As much of a horror story it is to my parents, I am a teenager. This means that people will make the effort to go to the other side of the pathway to avoid that ‘rough youth’. To make matters worse, I am a teenager who is rather fond of cars. Which apparently translates into: I like cars with exhausts as wide as paint buckets and I believe that painting your brake calipers red adds 50bhp, innit.Call me abnormal, call me mentally ill, but I do like normal cars. I get excited with diesel torque and I get blown away by MPG figures. Plainly then, I am not your average 16-year-old. Which rather smoothly leads me on to the question that’s least likely to come from a teenager in the world ever: can you have too much power in your car?
Before you turn into keyboard warriors, I am not talking about the track here. Obviously, more power is better if you want to win races. No, what I’m talking about is everyday life; that tedious dual carriageway work commute and the painful 20mph residential speed limits.
|These have over 700bhp for a reason|
These days, you can quite easily walk into a car dealer and walk out with the keys of a car that is capable of cracking 0-60 in less than three seconds – providing your bank robbery was successful – and drive it on the same asphalt as 18 second Nissan Micras.
Take the Ferrari F12 as a prime example. Before the LaFerrari growled out from the covers, this was the most powerful Ferrari ever made, complete with pin-sharp steering and a noise that made grown men weak to their knees. 0-60 is done in 3.1 seconds, and you’ll be comfortably over 200mph before the car decides to stop accelerating. But how often can you actually use that speed? How often will you be able to flex the car’s massive muscles?
|We have all been stuck behind these at least once|
The answer is, quite clearly, barely ever. Even if you find a nice straight, it will only be a split second of full throttle before you’re stuck behind a Daewoo Matiz for the next million miles. Not to mention the fact that there seems to be speed cameras virtually everywhere these days; so good luck running your car any further than 2nd gear to the redline.
And while clearly the snarling V12 will always give you goose bumps when it fires into life, and the prancing horse on the steering wheel will always make you feel quite smug, knowing you can’t use your car to its full potential must be so stressful. Which isn’t exactly helped by the fact that you’ve just forked out £240,000 for it.
|On the track, and on the track only|
So we have established that owning a supercar in the real world should continue to remain as your daydream. But what about those that still want power and speed?
Well, you lot are catered for brilliantly. Take the Ford Focus ST: a car that will crack 0-60 in 6.5 seconds and emit very spine-tingling rude noises, which can only ever be a good thing. Of course, it is much slower than the Ferrari (which is now just a dot in the horizon), but the most important thing is that all 247 of the Ford’s horses are accessible pretty much whenever you want them.
|And this, ladies and gentlemen, is on the road|
The accessibility and the fun nature of the car arguably makes this a better real world car than the Ferrari F12. You can also take this car to its ragged edge without having to go loads of miles an hour over the limit. Not only will this mean your license will remain cleaner than McLarens building assembly line, it also means you’ll be able to do it more frequently. On your local roundabout, maybe. Actually, don’t do that; I don’t want to be responsible for somebody’s death quite yet.
|I wasn't lying about that McLaren metaphor|
So what can you take away from this article? Well, you have just read a teenager claiming that a family Ford car is better than a Ferrari. And that is time of your life you’ll never be able to get back.
This article first appeared on Motor Paper
Is it possible to have too much power? Reviewed by Jack Cooper on 09:54 Rating: