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Cost-Power Analysis of Popular Coupes (2006 and 2012)

(Note that the this article was originally written in 2006, but new data has been collected to reflect 2012 and to include a few hatchbacks and roadsters. It's interesting to note that cars have grown in cost per pounds per horsepower. In this economy, I'd have expected that you'd get more power and less weight for your dollar.)

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As the driver of a Mustang GT, I frequently find myself in discussions on the relative performance of different vehicles. Owners of high-end sports cars, like the Corvette, are quick to point out that they have half again as much horsepower as I do, and can beat me on the track at any time. I am just as quick to respond that my Mustang is still faster than nearly every other car on the road, and only cost me half as much.

To put an end to the argument once and for all, I came up with a simple way to quantify the relative value of a vehicle. I realized that raw horsepower becomes more necessary, the more car you have to drag around — that is, it is important to know how many pounds of car each horsepower is moving. The fewer pounds per horsepower, the quicker you'll go. The other measure is price. Clearly, the goal is to have the fewest pounds per horsepower at the lowest price.

To that end, I have collected the stats from a number of popular 2006 coupes, and now a number of models current in 2012 as well, and assembled them in the table below. The table is initially sorted by a value I refer to as "Cost", which represents the number of thousands of dollars in price times the pounds per horsepower. A lower cost represents the best value, and the new GTO topped the list in 2006. In 2012, the V6 Mustang is the new winner — not much of a surprise when you consider that it has 45 horsepower more than my old GT at the same weight and a lower price.

A higher cost indicates a sorely overpriced car, and as one might expect, the luxury brands have the highest cost for performance using these metrics.

You can sort the data in the table below by clicking on the column headers.

Show 2006 | 2012 | all

Year Name HP Weight lbs/HP Price Cost
2012 Ford Mustang V6 305 3,453 11.32 $22,310.00 25.3
2012 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 412 3,605 8.75 $29,710.00 26.0
2012 Chevrolet Camaro LS 323 3,780 11.70 $23,280.00 27.2
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 274 3,362 12.27 $24,250.00 29.8
2012 Nissan 370Z 332 3,245 9.77 $31,910.00 31.2
2012 Dodge Challenger SXT 305 3,834 12.57 $24,995.00 31.4
2012 Honda Civic Si 201 2,877 14.31 $22,205.00 31.8
2012 Hyundai Veloster 138 2,584 18.72 $17,300.00 32.4
2012 Volkswagen Beetle 170 2,939 17.29 $18,995.00 32.8
2013 Scion FR-S 200 2,770 13.85 $24,200.00 33.5
2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata 167 2,480 14.85 $23,470.00 34.9
2012 Fiat 500 101 2,363 23.40 $15,500.00 36.3
2011 BMW 1 Series M 335 3,362 10.04 $36,135.00 36.3
2012 Volkswagen GTI 200 3,034 15.17 $23,995.00 36.4
2012 Chevrolet Corvette 430 3,208 7.46 $49,600.00 37.0
2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 470 4,160 8.85 $43,995.00 38.9
2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS 162 3,272 20.20 $19,499.00 39.4
2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT 265 3,609 13.62 $29,089.00 39.6
2012 MINI Cooper Hatchback 121 2,535 20.95 $19,500.00 40.9
2012 Honda CR-Z 122 2,657 21.78 $19,545.00 42.6
2012 BMW 128i 230 3,208 13.95 $31,200.00 43.5
2012 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 505 3,175 6.29 $75,600.00 47.5
2011 Lotus Elise SC 217 2,041 9.41 $54,990.00 51.7
2012 BMW M3 414 3,704 8.95 $60,100.00 53.8
2012 BMW 328i 230 3,362 14.62 $38,700.00 56.6
2012 Porsche Cayman 265 2,932 11.06 $51,900.00 57.4
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 345 3,075 8.91 $79,000.00 70.4
2011 Lotus Evora 276 3,047 11.04 $64,000.00 70.7
2012 BMW 640i 315 4,001 12.70 $73,600.00 93.5

Table: Cost-Power Analysis of Popular Coupes
Source: www.edmunds.com, Feb 18, 2006 and Apr 9, 2012


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