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The future of V8 engines?

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May 15, 2010 4:35:55 PM

As a big fan of American Muscle Cars, I'm a bit worried about the future of V8 engines in 10 years, for example. Since the exhaust fumes regulations have been tightened and the eletric motors are coming.

What do you think guys: will there be nice Corvettes, Challengers, Mustangs etc. with their powerful V8 engines in the near future as well, for example 10-20 years?

"*** the fuel limits :D !"

More about : future engines

May 18, 2010 3:29:26 PM

Due to the increasing tightness of the emissions standards, the American muscle will have to start including the kind of technology and engineering standards the Japanese and Europeans have been taking for granted for two decades anyway.

As a result, engine power will increase quite nicely AND fuel economy will improve heavily. Downside is, though, that the Mustangs and so on will then REQUIRE a more contemporary suspension setup, and then they'll actually become driveable on a tight mountain pass.

In short, though, the V8 (and larger) will be around for a few decades yet.

(standard disclaimer) If any personal opinions have come through in the above post, kindly take into account that the poster is a hard-core Audi nut, and try not to react too badly... unless it's funny, in which case, react away...
May 18, 2010 7:57:34 PM

+100 (apart from the Audi bit, they peaked with Quatro Rally car as far as I'm concerned)

Given enough juice there is no reason an Electric car can't put out more torque and
better performance than the current V8's.
May 19, 2010 9:18:00 AM

Ah yes, the B2 Quattro... still got mine, actually, haven't driven it in a while though. It's injection system is needing to be fixed...
May 19, 2010 1:33:26 PM

The American muscle car of old, the "classic" muscle cars like those produced up to the early 1970's are gone never to be seen again. All we have today are watered down versions of what used to be.

I really miss my 1966 Catalina 2 door hard top...a 389, 750 Edelbrock, and dual exhaust...

Today's "modern" muscle cars are mere reflections of cars past. Just look at the latest trend in muscle cars like the new Camaro, Challenger, and Mustang; all throw back retro styling intended to make the driver remember what a real muscle cars looked like. What's next, a re-released Roadrunner, Tempest LeMans, or the AMC Rebel?!?!

I agree that V8's and so-called muscle cars will be around for a while, at least until the government (now that Obama owns General Motors) determines that large engines are "tools of terror" or "enemies of the environment" and they are taxed out of the average consumer's reach or outright banned altogether.

June 4, 2010 7:35:30 PM

Thing is there are V8s that get better gas mileage then some V6s.
My dads 98 Corvette gets 30 MPG on the highway. My 4 banger S10 gets about 25 to 27.
June 4, 2010 8:29:41 PM

American muscle cars died a long time ago, and good job too. Its all very well having thumping great V8's but in reality the American motor industry stopped developing the car after the engine was finished. Rubiish brakes, rubbish suspension, rubbish handling and thats before you get to the "Obese" weight of the cars.

Many european makes build better cars with V8's - sure Ferrari / Mercedes / Audi etc build some great cars if not quite muscle cars, but there are plenty other makes around that get overlooked due to the low volume of sales.

Ask anyone who has ever driven or simply had a ride in a TVR... again lacking in safety features (owner Peter Wheeler at the time didnt like gadgets) and the performance is mind blowing - all accompanied by a wonderful V8 sound track.

Not forgetting... F1 V8's 2.4 ltr... scrwam like a banshee.... I thought the end of the F1 v12's and then the V10's would ruin the noise and thrill, but if anything the small V8's are a real experience (forget TV coverage).
June 12, 2010 10:44:33 AM

What actually makes a car a 'muscle car'?

Is just having a huge engine under the bonnet good enough, or does it have to be American, RWD, useless at everything except straight lines and gentle left turns, and a huge V8 specifically?
June 19, 2010 5:49:11 PM

I think that American V8's will stay for a quite a long time. There will always be a market for them. I personally drive a 1/2 F150, and I couldn't fathom how bad it would be without a V8. Ford is about to come out with their new 3.5 liter twin turbo charged V6, and I don't see it selling well. Sure it might get great mileage and good power and torque, but where the power is made is what will drive away customers.
July 3, 2010 9:31:27 AM

Mugz said:
What actually makes a car a 'muscle car'?

Is just having a huge engine under the bonnet good enough, or does it have to be American, RWD, useless at everything except straight lines and gentle left turns, and a huge V8 specifically?



G'day Mugz, I think you are pretty close to the mark, the most common definition seems to be average handling and braking, matched to an over-abundance of power, usually of the V8 variety.

Here in Oz, most of ours were/are sedans, two doors never really took off, except for about 6 years in the 1970s, although plenty of people, myself included, would love to own one...my preferences are a 1972-75 Chrysler Charger and a 1972-78 Ford Falcon XA to XC...

These days though I am more into diesel power, bulk torque for minimal capacity, which offers plenty of acceleration, but best of all, the Euros are leading the charge, so you get handling and brakes that match the performance, like my 2006 Peugeot, so much fun...

