Big power and no control vs. small power and all the control.
Many times wealth is correlated with success, and while some studies have found that money does make you happy to an extent (just enough to buy what you need, more money does nothing), there’s a heavily used stereotype about rich people being unhappy. Maybe having too much money makes you overlook the small pleasant things in life? Perhaps, but the same analogy can be made for horsepower. Like greedy capitalists, we never complain when more ponies are shoved under the hood.
But does all that horsepower and the speed it produces make us miss out on some of the tasteful niceties of the driving experience? Jonny Lieberman and Jason Cammisa of Motor Trend think so, and to get back to basics, they have brought to bargain sports car stars onto their show for a little friendly competition.
A stock Toyota 86 would never be mistaken for having too much power, with a modest monk-like sum of 205 ponies in the manual. Opt for the automatic and you’re docked five whole horsepower, a lot relative to the small sum of available funds. On the other hand, the Mazda MX-5 RF is a newer prettier version of the MX-5, the king of small, cheap, and not very powerful sports cars. But which one is the better of the two? Both cars are nearly identical, so that proves to be hard to test. But what about that theory on too much horsepower, say around 707 stampeding ponies of it? The result we see here is dependent on the driver, but a ten second gulf is still pretty steep.