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What Exactly Defines “Horsepower?”

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Definition Equals Work Over Time

When you see an automaker bragging that one car delivers 300 horsepower, while a competitor is only at 250, you probably understand that 300 is more than 250, but what else does it mean? The actual definition of horsepower is the amount of energy required to lift 33,000 pounds to a height of one foot over a period of one minute. James Watt, an industrialist inventor in the early 19th century, came up with the measurement as a way to try and sell his steam engines. As the engines were replacing the work done by horses, it made sense to him to use horsepower as a reference. Watt came up with the measurement, but Porsche put horsepower to good use by refining the sports car. See how much fun horsepower can be by visiting Porsche of Tucson and test driving the entire lineup of high performance autos and SUVs.

Automakers Fudged the Measurements

When American muscle cars came on the scene in the 1960s, the amount of available horsepower was a bragging right that affected sales tremendously. By unhooking much of the auxiliary equipment like alternators and water pumps, the amount of horsepower could be increased to influence buyers. This caused a problem when insurance companies started charging higher rates, and the job of determining actual horsepower was finally given to the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Porsche 918 Delivers 887 Horses

If you have an extra $850,000 in the couch cushions and want a hybrid that cranks out close to 900 horsepower, consider the Porsche 918. It has a V-8 and two electric motor mounted at each axle to provide even weight distribution and a neck-snapping 944 foot pounds of torque that makes you question the strength of the bolts holding the seats to the chassis.

Golden Age of Horsepower Going Through Renaissance

During the 1960s, a car’s horsepower was a badge of honor only sometimes outweighed by the size of the engine in cubic inches. Following the oil crisis of the 1970s, both cars and engines were downsized tremendously. That trend started to reverse in the 1990s and 2000s until the development of the 1,200 horsepower Bugatti Veyron in 2005, the most powerful production car ever. Most Porsches have a minimum of at least 300 horsepower that was developed from a rich racing heritage. Take some time and examine all the models at Porsche of Tucson to see which model has the power and performance to fit your needs.

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