To put things in perspective, a Kia Sorento now has more power than an Aston Martin DBS from 40 years ago.
It’s incredible to think that soon we will be able to walk into a dealership and buy a road car with up to 840 horsepower on tap. Yes, we’re referring to the earth-shattering Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, if you hadn’t already guessed. It’s a testament to how rapidly the auto industry has evolved. 40 years ago, a road-legal car with such extraordinary levels of power would have been unheard of. To ride the point home, Bloomberg has compiled a report showing how average horsepower figures have risen over the last 40 years.
Noting that there were as many as 18 vehicles on sale in the US last year with over 600 hp, the report shows that the median horsepower rating of a new car in the US has risen from 145 hp in 1976 to 283 hp today. In other words, cars are nearly twice as powerful today on average than they were 40 years ago. Unsurprisingly, the increase in ponies has led to significantly faster acceleration times, too. Median 0-60 mph sprint times have been reduced by half from an average of 14 seconds to just seven. To put things in perspective, the Aston Martin DBS was the only car to achieve 285 ponies 40 years ago, positioning it above the Chevrolet Corvette.
Today, you can get more power from a Kia Sorento SUV. Despite the increase in gas guzzling performance, fuel efficiency has doubled in the last 40 years as combustion engines are around 42 percent smaller. The median MPG figure has doubled from 15 to 30, thanks partly to the rise of electric and hybrid engines and turbochargers. Despite being laden with technology, cars are far lighter than they used to be. Take the base Camaro, for example. In 1976 it weighed around 4,000 pounds, but in 2017 it weighs 3,400 pounds despite the addition of computers, airbags and sensors thanks to the use of lighter materials. “It’s been wildly exciting,” said Bob Fascetti, head of powertrain engineering at Ford Motor Co.
“If you go back and look at the degree of change in the last five or six years compared to the five or six before that or the five or six before that, it’s dramatic.” No doubt the average horsepower rating will continue to rise with the upcoming launch of high performance cars like the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.