. Interestingly, there is less of a correlation between speed and price. The Viper actually looks like a pretty good value on this particular table!

If you want a fast car, you want a good power-to-weight ratio. You want lots of power and minimal weight. So the first place to start is by cleaning out your trunk.

For more information on horsepower and related topics, check out the links on the next page.