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      09-03-2007, 04:15 PM   #1
lkevinl
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300HP sedan/coupe here to stay??

So, I had a 1990 300zx twin turbo. This was great car, 300HP, 4 wheel steering at speed, adjustable suspension, etc. Loved it! It was the first car I owned that really pinned me to the back of my seat when accelerating.

After that car came out, it was followed by the 330HP Toyota Supra, and 330HP Mitsubishi 3000GT...

There were all of those 300+HP hatchbacks, but one by one, they were all discontinued. Was this because the hatchback market dried up or because 300HP was to pricey, lacked the gas mileage, or some other reason? The horse power and performance of the Z, Supra and others kepting creeping up with each new revision but seemed like it peeked and then they all went a way because their markets dried up.

When the new Z was re-introduced with the 350z, I believe it had only 260HP so Nissan was not attempting to beat the HP/Torque of its predecessor. It has since crept back up.

I'm wondering if the same thing will happen with the sports sedan/coupe market, not the class of car itself, but the horse power. There are now several 300+HP sport sedans and coupes. Are they here to stay?

It seems like the hatchback market just died up and with it, all of those 300HP engines. That can't happen to the sedan/coupe market but there has to be a horse power limit for this class (excluding the M, AMG, etc).

Thoughts?
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      09-03-2007, 04:53 PM   #2
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The hatchback market dried up, the 90's became the decade of the dino-whore SUV.

We are in a full-fledged HP was now. It may peak and plateau, but I don't think it will go backwards unless fuel prices rise significantly. Rumors of the S6 at 580HP and CTS-V at 600HP show we aren't at the peak yet.
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      09-03-2007, 07:29 PM   #3
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I think the hatchback market has gone up significantly recently. There are so many of them now.

And there is something wrong with your logic if you think 300hp and hatchbacks were exclusively linked until recently. We stopped seeing such high output 2 seaters and they happened to be hatchbacks. The hatchback going away for a bit was coincidental. engineers could have put those 300hp engines in any car they wanted.
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      09-03-2007, 07:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdiver68 View Post
The hatchback market dried up, the 90's became the decade of the dino-whore SUV.

We are in a full-fledged HP was now. It may peak and plateau, but I don't think it will go backwards unless fuel prices rise significantly. Rumors of the S6 at 580HP and CTS-V at 600HP show we aren't at the peak yet.
There certainly is a horse power war (whores power war ) going on, but the cars you're talking about are racing models like the M, well, maybe not the CTS-V exactly but not a direct comparison.

We're at 300+HP now for the standard 3 series sedans and coupes. You think those models are going to creep into the 400+HP range as well??? I find that hard to believe!

I think we're going to hit a wall, the trade-off between fuel economy for the class against horse power or just plain pricing issues. The 3 series is supposed to bring performance and luxury at a more affordable price and it currently pretty much does that even if it is at the high end of its class.

On the other hand, it is hard to see where this will end.
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      09-03-2007, 08:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ynotony View Post
I think the hatchback market has gone up significantly recently. There are so many of them now.

And there is something wrong with your logic if you think 300hp and hatchbacks were exclusively linked until recently. We stopped seeing such high output 2 seaters and they happened to be hatchbacks. The hatchback going away for a bit was coincidental. engineers could have put those 300hp engines in any car they wanted.
Hatchbacks are making a come back. Actually, they never fully went away really... didn't the Eclipse come out during the life of the 3000GT? By the way, that things (Eclipse) is up to 260HP now isn't it?!?

I wasn't linking hatchbacks to 300HP engines... it's just during that time frame, early to mid-90's, there were several 300HP hatchbacks competing for market share and then they all died out.
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      09-03-2007, 08:56 PM   #6
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Speaking of technology, it would be really interesting to see a comparison of the 300HP twin-turbo 300ZX to that of the 300HP twin-turbo 335i.

I remember a few distinct things about the Nissan engine... Unlike the 335i, the turbo whine was pretty apparent. It was actually kind of reassuring to hear when they kicked in!

