Saturday, May 26, 2007

V8s for Everyone, and Feature Bloat

What if, instead of decreasing the cylinder count in smaller cars, they all had V8s, but with smaller displacements? They'd at least sound great!

Time for a New Engine Design Paradigm?

By Chris Haak


I just read a story on Autoblog about Hartley Enterprises’ new 2.8 liter 75 degree V8 engine. It’s a combination of two Suzuki Hayabusa four cylinder motorcycle engines. The Hayabusa (formal name GSX1300R) is considered by many to be the fastest production motorcycle in the world. Its 1299 cc (1.3 liter) engine is rated at 175 horsepower, and there are numerous performance upgrades available to improve these figures even further (such as turbo-charging). The V8 built by Hartley Enterprises weighs just 200 pounds, and pumps out 400 horsepower and 245 lb-ft of torque, and revs to 10,000 RPMs. The manufacturer claims that the engine will fit in applications designed for inline four cylinder engines.
Every year, automakers add more and more safety and convenience features to new cars, and every year, consumers expect more and more standard features. Equipment that was once an option in exclusive domain of luxury cars is now standard in nearly every model.
What Makes a Car "Loaded?"

By Chris Haak


Today, I was thinking about, how, as new features are introduced and eventually make their way from luxury models to the more pedestrian ones, the expectations of the buying public increase.

Think about just the past 20 years. Back in 1987, what kinds of bells and whistles were offered? Power windows, power locks, power steering, power trunk release, air conditioning, cassette player, cloth seats, rear defroster, and a V6.

Ten years later, in 1997, many of the above features were standard, other than the V6. But ABS, dual airbags, traction control, leather seats, and CD players were also goodies that you could add to your new car.

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