As I write this, I am getting ready to road test the new Scania R560, a 560 horsepower, 16-litre V8, backed by a 12-speed sequential shift manual transmission, which is also capable of pulling a 90-tonne load, while returning fuel economy of around 3 kilometres per litre.

This is a little off-beam from the original post, I realise, but I raise it to show that the V8 is not necessarily dead, but that it is morphing into a high tech piece of gear, with overhead camshafts, multi-valve heads, and a lot more to boot, but that classic V8 rumble is stil with us.

for the perol lovers amongst us, track down a C63 or E63 AMG Mercedes, I have been fortunate to test these on a closed track a couple of times now, and by gee they make a noise and a half.

Bottom line, V8 lovers do not despair, they will be with us for a while yet, but they wil be more efficient than was even dreamed of in the 1960s and 1970s.
July 3, 2010 6:58:31 PM

chunkymonster said:
The American muscle car of old, the "classic" muscle cars like those produced up to the early 1970's are gone never to be seen again. All we have today are watered down versions of what used to be.

I really miss my 1966 Catalina 2 door hard top...a 389, 750 Edelbrock, and dual exhaust...

Today's "modern" muscle cars are mere reflections of cars past. Just look at the latest trend in muscle cars like the new Camaro, Challenger, and Mustang; all throw back retro styling intended to make the driver remember what a real muscle cars looked like. What's next, a re-released Roadrunner, Tempest LeMans, or the AMC Rebel?!?!

I agree that V8's and so-called muscle cars will be around for a while, at least until the government (now that Obama owns General Motors) determines that large engines are "tools of terror" or "enemies of the environment" and they are taxed out of the average consumer's reach or outright banned altogether.



Today's muscle cars are "watered down" versions of the originals? You wanna put your 66 389 Catalina (couldn't afford a GTO?) up against a ZR1 Corvette?
July 6, 2010 8:59:30 PM

Granted emissions have become more strict so auto makers are forced to be "more green," that has just forced auto makers to be strict on emissions and use technology to still put out more power. The 2011 V6 Mustangs put out over 300hp and run low 14's in the 1/4 and still get 31mpg. Couldn't have done that 20 years ago.
The V8's are coming along just as well, 400hp cars that still get 25mpg+. That simply wasn't imaginable 20 years ago. If you wanted a car with 400hp, you measured your mileage in gallons to the mile, not the other way around.

66' Catalina 389 against a ZR1? That's overkill, atleast let the Catalina race a C6 so it's not AS embarassing.
July 7, 2010 7:59:32 PM

Mugz said:
Due to the increasing tightness of the emissions standards, the American muscle will have to start including the kind of technology and engineering standards the Japanese and Europeans have been taking for granted for two decades anyway.


Hmm, last time I checked the Germans had some of the worst fleet fuel mileage ratings for cars. They also have little for hybrid technology, while the Americans (mainly Ford) have decent overall car fuel mileage and make quite a few hybrids. GM's cars don't do all that poorly for fuel mileage either. It's basically Chrysler that sucks, and Chrysler is using a lot of technology from - surprise surprise- Daimler-Benz (German) and Mitsubishi (Japanese).

Also, a lot of the reason domestic-market European and Japanese cars get the mileage they do is because they're f'in tiny! A kei car or a Smart may be okay enough in Tokyo or Berlin stop-and-crawl urban traffic but isn't so great for commuting for longer distances on U.S. highways. Also, they have punitive fuel and registration taxes instituted by their nanny-state governments that makes it pretty unaffordable to drive anything that's bigger or more powerful than a golf cart.

Quote:
As a result, engine power will increase quite nicely AND fuel economy will improve heavily.


Yes and no. Going from a naturally-aspirated V8 to a turbocharged V6 or a very heavily turbocharged four-cylinder will lead to slightly better mileage in city traffic with a lot of idling and slightly better mileage when driving at a steady speed on a flat road. Peak horsepower may stay about the same too, but torque is frequently less and all of the power is made much higher in the RPM range, which makes for a pretty weak-kneed muscle car. You get a lot of nothing until the turbos spool up about halfway through the rev range and have to thrash the engine to keep it in that RPM range where the turbos are online and putting out boost, else the car feels like a dog. Sure, you could supercharge the small engine and get performance similar to a larger engine with the same wide powerband, but you're sucking down gas just like the engine was a larger naturally-aspirated unit. That's why all of these green wonders are turbocharged.

Quote:
Downside is, though, that the Mustangs and so on will then REQUIRE a more contemporary suspension setup, and then they'll actually become driveable on a tight mountain pass.


If you can't drive a contemporary Mustang on a tight mountain pass, it's because you can't drive. Numerous reviews of the 2011 models note that the handling is good.

chunkymonster said:
The American muscle car of old, the "classic" muscle cars like those produced up to the early 1970's are gone never to be seen again. All we have today are watered down versions of what used to be.

I really miss my 1966 Catalina 2 door hard top...a 389, 750 Edelbrock, and dual exhaust...