Also, the turbo lag was more noticable. Again, at the time I didn't think of it as a draw back. It gave the feeling of an arcade game, turning the thrusters on!

Also, that car had a suspension switch for comfort and sport. I was amazed how quick it changed and how noticeable the ride difference was, unlike other cars of the time with a similar feature.

All in all, it was a pretty nice ride, fun to drive! I definitely wouldn't trade it for my 335 though...
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      09-03-2007, 09:10 PM   #7
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Keep in mind 300 hp today is probably where 225 hp (or so) was in 1990.


For sport luxury cars, 300hp is the new benchmark. Keep in mind there will always be cars that have much more. I hate to say it, but I still dont think 300hp is completely memorizing. Its nice, but not the difference you feel of a 400+hp car
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      09-03-2007, 09:43 PM   #8
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Agee with what posted above. One more thing-all the cars you mentioned, Mitsu GT, Supra, the original Z, the RX, got to be too pricey for the target market. None were playing in the luxury field and they were all discontinued when the yen started to appreciate too much. At that time the Japanese manufacturers had little NA manufacturing capacity and the currency exchange rate priced their cars out of the market.
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      09-04-2007, 12:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bavarian19 View Post
Keep in mind 300 hp today is probably where 225 hp (or so) was in 1990.


For sport luxury cars, 300hp is the new benchmark. Keep in mind there will always be cars that have much more. I hate to say it, but I still dont think 300hp is completely memorizing. Its nice, but not the difference you feel of a 400+hp car
I don't know about memorizing, but if my memory serves me well, my first test drive in my 335i was indeed Mesmerizing!
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      09-04-2007, 12:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerista View Post
Agee with what posted above. One more thing-all the cars you mentioned, Mitsu GT, Supra, the original Z, the RX, got to be too pricey for the target market. None were playing in the luxury field and they were all discontinued when the yen started to appreciate too much. At that time the Japanese manufacturers had little NA manufacturing capacity and the currency exchange rate priced their cars out of the market.
I agree about the price point. I remember in 1990 or there about checking out a twin turbo Z on the lot and, if my memory still serves me correctly, I believe it was about $41K. That is 17 years ago. $41K, if adjusted for inflation would be very pricey today! Doesn't the current 350Z go for much less than that now?
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      09-04-2007, 12:30 AM   #11
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By the way... had a 1982 Toyota Supra.... 175HP 2.8 liter straight 6. That thing was my dream car in high school. It had a great shifter and felt like a rocket back then. My how expectations change!
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      09-04-2007, 09:24 AM   #12
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1 more thing I forgot to add.

Electronic traction and stability controls removes one of the key engineering problems, that of putting too much power into a car. For the non-specialty car market (M, AMG, Porsche, etc...) 300+ can be too much power for most drivers, absent the electronic aids.

And I'll respond to the non-specialty argument above. It's my experience that the technology found in those cars makes its way to the "normal" cars within a model refresh or 2 at the most.

Last edited by sdiver68; 09-04-2007 at 09:40 AM.
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      09-04-2007, 12:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdiver68 View Post
1 more thing I forgot to add.

Electronic traction and stability controls removes one of the key engineering problems, that of putting too much power into a car. For the non-specialty car market (M, AMG, Porsche, etc...) 300+ can be too much power for most drivers, absent the electronic aids.

And I'll respond to the non-specialty argument above. It's my experience that the technology found in those cars makes its way to the "normal" cars within a model refresh or 2 at the most.
The muscle cars never had traction control though. The technology does allow for less skilled drivers to maintain control of these lighter cars with increasing horsepower for sure.

Are you suggesting the newer technology is opening the doors that unleashed the current horse power war?
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      09-04-2007, 01:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkevinl View Post
The muscle cars never had traction control though. The technology does allow for less skilled drivers to maintain control of these lighter cars with increasing horsepower for sure.

