7 Sports Cars that Lied about Their Horsepower Output

Cheating on horsepower ratings is not an uncommon practice in the automotive world. In theory it's not unlike a food company putting less calories on the package than what the food contains but in reality a few less calories will cost a lot less than a few less horsepower.

Sports cars manufactures often report lower output figures than what the car and the engine actually delivers, even today !

This technique saves them a lot of money and of course saves us, the sports cars lovers, a lot of money too. The expected winnings from a new sports cars model are not as high as from a family sedan or a compact SUV. It's the easiest way to go around newly imposed taxes on emissions and cheat EPA and insurance houses. Even further, manufacturers often adjust the desired horsepower in order to get a more NHRA classification. In reality they didn't lie about the figures, just measured the power in conditions that were more favorable to their needs.

There are numerous ways to cheat, on of the tricks for lowering the insurance cost and category is to measure the peak horsepower below the max engine speed or when decreasing the RPM. If sports cars manufacturers wanted to achieve opposite results they would measure hp at the crank and not at the wheels or use an open-exhaust system. There are plenty of combos and tweaks that produce the desired results.

Either way figures can be manipulated but lets face it there are a lot more cars that are underrated than the once that are overrated, so here is our list of five cars that lied about their power ratings and gave us more than what we thought we got. Here's a spoiler, no Muscle cars, they will be covered in a different article.

Dodge Neon and Caliber SRT-4 
Years: 2003-2005, 2008-2009

neon SRT-4

 Everytime I write an article about cheap and fun cars, there is always someone that's unhappy who writes crap in the comment section, just because we missed out the SRT-4. To be honest, there are plenty of articles that praise the STR-4 as the underdog that was never recognized as the hero it deserves to be. But why do you think is that ? It may not be the most obvious cheater, but there is something else apart from the air conditioner that smells fishy around here.

The 2.4L turbo four Mopar was initially rated at the respectible 215 hp in 2003 and then at 230hp in 2004. This alone shows awesome potential, but the figures show that the SRT-4 makes more power measured at the wheels !

Another proof that the SRT-4 is underrated is that the Dodge Caliber which uses the very SAME SRT-4 was rated at 285 hp with a similar setup. Edmunt's managed to squeeze 281 at the wheel out of the Caliber. Sadly the potential of this little engine was never recognized as only 26 000 units were produced ( 25,000 Neon SRT-4s and 1,000 for the Caliber). In other words if you lay your hands on one, its value will only raise up!


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