Today's "modern" muscle cars are mere reflections of cars past. Just look at the latest trend in muscle cars like the new Camaro, Challenger, and Mustang; all throw back retro styling intended to make the driver remember what a real muscle cars looked like. What's next, a re-released Roadrunner, Tempest LeMans, or the AMC Rebel?!?!


The styling of some of them may leave something to be desired, particularly the Dodges and the now-dead Pontiac GTO (which wasn't a retro design but was still poor), but the engines and chassis are far better than the original units. The engines today are rated to have as least as much power as the older units did, except we're using net horsepower today rather than the gross(ly inflated) horsepower figures of the '60s and '70s. Plus you don't have to rebuild them every few years, they start easily on cold days, and they get better mileage. Oh, and modern muscle cars can actually go fast somewhere other than in a straight line. Granted, a lot of that is due to modern tires being massively better than the narrow fiberglass units the original muscle cars had, but suspensions are a lot better too.

Quote:
I agree that V8's and so-called muscle cars will be around for a while, at least until the government (now that Obama owns General Motors) determines that large engines are "tools of terror" or "enemies of the environment" and they are taxed out of the average consumer's reach or outright banned altogether.


True. :( 

ulysses35 said:

Many european makes build better cars with V8's - sure Ferrari / Mercedes / Audi etc build some great cars if not quite muscle cars, but there are plenty other makes around that get overlooked due to the low volume of sales.


Could the low volume of sales be because the European V8-powered cars cost a metric buttload of money? BMW 5 and 7-series, Jag V8s, Mercedes E/CLK/S/SL-class, and Audi A6s and A8s let alone Ferraris are ungodly expensive compared to Mustangs, Chargers, and Camaros. If you want to do a dollar-to-dollar comparison, it would be Corvettes, Vipers, and Ford GTs against the European cars, not the pony cars.

Quote:
Ask anyone who has ever driven or simply had a ride in a TVR... again lacking in safety features (owner Peter Wheeler at the time didnt like gadgets) and the performance is mind blowing - all accompanied by a wonderful V8 sound track.


Sure, it's all fun and games until you end up smeared along 300 m of pavement. Wait a second, the TVR is a British car, so chances are it won't even start, so you're perfectly safe :D 

Quote:
Not forgetting... F1 V8's 2.4 ltr... scrwam like a banshee.... I thought the end of the F1 v12's and then the V10's would ruin the noise and thrill, but if anything the small V8's are a real experience (forget TV coverage).


It's near to hear a small-displacement flat-plane crank V8 scream as it gets revved up to about 10 grand, but the really nice V8 sound comes from a larger V8 with lumpy cams and an open exhaust.
July 8, 2010 6:53:05 AM

959,13,61517 said:
Hmm, last time I checked the Germans had some of the worst fleet fuel mileage ratings for cars. They also have little for hybrid technology, while the Americans (mainly Ford) have decent overall car fuel mileage and make quite a few hybrids. GM's cars don't do all that poorly for fuel mileage either. It's basically Chrysler that sucks, and Chrysler is using a lot of technology from - surprise surprise- Daimler-Benz (German) and Mitsubishi (Japanese).

Also, a lot of the reason domestic-market European and Japanese cars get the mileage they do is because they're f'in tiny! A kei car or a Smart may be okay enough in Tokyo or Berlin stop-and-crawl urban traffic but isn't so great for commuting for longer distances on U.S. highways. Also, they have punitive fuel and registration taxes instituted by their nanny-state governments that makes it pretty unaffordable to drive anything that's bigger or more powerful than a golf cart.

Can't entirely agree with you on that one MU_Engineer, you do point out a couple of truths, including the relative size difference in the cars and therefore the engines, but the reality is these cars are built to the conditions, just the same as the TATA Nano in India - basically a scooter with a roof.

It is the same here in Australia, if you are a city dweller, then it makes more sense to own a car that is right for the city, ie small, light and no excess engine capacity, however if you are in the regional areas, then you want something that will cover long distances comfortably and without excessive thirst, hence long stroke inline and vee sixes are the most popular for that sort of work, they lope along at under 2000rpm, barely sipping fuel.

With regard to fuel consumption of Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes, etc, that is in the high power petrol engine range, however that is a relatively small component of the total market, because of the long standing high price of petrol (gas to you lot), diesel has been the weapon of choice for a long time, and you will struggle to find a Euro diesel that uses more than 30mpg.

The big power petrol engine will always be thirsty by comparison, that is the nature of the beast, energy out is a result of energy in, again another reason for the popularity of diesel engines, they are able to squeeze every last joule of energy from the fuel, better than an equivalent petrol motor.

You also make a reference to 'stop and crawl' traffic in Europe and Japan, but from what we hear, some of your cities are just as bad, the difference is the low cost of fuel does not provide an incentive to look for more efficient commuter cars, hence everyone buys big - seriously, as much as I love F-Series Fords, do you REALLY need one in the city, or is that just posing, thanks to freedom of choice?

