Sunday, July 5, 2009

How much car do you really need?

When I spotted these two cars recently I really thought that's a very nice illustration of the question "how much car do you really need". The two cars couldn't be more different.
The Honda S800, built in the sixties, is really small (lemgth: 3.30m, width: 1.40m, height: 1.20m), light (735kg), but still accommodates two people and bit of luggage. Its 791 ccm engine delivers 70 HP at 8'000 RPM, enough to run 160 km/h. It is economical too, with some 6 to 9 liter per 100 km (travel mode). By the way, 8'000 RPM was really exciting in the 60ies, most cars didn't even rev up to 6'000 RPM at that time. There's a lot fo motocycle technology in this car.
The Bentley Arnage, built between 1998 and today (final series) is sort of the pure opposite. It
is large (length: 5.40m, width: 1.93m, height: 1.52m), heavy (2'585 kg) and yes, it seats 5 people and the ones sitting in the back will not be unhappy. Its fuel consumption is certainly not greenish with 19.5 liter per 100 km, or up to 28.8 liter in the city. With 6'752 ccm and more than 500 HP there's enough power in this former Rolls Royce engine with lots of tradition coming with it to accelerate the car in less than 6 seconds to 100 km/h and reach 288 km/h.
So, both cars can transport people from A) to B), both use the same basic engineering concepts (rear wheel drive, gasoline powered four stroke engine), but the way it's packaged and built couldn't be much more diverse. And none of the typical Bentley driver would ever look at the Honda, and none of the S800 aficionados would ever consider a Bentley as being fun to drive. Which means at the end, that everybody has to find HIS answer to the question of how much car he really needs.

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