Monday, April 4, 2011

How is this possible?

I've talked about this before, but I have to bring it up again. Why can't American car manufacturers build decent cars or engines? Take the Chrysler Crossfire for example. Somehow, and I just can't fathom how they managed this, they built a 3.2 litre V6 engine and managed to only get 215hp out of it. Or the Plymouth Prowler with it's 3.5 litre V6 that produced 1hp less than the Crossfire at 214hp. I could build the same engine out of Lego and accidentally get 300hp out of it. It's like they're stuck in the 80s - an era when Ford managed to produce a Mustang - a 'muscle car' - that produced a pathetic 111hp out of a 4.2litre V8. Bear in mind the same year that came out, Audi had the 5-cylinder 2 litre inline engine that produced 110hp. How could Ford have 3 extra cylinders, a 'V' engine layout and more than double the capacity and only gain 1 extra horsepower? Given the comparitive weight of the cars, that means a stock 1985 Audi Coupe GT could easily out run a 1984 Ford Mustang (and it could certainly out-handle it).
It takes a peculiar sort of skill to build big engines with no power. To put it into perspective, my current ride - a VW Tiguan - has a 2 litre 4 cylinder engine that produces 200hp. If the Germans and the Japanese can manage it, why can't the Americans. Really. It's not that difficult.

9 comments:

JamesB1985 said...

Check out Chryslers new Pentastar 3.6 L. It's quite impressive.
-Variable cam timing with dual independent cam phasing to flatten the power output
-Lightweight block — saves on aluminum and reduces overall vehicle weight (improving balance, too); reportedly 20 lb lighter than GM’s V6 block, saving $40/engine on aluminum
-Liquid cooled 60-degree V6 with deep-skirt aluminum block and heads
- 305 HP and 270 Lb-Ft of torque.
Don't be so fast to right Mopar off..They may be making a comeback

Paul said...

And the latest 5.0 Mustang engines at 305HP.
And what about the torque figures for the engines? I might be wrong (quite often am if you believe the wife!) but in this very argument a few months ago a friend said that the torque figures of the US engines were, in general, far better than that of the European engines.

Klaas said...

Erm... What's so impressove about a 305 bhp 3.6 with 270 torques? Oh, you mean they are actually catching up! Yes, I agree, that's an improvement over the previous gen engines though. But really, that's not actually something to be amazed of is it? They're merely up to (mo)par. Variable cam timing? Lightweight block? Liquid cooled? What's new there?

305 bhp out of a 5 litre? God almighty. I hope it'll be outputting some serious torques because that's just rediculous. Not that it will make a difference though, it'll end up in a 2-tonne-something Camaro, weighing the nose down, and not actually go anywhere real fast.

Honda gets 250 bhp out of a 2 litre atmospheric 4 pot. Ten years ago. Admittedly, it won't give you all that torque low down, but who needs torque when you can rev? Hmmm... Wait... You can't rev with thise auto's. And then I'm just comparing a 2 litre with your 'beast' there. Pretty sure I don't have to tell you about torque on European engines.

And what about fuel consumption? The message is starting to get across with fuel prices rising, but wait... Shock horror it's not going to come down either. In 4-5 years it'll be doubled again.

I really hope for the American car industry that Fiat will bring you some engineers to start working on good engines. You have to know there are quite a couple of reasons why Europeans don't really fancy going American. Chassis and ride, quality of finish mainly interior, and... lazy engines.

Klaas said...

PS - For that 5 litre I focused on bhp because that's the one figure you gave and I derived from your posting that you thought that was actually pretty impressive for a 5 litre.

I know American engines try to focus on putting less stress on parts, but in the end it just means you really can't compare those figures to other equally sized engines. I also haven't heard any impressive stories about stellar mileage American engines, so I presume all that 'understressed' buzz is just to allow for lesser quality materials.

However, the 1st reaction was the important one, about that 3.6 v6. It's not special, it's just doing what it's supposed to do and kind of getting in line what Europeans expect when they hear about a 3.6. So I hope they also used the higher quality materials, otherwise it'll all end up in tears again.

JamesB1985 said...

Why go with a VW Tiguan that makes 200 HP out of a 4 cylinder when you couldve gone for Honda S2000 that makes 240 out of a 2 Liter inline 4 and looks 10X better than Ugly Volkswagons, are we talking about the same company that makes the 'Beetle?'

Chris said...

Love the S2000 but its just not practical for my needs right now. And I like the Tig :)

Paul said...

My mistake, the 5.0 is 412 hp and 390 ft-lb. The 3.7 V6 is 305 hp with 280 ft-lb. The spec's of the V6 is basically the same as a BMW 3 series (5 more hp but 20 fewer ft-lb), and economy is 31 mph.
So IMHO not so bad.

Klaas said...

Paul, you're right, the 3.7 isn't bad, it's in line with other 3.7's (give or take a few). But why JamesB1985 was impressed with it, beats me - all the techology mentioned has been around since what, 10 years?

As for that 5 litre, still not that impressed with the specs. I mean, again it's in line with other engines, so they're merely catching up. But I agree that catching up is way better than lagging behind.

Now, next up: making sure those cars handle as well as they look and weigh less than a house.

Paul said...

I certainly agree the american engines are only catching up, that they're no better than the euro gear.

Haha, re the handling, why the Mustangs still have a solid rear axle is beyond me. I believe the Camaros have IRS and the Corvettes have had it for a while whereas Euro and Japanese have had it for years.

As you may have guessed I'm a Mustang fan (60s and 1999 on) so am a" little" one eyed :-)