Lastly, re Chrysler/Dodge, sorry, but all the crap ones - Patriot, Cherokee, Caliber, PT Cruiser they all use straight US of A technology, the slightly better ones, like the Crossfire, they use the imported technology, I know, I have road tested and reviewed them as a newspaper motoring editor.

Mack is the same, they take a really good Volvo engine, and then 'Mackify' it - into something that is a shadow of its former self.

This is not personal, but I neded to set the record a bit straighter.
July 8, 2010 2:58:54 PM

noclss2000 said:
Granted emissions have become more strict so auto makers are forced to be "more green," that has just forced auto makers to be strict on emissions and use technology to still put out more power. The 2011 V6 Mustangs put out over 300hp and run low 14's in the 1/4 and still get 31mpg. Couldn't have done that 20 years ago.
The V8's are coming along just as well, 400hp cars that still get 25mpg+. That simply wasn't imaginable 20 years ago. If you wanted a car with 400hp, you measured your mileage in gallons to the mile, not the other way around.

66' Catalina 389 against a ZR1? That's overkill, atleast let the Catalina race a C6 so it's not AS embarassing.


Just pair it up with a Focus RS european version, see if it keeps up with that. That 300 hp pocket rocket is more than a match for a 66 Catalina lead sled.
July 8, 2010 4:04:21 PM

gazfast said:

With regard to fuel consumption of Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes, etc, that is in the high power petrol engine range, however that is a relatively small component of the total market, because of the long standing high price of petrol (gas to you lot), diesel has been the weapon of choice for a long time, and you will struggle to find a Euro diesel that uses more than 30mpg.


Quite a few American cars get in the 30 mpg range or better on the highway with gasoline engines, even relatively large ones. Aerodynamics and transmission gear ratios are the major determinants of fuel mileage when driving on the highway. American cars frequently have fairly tall top gear ratios and decent aerodynamics, so they also lope along at ~2000 rpm and 30+ mpg as well.

Diesel engines are not as popular in the U.S. for several reasons, some justified and some not.

1. Taxes on diesel fuel and gasoline are roughly equal in most U.S. states, compared to gasoline being far more highly taxed in Europe than gasoline. The open market price of diesel fuel is greater than that of gasoline due to higher worldwide demand for diesel than gasoline (mainly due to Far East construction.) Diesel is thus about 15-25% more expensive per gallon than gasoline in the U.S, resulting in the fuel cost per mile traveled being the same or higher with a diesel-powered vehicle than a gasoline-powered vehicle.

2. Diesel engines cost more than gasoline engines, sometimes significantly more.

3. Diesel engines are usually quite a bit heavier than gasoline engines.

4. Diesel engines usually cost more to service than gasoline engines.

5. The first diesel engines in American passenger vehicles were brought about by the OPEC oil embargo in the early 1980s. Quite a few gasoline engines retrofitted by the manufacturer for compression ignition and were notoriously unreliable (particularly GM's 350 V8 diesel.) Even purpose-built diesel engines in the early '80s were fairly crude and were rarely turbocharged, often had trouble starting in cold weather, were noisy, smoky, and loud. That soured a lot of people on passenger-car diesels for a long time and only relatively recently have people started to buy European passenger car and sport-utility diesels.

As a result, diesels have been very rare in U.S. passenger cars. You have to want to have a diesel engine in your car as it is less cost-efficient than a gasoline engine. They are pretty ubiquitous in heavy-duty pickup trucks ("utes" to you Aussies) since the prodigious low-end torque is very well-matched to towing and hauling heavy loads away from a stop. Diesels would also be well-matched to SUVs, vans, and lighter-duty pickups as well, but American automakers seem to be leaning toward turbocharged smaller-displacement gasoline engines as opposed to diesels in those vehicles to get a roughly equivalent mileage but with less cost and weight.

Quote:
The big power petrol engine will always be thirsty by comparison, that is the nature of the beast, energy out is a result of energy in, again another reason for the popularity of diesel engines, they are able to squeeze every last joule of energy from the fuel, better than an equivalent petrol motor.


Diesels are somewhat more efficient, but diesel fuel also has about a 10% higher energy content per volume than gasoline. However, what really matters to most people is the overall cost of running the vehicle. The higher cost of a diesel engine combined with the higher cost of diesel fuel and higher cost of servicing a diesel engine makes it more expensive to run a diesel engine than a gasoline engine.

Quote:
You also make a reference to 'stop and crawl' traffic in Europe and Japan, but from what we hear, some of your cities are just as bad, the difference is the low cost of fuel does not provide an incentive to look for more efficient commuter cars, hence everyone buys big - seriously, as much as I love F-Series Fords, do you REALLY need one in the city, or is that just posing, thanks to freedom of choice?