Are you suggesting the newer technology is opening the doors that unleashed the current horse power war?
True, but muscle cars also did not exist in today's product liability legal climate, either.

Yes, technology definitely makes this all possible. Even without the DSC argument, there is the fuel economy, safety and power arguments. My 335i Sedan runs the QM is the mid-to-lower 13's and still returns 21 mpg mixed, 27 on the highway running 80ish. With who knows how many airbags and side impact protection devices!
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      09-04-2007, 02:08 PM   #15
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I had a '91 300zx TT as well!! Loved the car, but it really wasn't THAT fast 0-60 (6.1 or something) because it had some insanely tall gears (1st gear would go to about 48mph). I would probably still have the car had I not gotten run off the road by a drunk driver in a Firebird
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      09-04-2007, 02:42 PM   #16
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As everyone here have posted, we are indeed in the middle of a horsepower war.

For the future of true enthusiast sporting makes/models however, my guess is that simple horsepower billings as the means to one-up a competitor will end soon. Eventually, manufacturers will focus in on the utilization of more exotic materials and manufacturing techniques to minimize weight.

I think one can begin to see the laws to diminishing returns on bigger/more potent engines for future M5/M6 models...more power, more nanny electronics, bigger brakes, bigger wheels…vicious cycle continues…

Ferrari and Porsche will lead the way…I look forward to the evolution of this new phase in sports car/sedans.
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      09-04-2007, 02:50 PM   #17
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I hope to get 650 hp with my next car....650 out of the box....
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      09-04-2007, 06:45 PM   #18
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I hope to get 650 hp with my next car....650 out of the box....
Yep, the only problem is that it'll probably weigh about 4400 lbs.
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      09-05-2007, 11:36 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltron1011 View Post
Yep, the only problem is that it'll probably weigh about 4400 lbs.

I have faith in BMW's philosophy..... Gerhard Richter, chief M dude, is saying the HP will plateau since fuel economy and CO2 emissions are getting out of control and the only way to improve performance is weight.

I look forward to BMW using carbon and composites in the F10 M5 / F12 M6 and the Z10....
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      09-05-2007, 12:39 PM   #20
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+1.

I think that the Hp war glory days are behind us. Right now manufacturers are starting to focus more and more on emissions and consumption (again....).

Engines such as the monster 6.2 litre V8 that AMG is using across the board are dinosaurs. BMW is now toying with double turbo 4.0 litre V8s as top motor (the V10 is also dead-but-doesn't-really-know-it-yet).

So for high performance cars the new moto is doing more with less across the board (less displacement, less weight)
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      09-06-2007, 01:49 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltron1011 View Post
I had a '91 300zx TT as well!! Loved the car, but it really wasn't THAT fast 0-60 (6.1 or something) because it had some insanely tall gears (1st gear would go to about 48mph). I would probably still have the car had I not gotten run off the road by a drunk driver in a Firebird
You're mistaken, man! I believe that thing could do 0-60 in about 5.1.
My car had a chip before I knew what chips were... I bought it used from someone who modded it with performance chip and exhaust.

Just searched the net and I see times from 5.2 to 6.5 for the 0-60, and only 24mpg.
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      09-06-2007, 02:00 AM   #22
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I think there is definitely an HP limit for the class of car we're talking about. As we get older, and wiser, and hopefully wealthier, we'll move up to the next class for the extra horsepower, etc.
I agree, it will be all about technology, styling, and comfort all balanced against economy for the class.

So, what does that mean for the 2012 3 series (that's the next model rennovation, isn't it?). More than 300hp?

I actually was wondering why BMW wouldn't have gone with a 300HP 3.0 liter naturally aspirated engine instead of the twin turbo. They already produced a 330HP 3.2 liter engine for the last model M3. It seems like they could have squeezed out 300HP from a 3.0 liter by using similar engine technolgy and it seems there'd be other advantages to that versus a twin turbo, specifically, wear and tear, maintenance, heat, (fuel economy?), etc.
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