Everyone even remotely connected to the auto industry, from people with full-blown automotive careers to casual weekend drivers, has noticed it. The performance car has lost its appeal over the past few years. Sure, they’re still around and popular and, as any automotive service technician will tell you, are a joy to work on. They just haven’t been as popular as they once were.
When the economy crashed in 2008, sports car sales dropped drastically and haven’t fully recovered. But all of that may change if recent events in the auto industry are any indication. BMW and Toyota are teaming up to develop a new high-performance vehicle. This is great given BMW’s public skepticism late last year about the industry’s chances of being able to recapture its former glory. Now it looks like recovery is just the tip of the iceberg.
Performance is Back in Detroit
At the 2015 Detroit Auto Show (or the North American International Auto Show as it’s officially known), high performance sports cars were back in force. A few of the standouts were:
- The Alfa Romero 4C Spider: Ever heard of the 33 Stradale? It was a hugely successful car made by Alfa Romero in 1967. The 4C Spider was built with that car in mind.
- The 2016 Acura NSX: This is a 550 horsepower hybrid with three electric motors. It was clearly the performance car star of the show.
- The Lexus GS F: 467 horsepower, V8 engine and it’s as sleek as you’d expect a Lexus to be.
Most auto makers at the show had a performance car or two to offer, but this doesn’t mean that they expect everyone to be able to buy one. Raj Nair, Ford’s VP of Global Product Development told the media that his company uses performance cars to develop new technologies and methods which then get implemented throughout the Ford line of vehicles. Meanwhile, Bob Carter, Toyota’s Senior Vice President said that performance vehicles “provide an aspiration and a halo that provides the attention that gets you noticed in a cluttered market.”
Performance With Savings
People who aspire to own a high-performance vehicle have another option these days that doesn’t cost nearly as much. If you know what you’re looking for, you can find cars which meet the standards of their souped-up big brothers and sisters for rather reasonable prices. Here are some cars that perform, but cost in the $25,000 to $35,000 range:
- Dodge Challenger R/T: This beauty of American engineering has a 5.7 litre V8 engine that offers 375 horsepower and 410 lbs of torque.
- Subaru WRX: This all-wheel drive turbocharged performance sedan has a 2.0 litre horizontally opposed engine. It produces 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.
- MINI Cooper S Hardtop: This small car gets 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. The engine is a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder marvel that anyone who has taken mechanic courses would love to take a look at.
Do you think performance cars are truly going to make a comeback?