The automotive industry has tirelessly been cheapening horsepower over the last couple of decades. Now, we find ourselves in an era of a gross abundance of vehicles in all shapes and sizes offering 500 horsepower or more. Here’s a look at three distinctly different cars with that much juice–let’s see how they compare.
In Staff Writer Kristen Lee’s corner, there’s the new Ford Mustang GT350. An enthusiast’s machine. A performance version of a performance version of America’s muscle car, available with a manual transmission and a sense of over-inflated ego—a pure manifestation of democratizing power to the people.
It’s also the most affordable vehicle in today’s trio, and therefore most accessible car on our list, with 526 HP available for a starting price under $60,000. What a deal.
Then there’s the new BMW X4 M Competition driven by Deputy Editor Mike Ballaban—a car I personally drove and frankly enjoyed well before my colleague had a chance—but for the purposes of this video I have to disagree with his choice.
It’s what some would call a crossover coupe, by far the most controversial bodystyle in our test, and for many a symbol of everything wrong with performance BMWs today. Sure it has power, but it’s also tall, ugly, harsh to drive around town in—and let’s be honest, it’s just never going to have the same level of respect as the other two cars here.
The X4 M doesn’t even start with 500 HP, but actually 473 HP. You have to get the M Competition to get yourself into The Club, and even then just barely, at 503 HP.
And then in my hands, there’s the Acura NSX. I’ve gone from being bored of this car before it ever even came out, to admiring it for its bold hybrid drivetrain that tries to offer top-tier hypercar technology for a fraction of a hypercar’s price, to thinking it’s actually a decent-looking, great-driving car for somebody who doesn’t want to sign for an Audi R8.
But compared to these other two, it’s somehow the flashiest of the bunch, actually feels like a step forward in performance technology when driving (the hybrid whine coupled with engine noise from the twin-turbo V6 is extremely cool), you get to tell people you drive an NSX, and then you get to tell them about the cool AMERICAN facility built solely to produce this car (before Acura ruined it with that weak TLX PMC sedan.)
Anyway, the NSX is the most expensive car in our test, this specific car coming in around $170,000, and packing 573 HP, it’s also the most powerful.
In the end, two of us sort of conceded to the other and, for the first time in forever it seems, a Jalopnik video actually came to a conclusion. Let us know which car you think is the best for the money, and please try to scrub my jingle from your memory as soon as possible.