Traffic in cities here is bad, you are right. Most of us do not want a nanny-state government trying to tell us what we should and shouldn't drive by artificially affecting fuel prices via taxes like the Europeans do. We can make our You also won't see too many using pickup trucks for commuter vehicles in most large cities as they cost more for fuel, are harder to park in the notoriously small parking spots in most cities, and there's simply not much use for a pickup in a large city. Pickups are mostly seen in rural areas as people utilize their cargo-hauling capacity very regularly.
July 9, 2010 4:59:32 AM

It looks like we are agreeing with each other, just in different ways...re the 30mpg Euro diesel, that was an average combined cycle figure, not just highway, my Pug returns approximately 6.3 litres poer 100 kilometres, a roughly 50-50 mix of stop start urban crawling and open road 55-60mph cruising.

if it was highway only, then it would be in the vicinity of 5.6 - 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres, or roughly 1200 kilometres from a 65 litre tank, which I think translates to just over 800 miles from 16 gallons.

As I said in my first post, I do not think the V8 is dead, far from it, but I think it will be a very different animal from the ones we hold so dear that were born in the 1960s and 1970s - they will become more efficient, and probably more powerful, but at the same time, the exhaust emissions will be lower than ever.

i have read acouple of people criticising fuel consumption targets, we should not be afraid of them, but use them as a spur to the engineers who design the engines, to make them better than ever.

Similarly, I think we should be more embracing of alternative fuels, like LPG LNG and CNG, admittedly they are not as energy efficient as petrol or diesel but they are cleaner, so let's use them as a way of showing our environmental credentials, while still induging in the passion of driving.

Gaz
July 9, 2010 6:05:25 AM

The problem with fuel consumption targets is that they are, for better or worse, politically motivated.
July 9, 2010 9:52:53 AM

Generally speaking yes, in one form or another, sadly this is a reality of modern life, and one we need to deal with, that is why I suggest we view them asa spur, rather than as another chain around our nexks.

Must admit I have thought of opening my own country though...
July 9, 2010 1:10:55 PM

Homeboy2 said:
Today's muscle cars are "watered down" versions of the originals? You wanna put your 66 389 Catalina (couldn't afford a GTO?) up against a ZR1 Corvette?


Uh, yeah, today's "muscle cars" are watered down versions of the originals.

Comparing a 1966 Pontiac against a ZR1 is like trying to compare a civil war era Gatling gun to the M230 chain gun. Apples and oranges.

Now if you asked to put up my old Catalina against a 1966 C2 corvette with a 396, I'd be willing...




July 9, 2010 2:51:44 PM

gazfast said:

As I said in my first post, I do not think the V8 is dead, far from it, but I think it will be a very different animal from the ones we hold so dear that were born in the 1960s and 1970s - they will become more efficient, and probably more powerful, but at the same time, the exhaust emissions will be lower than ever.


The V8s we have today are already far different than those in the '60s and '70s. The '60s and '70s units were two-valve pushrod, carbureted units with few to no emissions controls, mechanical engine controls, and were frequently very large-displacement units (particularly in the 1970s.) Today's V8s are computer-controlled, moderate-displacement, fuel-injected units with stringent emissions controls. Some are two-valve pushrod designs (albeit with multiple cams and variable valve timing) but quite a few are OHC units with 3-4 valves/cylinder. They're much more powerful and efficient engines than the '60s and '70s units pound for pound, despite all of the emissions controls and generally lower-octane unleaded fuel currently in use. They also last a whole lot longer too.

Quote:
i have read acouple of people criticising fuel consumption targets, we should not be afraid of them, but use them as a spur to the engineers who design the engines, to make them better than ever.


The problem is where the fuel consumption targets are coming from and how they are implemented. The targets in the U.S. are mandated by legislation (CAFE) and non-attainment of the targets are punished with fines. That's absolutely political and IMHO the exact wrong thing to do. The government doesn't have much of a clue as to the nuts and bolts of the automotive industry and the consumer auto market and thus try to set unrealistic goals. The automakers pretty much keep on making what people will buy and pay large fines every year since making vehicles that will meet the targets are either very unappealing to customers (how many people really want to drive a Smart or a pickup with 4-foot box and a maximum 2000-pound towing capability?) or simply impossible to make. Thus the legislation accomplishes little beyond being an additional tax.

Quote:
Similarly, I think we should be more embracing of alternative fuels, like LPG LNG and CNG, admittedly they are not as energy efficient as petrol or diesel but they are cleaner, so let's use them as a way of showing our environmental credentials, while still induging in the passion of driving.


Modern diesel and gasoline engines are very clean, particularly with the advent of diesel particulate filters and ultra-low sulfur diesel for on-road diesel engines. CNG and LPG are very good fuels since they have a very high octane rating and can be used to make more power than gasoline or diesel in an engine of similar size and weight, and they also have a decent amount of domestic production. However, the fuel is considerably more difficult and dangerous to handle and store than gasoline or diesel and that limits their desirability in on-road vehicles quite a bit. A truck with 200 gallons of diesel in the tank that gets in an accident is a fire hazard, a truck with an equivalent amount of CNG at thousands of PSI in a tank that gets in an accident has the potential to be a massive bomb. That is one reason why most LPG and natural gas-powered engines are stationary engines and simply have the fuel piped to them at a few PSI.

gazfast said:
Generally speaking yes, in one form or another, sadly this is a reality of modern life, and one we need to deal with, that is why I suggest we view them asa spur, rather than as another chain around our nexks.


