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Old 08-17-2001, 12:25 PM   #7
buymeabmwm3
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: princeton, New Jersey
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To echo carman's sentiments...
Peak acceleration in any given gear will occur at peak torque, while top speed in any given gear will occur at peak horsepower. The point here is that what matters most is the "power band", or the gap between when the peak torque occurs and when the peak hp occurs. If you look at a dyno chart you'll see two curves: the first is the torque curve that peaks usually in the range of 3000rpm, and the second is the hp curve that peaks later in the range of 5000rpm. To get the fastest 0-60 time, a driver would rev the engine to 3000 (the peak torque for 1st gear), drop the clutch and start accelerating. The revs will climb until 5000rpm where the peak horsepower occurs, and this is where the driver will want to change gears to second (dropping back to around 3000rpm and climbing again to 5000rpm). If the driver decided not to change gears yet, but continued to climb in revs, he will find that his 0-60 time will be less, since he is not using the engine to its full capacity.
Comparing the Honda s2000 (240hp@8300, 153 ft/lb@7500) and the BMW Mcoupe (240hp@6000rpm, 236 ft/lb@3800) you will notice that the Mcoupe has a much wider power band than the S2000 (2200rpm vs. 800rpm). This is an incredible difference. What this means is that the driver in the Mcoupe can stay in each gear LONGER than the driver in the S2000. Generally this results in faster 0-60 times even though the horsepower is the same (Mcoupe does it in 5.1 seconds, S2000 does it in 5.5 seconds).
But more importantly, having a wider power band is simply more fun to drive. You just stick it in a gear, gas it, and the engine will pull pull pull for a quite some time before you have to shift gears. You shift much less often and just focus on the driving. The guy in the S2000 has to shift and rev like mad to keep up.
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