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What Defines Car Performance? A Guide

What Defines Car Performance? A Guide

If we think about all the inventions that have revolutionised modern life, which one stands out the most? Some may say the steam engine and its effect on modern manufacturing and the industrial revolution. Others may say the computer. And while these are true, they don’t hold up to the invention of the car.


Can you picture your life without a car? It’s hard to imagine. Cars get us to work, to school, to the shops and away on the weekends. Life without cars would be dull, and boring – we’d have to stay put all the time!


But what makes a car perform well? What defines car performance? Or what is a performance car?


In this helpful article, we’re going to discuss performance cars, and also what car performance means. 


What Are Performance Cars?


What sets a performance car aside from a regular car?


Simply put, a performance car has above-average abilities in the following areas:


  • Acceleration
  • Top speed
  • Cornering 
  • Braking


There is some debate about how much performance in these areas is needed to move a car’s classification from standard to performance. 


Other aspects may include responsive and tight steering, curve-hugging and flawless handling.


How is Performance Measured?


There’s no real right or wrong way to measure the performance of one of these types of cars.


Some people may say that it is based on their 0 – 100 kph time. While others will say it’s handling that matters. For instance, if a car is taken on a test track, how does it handle on a series of right or left turns, and how quickly does it straighten out? 


Braking response is another key indicator of performance. If a car can go very fast, the ability to slow down and brake safely is an essential feature. 


Is a Muscle Car a Performance Car?


Not necessarily. Why, you ask? Well, let’s explain. 


Some people see a muscle car and think it’s a performance vehicle. But there is a key difference.


Muscle cars go fast, yes – but in a straight line. So do drag racers.

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A performance car differs from both of these automobiles with its superior handling and its braking abilities. 


What About Price?


Does the cost of a performance car scale up depending on the car?


The short answer is yes. There are mass-market performance cars available for under $40,000. And then there are performance cars that cost millions of dollars. There are only three of the most expensive performance cars in the whole world. So, you can likely find a performance car within your budget, and you can aspire to own the more expensive ones. 


What About the Ongoing Costs?


A high-performance car does come with its costs. You’ll find that the cost of maintenance and servicing, insurance, fuel and any repairs will be higher than a regular automobile. This is due to the specialised nature of these types of vehicles. But for owners and enthusiasts of this sort of car, they are happy to absorb the costs. Every hobby costs money, so if you’re into these cars be prepared to spend a bit more. After all, life is meant for fun!


Summing Up


In this useful article, we’ve explained what performance cars are, and what sets them aside from stock standard cars. We’ve also defined performance and explained the key differences between performance cars and muscle cars/drag racers. Finally, we’ve outlined the price range of these cars, as well as an explanation of the higher ongoing costs. Happy driving! 




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