It doesn't have to be a reality of modern life unless you let it. CAFE et al. is simply legislation and can be repealed by elected officials just as easily as it was enacted. Vote for people who aren't trying to tell us how to live our lives. An effective, meaningful spur to do things like improve fuel mileage has to come out of either public buying habits or an engineering lab, not from a legislature.

Quote:
Must admit I have thought of opening my own country though...


No kidding.
July 10, 2010 3:36:04 AM

This new generation of V engines, Mercedes-Benz has clearly demonstrated that the substantial development of internal combustion engines, but a lot of potential, and the V8 engines and running their sophistication suitable for the future.
July 20, 2010 7:30:18 AM

- The muscle car is thankfully dead and buried. They where crap, no true driver would ever think of owning one (can't take a bend, lousy hp/cc, worst brakes in the world, very bad build quality). Fortunately there are people taking care of all that waist. American cars, my favorite kind, are better then ever - and will be even better once they start actually spending a bit of money on quality and better engine management.
- 2011 Mustang is finally going to get proper rear suspension (at least it will be better then a XIXth century Wagon).
- Cadillac CTS-V (which I own) has/had the record for fastest four dour saloon at the Nurburgring (sp?), beating such rivals as the M5...
- Dodge Viper (which I own): Absolute record for a production car, also at the Ring.
- Corvette : Absolute record at the Ring, for a week - until the Viper took it away.

So thankfully the muscle car is dead - bring on the Well-Built, Good-Handling American cars!!!

P.S. - Ford Mustang Shelby GT500's 540bhp and 510lb ft torque obtained from a 5.4-litre supercharged V8 is absolutely ridiculous (any European or Japanese car builder would obtain that kind of power with a much smaller/higher revving engine).
July 20, 2010 1:43:35 PM

Northwolfe said:
- The muscle car is thankfully dead and buried. They where crap, no true driver would ever think of owning one (can't take a bend, lousy hp/cc, worst brakes in the world, very bad build quality). Fortunately there are people taking care of all that waist. American cars, my favorite kind, are better then ever - and will be even better once they start actually spending a bit of money on quality and better engine management.
- 2011 Mustang is finally going to get proper rear suspension (at least it will be better then a XIXth century Wagon).
- Cadillac CTS-V (which I own) has/had the record for fastest four dour saloon at the Nurburgring (sp?), beating such rivals as the M5...
- Dodge Viper (which I own): Absolute record for a production car, also at the Ring.
- Corvette : Absolute record at the Ring, for a week - until the Viper took it away.

So thankfully the muscle car is dead - bring on the Well-Built, Good-Handling American cars!!!


- You do realize that the Mustang is a modern muscle car, don't you? The rest are pretty close to muscle cars as they fairly closely follow the traditional formula of a small-bodied car with a powerful, large-displacement engine up front and a relatively spartan interior. The CTS-V fits this category a bit less well than the others since it is gussied up a lot, but it has a lot of the Corvette's hardware.

- The worst brakes in the world belong to Toyota. ;) 

- German cars are at the bottom of the barrel today as far as build quality and reliability goes. That title used to be held by British cars and their goofy positive-ground electrical systems made by the infamously-bad Lucas.

- HP per cc or liter is a pretty meaningless metric when you really get down to it. HP per pound of engine weight or cubic foot of overall engine size is a much better metric of an engine packing a lot of power into a small, light package. If we have a 4.0 L and a 6.0 L engine that both make 500 hp, weigh 450 pounds, and have the same external measurements, what did you gain by having a smaller displacement? The car handles the same because the engine bay is the same size and the engine weighs the same. Maybe you get a tiny improvement in fuel economy at idle, but that would be only if the engine is turbocharged or naturally-aspirated. And in that case, the 4.0 L unit is less powerful than the 6.0 L one unless you're near redline as all of the power would have to come at the top end of the RPM range. That brings me to two laws of engine performance: "there is no replacement for displacement" (except a non-centrifugal supercharger, which effectively adds displacement over the whole RPM range) and "you buy horsepower but drive torque."

- Saloons don't mix with cars and the Mustang isn't a wagon. But then again, you Commonwealthers also drive on the wrong side of the road :kaola: 

Quote:
P.S. - Ford Mustang Shelby GT500's 540bhp and 510lb ft torque obtained from a 5.4-litre supercharged V8 is absolutely ridiculous (any European or Japanese car builder would obtain that kind of power with a much smaller/higher revving engine).


