Voices

Peak Power is here, or why more power is sometimes just a waste of power

You flick to the end of the review to check out the peak power figures of the supercar you’re ogling, now back in the real world…

THE 2015 LEXUS RC F sitting on my driveway has a fantastic 5-litre V8 engine that sounds like far-off thunder below 3000rpm and beyond that like the gods are throwing firebolts.  At maximum acceleration you hit the redline of 7100rpm in the first of eight gears almost before your foot is to the floor.  Then there’s second gear with 100km/h reached at 6000rpm, 1100rpm below redline.  And then you’re at the legal limit, it’s all over about 4.2 seconds after you started.  

I doubt the car’s 351kW of power is fully utilised in the sprint, as all it does is turn rubber into smoke in the first gear and 6000rpm is some way off the top power figure in second gear.  So in reality you’re using maybe 300kW, who knows.

 
You’re not even able to appreciate the full beauty of the engine note either, other than that brief spurt in first gear. And sporty drives are basically leaving the car in second no matter what the road, or short-changing to third even before things get interesting.
 
Much as I love sportscars and power, this car’s capability cannot legally be enjoyed even out in rural roads. It is a vehicle that really needs to be taken to the racetrack where you can drive it flat-out up to 200km/h and preferably well beyond, feel that power, listen to that engine and exhaust.  Then it would be magic.
 
The other blue car is a much better choice for public-road driving.  Doesn’t have the sort of soundtrack that makes your heart skip a beat and your head turn, but there’s more to car enjoyment than V8 power you can’t really use, hear and appreciate.
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Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper