Is the horsepower war going to be replaced by the weight war?
The enemy of efficiency is weight. Whether that's performance or fuel consumption, it's a solid rule of thumb when it comes to cars. We also live in an age of technology of light-yet-strong materials and engineering that can make use of the least amount of material for the strength needed. In theory, we should all be driving cars considerably lighter than a decade or two ago, but it's not the case. With crash safety and safety equipment requirements increasing, the result is inevitably more weight added than can be shed. Add to that the slew of all-electric vehicles on the market, and the average weight of a vehicle has no chance of dropping any time soon. So, how heavy are cars getting? At one end of the scale, we've got cars like the 2,414-pound Mazda MX-5 Miata. Toppling that scale over, we have cars, trucks, and SUVs like the ones you'll read about below. It's not an exact list of the heaviest vehicles on the market, as that would mainly be trucks, but a representation of just how much passenger vehicles can weigh right now.
Whereas Mazda keeps as much weight off of the MX-5 as possible, the Conquest Knight XV is built like a tank. The Canadian company adds weight to its hand-built SUV with luxuries like Playstation, TV, a high-end sound system, leather, and anything else you're willing to pay for. It's based on a Ford F-550 truck chassis and uses either a 6.7-liter Ford Power Stroke V8 or the Triton modular Ford V10 engine, but that is just its bones because it is, literally, built like a tank. The bodywork, glass, and even the tires are armored, so given the luxury on the inside and the amount of protection on the outside, you can work out what kind of person the Knight XV is designed for.
The new Hummer is just as obnoxious as the previous gas burners. Despite being all-electric, it's taking criticism for being as environmentally friendly as a lit cigarette flicked from a window in the California desert. That's because the Hummer EV weighs in at a staggering 9,063 pounds due to the size of the battery packs required to propel its mass. As of this writing, its 210 kWh pack is the largest on the market. The battery itself weighs in at 2,923 pounds, which is heavier than the Mazda Miata we mentioned. And all of that gets a range of just 329 miles.
Let's call it here, Rolls-Royce does not care about fuel economy, and neither do Rolls-Royce customers. The British luxury marque just has the class not to shout about it. The Cullinan is Rolls-Royce's first SUV and, predictably, weighs more than its traditional sedans. Weighing in at 6,069 pounds, the Cullinan has some serious heft and needs its turbocharged 6.75-liter V12 to move the Cullinan down with the lack of drama your average Rolls-Royce owner desires. Thankfully, this SUV was never built to try and pretend to be a sports car. It's all about the luxury.
If your aim is to own a heavy SUV, you can just go old school. The Mercedes G-Class may have been completely renewed in 2018 for the first time in decades, but in many ways, it's still a dinosaur. The AMG versions are our favorite dinosaurs though. In this case, the AMG-fettled G63 is a powerful relic of a bygone time when a buffed-up G-Wagen was the thing to have if you were rich, famous, and lacked class or social conscience. Its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 makes 577 "handcrafted horses," according to Mercedes, and cuts through the air "like a brick that's been tied to a brick," according to us. It's loud, stupid, and fun, but not that much heavier than other modern German SUVs. Worse still, an electric version is coming that's going to be even heavier.
This is the car that inspired this list as recently, Christoph Fagschlunger, the project manager of the new BMW 7 Series models, said, "I don't think cars will get heavier than they are now, and there are many reasons for that. For us, as a company that offers passenger vehicles, it is still possible to cover all the requirements within the existing weight restrictions." Earlier, we said safety regulations were increasing weight, but it's also the comfort and tech customers want. In this case, just the driver's seat for a BMW averages 88 pounds heavier than one twenty years ago.
Not far off of the BMW SUV's measurement on the scales is Porsche's top-of-the-line all-electric sedan. The Taycan Turbo S generates 750 hp from its motors and 1,389-pound 93.4 kWh battery pack, which goes a long way to make up for its 199- to 212-mile range. The good news with this and other heavy electric vehicles is that solid-state batteries are coming, and they have a higher energy density than the current lithium-ion batteries currently used on cars s well as consumer electronics like laptops and phones. The bad news is that something as relatively compact as this really shouldn't weigh as much as it does.
The Rimac Nevera demonstrates that even an electric supercar can't escape the weight penalty of carrying batteries around. However, that weight does come with 1,914 hp and 1,741 lb-ft of torque, so you're not going to notice it until you meet a corner. Also adding to the weight are things like four electric motors, 13 cameras, six radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and a computer able to deal with advanced AI computing technology. Offsetting the weight are features that include a carbon fiber monocoque chassis and carbon fiber seats. It's also road legal now with global deliveries ready to begin imminently.
An alternative to using batteries and motors to add weight to a hypercar is to add cylinders to a combustion engine. The Bugatti Chiron and all its derivatives have 16 cylinders; because that's what Bugatti found it needed to break speed records, and eventually break the 300 mph barrier in 2021 with a specially modified Super Sport 300+ derivative. Adding to the weight are things like active aerodynamics and brakes that will slow the car down from the Sport's 261 mph top speed without either falling off or catching fire. The Chiron Sport is the lightest Chiron derivative, with a 39.6-pound weight saving over other derivatives. Still, it's a heifer. If you like maths or think about cars like a butcher, the $3,300,000 million Bugatti Chiron Sport costs $726.23 per pound.