They would obtain the same peak horsepower figures, but they wouldn't get anywhere near the same amount of torque and the power would all be at the very top end of the RPM range. That's fine for a racing car that spends most of its time close to redline and where sustaining a top speed is more important than acceleration, but the opposite is true for a road car. You have a lot of stop and go traffic in town and the engine lopes along at 1500-2500 rpm while cruising on the highway. If the engine doesn't start making real power until 6000 rpm, you have a lot of "I'm pressing the gas pedal but nothing's happening" to get from idle or 1500-2500 rpm to 6000 rpm. The super-high-RPM screamer of an engine feels pretty darn weak under normal conditions as a result. I can't blame them as their governments have stupid laws on gasoline engine displacement so they can't make very many large-displacement gasoline engines. I'd be strictly buying diesel-powered vehicles if I lived over there as they do have a lot of low-end torque and the Europeans tax diesel less than gasoline.
July 21, 2010 12:30:38 PM

I think I may need to disagree with you here...

I was spending some time in a 1.4 Nissan Micra a while back, and that thing took off like a bat out of hell from idle right through to redline. And that engine does not make anything remotely resembling real power. Granted, the zip dies suddenly at about 130KM/h, but in town you cannot go that fast anyway, and with speed limits, 130KM/h is 10 over. And that car was lovely in the town, parking was a total snooze, it was cheap to maintain, and surprisingly comfortable. I just could not get comfortable in the back...

I mentioned the engine runs out of zip at 130KM/h. This is where the car's weight, setup, and aerodynamic efficiency come into play. Sticking a 1.6 engine in there would improve the top speed, but would not do much (if anything) to the fuel mileage below ~100KM/h. This is more than just a theory.

In 2001, I got my driver's licence at the same time as a friend of mine did, and our parents gave us both cars - only difference between the two cars being colour and engine size. Mine was a 1.3, hers was a 1.8, both were Citi Golfs - a South African variant on the VW Golf mk1/Rabbit that was manufactured until 2007, I think... anyway. So there was a 500cc difference between the two engines.

After about two years of (meticulously logged) usage and much comparing of notes, the following pattern emerged: my car would often be the one used to/from class, while the moment the gang wanted to go somewhere that would require spending time on the highway, we'd use hers. In town, the fuel usage of the two cars was very slightly worse on the 1.8. Above 80, though, the 1.8 was far lighter on fuel than the 1.3 - and the 1.8 could easily hit 170, while the 1.3 struggled to hit 150.

Granted, above 140 the 1.8 fuel usage suddenly started climbing again.

We could change it up with another 'small' car - a muscle car with the obligatory 5.7 V8. True, on the open road the 5.7 will cruise very comfortably at 200KM/h, and very economically, yet at town speeds with the classic stop-start style driving, the 1.3 Golf will KILL it.

It comes down to simple physics and chemistry. Okay, the bigger engine provides more motive power, but it is not providing that power simply because it is bigger - the reason why more displacement = more power is because more air and fuel get burned in the larger cylinders. This is also why turbocharging and supercharging are so popular - the air is being forced into the engine at a higher pressure, increasing the mass of air, thus allowing an increase in the mass of fuel. Petrol burns in air at around 15 parts air to 1 part petrol, hence a 15:1 ratio - this is called the 'stoichiometric mixture'.

We have the ideal engine, made of ideal materials and having an internal friction of 0. It has a single cylinder of volume V. Now if V = 400cc, then to successfully burn it needs 33.4cc of petrol and 365.6cc air. Let us now make V = 800cc. 66.8cc petrol/733.2cc air. Admittedly, this also increases the power output at the flywheel, so the additional displacement is not wasted. Incidentally, the 'ideal' at the beginning of this paragraph meant that I didn't have to bring frictional losses and other complexities into it, and I kinda skipped all of the compression stuff.

Adding that extra displacement can be achieved by increasing the bore, increasing the stroke, or increasing the number of cylinders, or by more complex methods like forced induction. The reason they use forced induction on those teeny-tiny European cars is not because of tight emissions standards or tax, but simply because you cannot stuff a big-block hemi V8 into a Golf body - and Golfs are not particularly small either. Not when compared to the Smarts or the kei cars. They are starting to compete with their muscle car cousins in terms of weight, though, due to safety features, air bags, climate controls, and so on, so they have to make up the power somewhere. Since we cannot have a practical car that is basically seats strapped to an engine, an alternative must be found... increasing the amount of air in the cylinder allows an increase in the amount of fuel, resulting in an increase in power - hence, turbocharging. This method is not limited to small engines - tuned BMW V12 with howling supercharger, anyone? Makes my hair stand on end, that sound, it's so AWESOME a noise!

At 1,000RPM idle on a 1,300cc engine, it should be using around 87cc per rev. A 2,600cc would use 174cc. Since the 2.6L will most likely have an extra two cylinders, we can add a (negligible) amount of internal friction for the extra two pistons, conrods, and so on. Not enough to really be noticed, though, so let's call it 174.0001cc. The upshot is is that a MINIMUM amount of fuel will be required to run an engine under no-load conditions, and the higher the displacement, the larger the minimum will be. Further, the larger engines tend to be fitted only to larger cars - which have more weight, so need more power to get moving.

