Junior Member, warming up (<31 posts)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Northern Virginia
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Horsepower and the average owner today
Are we destine to drive boring AWD cars that have blistering 0-60 and 1/4 mile times but have no soul? I spent a time a few weeks ago with a friend that is all about high horsepower and great 0-60 times. What got me really laughing was when he told me that his Camaro with 450HP was boring him. I tried to explain that if he was bored, then he was not driving it hard enough. Every manufacture now is producing very capable cars for track times that all will put a smile on your face. The problem is that no one puts their cars on the track so they will never know what they are capable of. There is where the Horsepower wars are getting out of control. These modern cars are very powerful and are all ready to take you down if you turn traction control off and are not 110% focused on what you are doing. I tried to get him to go to a performance driving school or even a HPDE track day, but he is already a race car driver in his own mind and does not need any training because he has pushed his cars on the streets that our family's are driving on to the limits and has not wrecked yet. WOW what an a** is all I could say to him. Now, I have been driving sports cars since I was 18 years old and my I know the limits of my current cars and they are over my driving skills since I don't put them on the track either, so I don't have the seat time to fully explore them. Both of my M cars are fun to drive on the street (E39 M5 & E93 M3) but if you just push them on a straight line from a stop or even driving down the road and punch them they can be a little underwhelming and a modded 335i can feel faster in that scenario. I started running the M3 in autocross events and realized just how capable that car is with less than 300lbs of torque, and how hard it is to tame a 4200lbs monster with only 414hp and 295lbs of torque (Not the best autocross car I know, but a lot of fun). So that brings up the modern cars with 500+ hp and 500+ torque, they are not that fun to drive on the street. You can't plant them and by the time you put your foot down after gaining traction you are already going well above the speed limits. I have done at least 6 M Club days at the BMW Performance center and we drive in MDM mode in the new cars to keep most of the drivers from spinning the cars out. The F10 M5 will spin out with traction on because it has so much power and tops the scales at over 4K. Now, in order to overcome that problem the new M5 will be offered with AWD just like the new E63 AMG. Some of you may like the AWD platform and that is fine, to each their own, but we are now going to be stuck with AWD as standard soon in order for these new cars to be able to plant that power. I know lots of car club members that will tell you the lower HP cars are more fun to drive, and I am becoming a believer in that statement. A great example of that is the M2 which everyone that drives it thinks is faster until they see the times against an M4, which is always a few seconds faster. The M2 can be thrown around the track like a rag doll and you never feel out of control, but the M4 and the M3 feel like they are trying to kill you if your not on top of them. Now, all of the new M cars can humiliate the previous generations with their better handling and turbo charged monsters under the hoods, but when driven daily they seem to lack the satisfaction of the previous M cars. I have driven the new M cars on the streets and although they are a handful when you would like them to be, they are a bit boring when just daily drivers which is disappointing to me. My wife likes to comment that an M car should feel like a wild stallion being held back and that is what makes them an M car. But where is the ceiling for these new cars? It seems that all of the manufactures are one upping each other in order to have the better car, but none of them are producing better drivers to match. I don't want to sound like I am ranting, but as these cars age and the deprecation drops them to an affordable level for younger drivers, we will have monsters on the roads with our families. I would like to see more affordable driving schools like the NCC CCA offers in order to teach these young drivers how to drive them so they will have the respect that these cars deserve in order to drive them. I have taken my son with me to M School and will be taking my daughter this year since both of them enjoy driving. My daughter has already been to a few autocross events in her 335i and my son will be joining us this year in his 335i which I believe will make both of them better drivers and allow them to understand just how powerful and capable their cars are with just 300HP. I do believe that our job is to teach these kids how to drive these cars at their limits not the cars limits and when it is appropriate to do so. I am hoping we are close to the ceiling on these new cars so we can focus on driving and not bragging rights. It's the attitude of guys like my buddy that are driving these cars to these high horsepower monsters that is going to push these cars to AWD. Now, with all of that said, eventually I myself will probably add an F82 to the stable at some point when I have the time to take it to the track, because I do enjoy a car that is trying to kill you, but it will be more for track days than household chores. and the rear wheel drive is what makes it so fun to drive on the track. So what about these monsters driving down the road with owners like my buddy who thinks he is a fantastic driver without any driver training? I know we should all have choices and everyone should be able to buy what they enjoy, but make sure you are as alert when going to the store as you are on the track just in case some idiot is playing NASCAR driver around a corner in a car they can't control.
I would like all of us in 2017 to each convince just a few of "those guys" to take it to the track so we will all be a little safer.
Again, sorry for the rant, I just can't get over the ignorance of my buddies attitude.