Monday, April 09, 2007

The Horsepower Battle!

The cat is officially out of the bag, and what a cat it is! The 2008 V8-powered 414hp BMW M3 is a serious looker. With all of that horsepower and a lightweight body (not to mention a carbon-fiber roof panel) there is no need to wonder if this will be an ultimate driving machine.

What is left to wonder is what the response will be from the other luxury car makers. Audi currently has their 420hp RS4 for sale and Mercedes-Benz is promoting their C55 AMG (only 369hp) but the real news from Mercedes will be the 5.5L engine giving way to the 6.3L AMG power plant later next year to make the C63 AMG with a staggering 450+ hp. It is also worth noting here that Cadillac is entering (and might dominate) the horsepower war games with its revised 2008 CTS-V that will churn out nearly 500hp from a variation of the 6.2L corvette engine. Lexus is also coming into the running next year with the (previously mentioned in this blog) IS-F concept--the V8-powered IS-F is said to put 400+ hp to the ground in its production form.

What is really fantastic about this horsepower battle is with each new car maker entering the pack the prices will begin to drop and the options will begin to rise for us buyers. In a few years, for around $50k, you will be able to have yourself a 500hp tire-shredding street machine with the refinement and build quality of yester-years Rolls and the tenacious handling and sporty character of the latest Ferrari model.

BMW has not yet released much information on the new M3 except that the SMG gearbox will no longer be an option, giving way to a dual-clutch automatic or (of course) the beloved 6-speed manual tranny. Weight is down and power is way up when compared to the E46 M3 so with its 8,400RPM red line it'll be an exhilarating ride to say the least!

I plan to post updates once production time comes closer for most of these cars. Be prepared for the monstrous C63 AMG, the bone-jarring CTS-V, a new response from Audi and the refined IS-F. I can't wait for the head-to-head reviews once these mean-machines hit the streets.

- Mitch G