Where it gets very interesting, though, is one would assume from the above that it's automatic - larger engine = more fuel needed? Wrong, and this is the bit where power-to-weight ratio comes into play.

One car I spent a lot of (unpleasant) time was a Daewoo Espero - a.k.a. Generic Motors J-platform, with 1.8i engine, and shares a badge with a microwave. This car embodies the reason why I despise Generic Motors with a venomous loathing - it is so flipping generic it's depressing. And the same can be said for EVERY Generic Motors I've ever been in. This car, driven like a grandmother, would give me at MOST 340KM off a tankful of petrol - that is, 45 liters. It weighed 1.3 tons. Which is a mere 70KG less than what my Audi 200 weighs... and said Audi 200 has the 2.2 liter 5 cylinder engine, connected to an 80-liter tank, which lasts on average 850KM. So in this case the displacement actually has the opposite effect to the one expected. The car with the bigger engine actually uses LESS fuel.

At the low-end, both cars had very similar pull - the Audi being smoother is all - until one hits third gear. Then the Generic suddenly seems to go backwards. Further, the Generic craps out at 170KM/h, while the Audi goes on to do... well, I've had it up to 245 before, and that was simply because I was not watching the instruments. This is similar to the Citi Golf example above, with one subtle difference - in the Citi Golf example, both cars had identical bodies. Between the Generic Motors Daewoo Espero ('I Wait' in Spanish) and the Audi 200, the 200 has a lower Cd (aerodynamic drag coefficient). The lower Cd means that the Audi encounters less air resistance than the GM Microwave Iwait. The increased engine displacement means that the Audi uses less effort to get moving from rest. Combined, the Cd and displacement result in a higher top speed - not that I often use that due to speed limits - or improved economy.

I like the newer Mustangs, particularly since they got with the program i.t.o. handling, but I still get the feeling that they decided it was a 'small' car when they parked it next to a Galaxie or something.

Meh, it's that whole tomayto/tomaato story all over again.
July 28, 2010 3:52:16 PM

chunkymonster said:
Uh, yeah, today's "muscle cars" are watered down versions of the originals.

Comparing a 1966 Pontiac against a ZR1 is like trying to compare a civil war era Gatling gun to the M230 chain gun. Apples and oranges.

Now if you asked to put up my old Catalina against a 1966 C2 corvette with a 396, I'd be willing...



How about comparing a '66 Pontiac to an 06 Charger SRT8, or an '09 Challenger SRT8? The modern muscle car still lives and factory stock vs factory stock (meaning exactly as they came off the show room), the modern car will flat out destroy anything built back then.

The great thing about today's muscle is that they run great, get decent mileage (I just traded in my 06 Charger SRT8 last year after nearly 3 years of ownership), are reliable, will go around corners much faster than many sporty cars and will run low 13's through the 1/4 mile. Plus, when you hammer the brakes, it feels like you just dropped an anchor. There is no comparison between 40-some years ago and now.
November 16, 2010 12:20:10 AM

V8 engines will probably be gone in new production in a few years - maybe 4 or 5.
Peak oil is coming sometime in the next few decades and internal combustion engines will have to be phased out. JMHO,
Dave
January 17, 2011 4:00:46 AM

Mugz said:
What actually makes a car a 'muscle car'?

Is just having a huge engine under the bonnet good enough, or does it have to be American, RWD, useless at everything except straight lines and gentle left turns, and a huge V8 specifically?


Sometimes. Not when referring to the cadillac CTS-V. Yup its got a gigantic V8, a supercharged one at that. Oh yeah and it's rear wheel drive, so i guess that would make it the dumb american muscle car you are trying to project right?? WRONG, its the fastest luxury sedan in the world both in a straight line and round a corner. But the best part about this car? The fact that it costs half as much as all your over priced euro junk and still manages to mop the floor with them in every aspect

PS, cadillac is american... in case you forgot.
January 17, 2011 3:16:05 PM

There are number of technologies that can make V8s more powerful and fuel efficient such as Variable Valve Timing (VVT), Cylinder shut off, light weight materials, and Hemispherical (Hemi) Cylinders, but they cost MONEY!!!! The V8 will stick around for a while, but the technologies to make it more full efficient will make it more expensive and will put newer V8s out of reach for some people.

Better technology can also make V6s more powerful and efficient. Ford recently made their V6 Mustang more powerful by using a Dual Overhead Cam rather than the Single Overhead Cam they previously used. They had to do this to compete with the entry level Camero because the old anemic SOHC V6 wasn't cutting it.
January 28, 2011 12:02:30 PM

tbh i think that the future wont change the demand for these machines is to much for any goverment to handle if anything the car manufactures will change way before any goverment laws are introduced. the newest tech can independantly power each wheel with a turbine meaning that 450bhp and 220mph is achievable, did i mention this is an electric car and the equivelent to that v8 marvel
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