How Horsepower Works

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.

Table of horsepower for several different cars Table of horsepower for several different cars
© 2018 HowStuffWorks

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 that follow.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links