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.

You can't spell "Cheater" without Volkswagen !

Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk VII

Years: 2014-Present


The Golf has been clearly understated since it's production began in 1974, but the cheating was more serious in the newer versions of the car. The sixth generation of the GTI kicks in quite good, thanks to it's 217 horsepower engine (official figures provided by VW ). Unfortunatelly for VW (but fortunately for us) the sports hatchback produces a bit more than 260hp when put on the dyno for a completely stock car It's not hard to imagine Volkswagen pulling suck a trick as, the same 2.0L engine in the performance pack give you 227 hp and especially when you consider that the GTI clubsport( 261hp) and the GOLF R(300hp) use the same exact engine with a bit of tweaks here and there, then something doesn't quite add up. Anyway, the inspectors at the iND also claimed that the the stock car produces 314 lb-ft of torque instead of the 258 that the VW is advertising.

So how does this work out ? Well, the car has a chip that lowers the power of the engine when the rear wheels are stationary (for example when the car is on the dyno) but, when the rear axel spins (when the car is on the road), the computer changes the engine's settings to deliver a more powerful punch. Still, the GTI is one of the best hatchback cars !


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