Why are cars so heavy

plasticpig

Original Poster

11,255 posts

174 months

The original Porsche 911 weighed 1080Kg. The heaviest modern 911 (Turbo Cabriolet Tiptronic) weighs 1690Kg. This thread was prompted by a startling claim I heard last night by the owner of a Jaguar XJR that his car was lighter than a 911. Pretty much everyone took the piss out of him for this statement. On the face of it sounds ridiculous. I wasn't so convinced so didn't comment. So some googling reveals an XJR weighs in at 1665kg. So a 'sports' car that weighs in at more than a 4 door luxury saloon?

ewenm

28,506 posts

194 months

Why? Because for a few years now, manufacturers have concentrated on better performance from bigger engines and more power, not reducing weight - so need stronger components to handle the extra power, stronger crash structures all of which adds weight. Plus, look at how many more toys a modern 911 has compared to the original - they all add weight but people want them.

With fuel costs spiralling, I think that lightness and efficiency of design will be making a comeback shortly. The German horsepower war is faintly ridiculous now - 700bhp+ in a large saloon?

J111

3,354 posts

164 months

The weight's no great surprise, really. The Jag's aluminium and 2wd, the Porker's steel and 4wd. It's also reinforced to remove the roof and, despite being a 'sportscar', has much the same set of creature comforts as the Jag.

DrTre

12,955 posts

181 months

Modern cars are heinously bloated things and it's amusing that there are "new" subsectors being created like the 1007, the VW Fox etc...they're not new in any way shape or form, the manufacturers are just making each class of car larger at each new evolution which leaves a gap for smaller cars again.

Also, I've always been intrigued at what I see as being an increasingly fruitless exercise in chasing down just how safe a car can be?? (at the same time decreasing peoples risk awareness...ie, the car is so "safe" they can drive how the hell they like.)

Undoubtedly they are safer than the 60's and 70's due to some major innovations (the most notable being the very simple enforcing of wearing of a seatbelt) but what about in the last 20 years? Is it a case of diminishing returns for the cost of the investment in technologies?

What is the actual difference between survivability of an NCAP1* vs 4* car? Is it really that great? Is it really worth it for the negative impacts (npi) on a cars performance or size?

RobM77

33,500 posts

183 months

But from a crash point of view, that one is easy. Hundreds of yards to dissipate the energy, then hitting a rubber wall which sends the car upwards losing more energy. I've had more sudden stops falling from an airbed into the swimming pool

It's the "40mph - 0mph" in 3 feet where modern cars really shine
I don't think a driver in a road car would have survived that.

Besides, that was a small tongue in cheek point, I didn't really mean it seriously.
Airbags, crumple zones, ABS units, air con systems, big hifi/satnav options, the list goes on and on
Chunkier chassis for better crash protection, airbags, crumple zones, abs, aircon, adjustable seats, stupid fading lights, tiptronic gearboxes.

All weight alot more then something of an older nature!
General advances in driver comfort, sound proofing, equipment(air con, CD, heated everything, etc. etc.) and safety (impact zones, roll bars, impact bars, 20 air bags etc. etc.) have been quicker than advances in materials technology and construction techniques so cars get heavier.
[sarcasm] Do they weigh them to include the driver these days [/sarcasm]

OR, as above, the worlds collection of side impact beams, airbags, TC, ABS etc..
Simple answer - Safety.....
Only partly.

PAS, Aircon, Central Locking, Electric mirrors, Electric Windows, light wipers, surround sound, Ipod ready electric seats, and Catalytic converters have nothing to do with safety.

And to Be honest I personally would rather not have airbags, (just more to go wrong) and ABS does not improve accident stats.
Well I'd say that's a pretty conclusive set of replies.
Safety and options. Twenty years ago we didn't need electric everything and air con in a family hatch.

I must admit I do feel the manufacturers are often a little lazy. Although certain consumer demmands mean that cars will innevitably be heavier, I'm not convinced they couldn't be doing more to reduce the weight. It's shocking to think that a V6 engined MG ZS 5-door saloon is lighter than a modern Fiesta, which is itself twice the weight of an original Mini.
I'd be intrigued to see a Golf Mk1 crashed into a deformable barrier and then compare it with a modern Golf. I wonder if anyone's considered trying that.


RobM77

33,500 posts

183 months

I'd be intrigued to see a Golf Mk1 crashed into a deformable barrier and then compare it with a modern Golf. I wonder if anyone's considered trying that.
I prefer not to crash instead, it's much safer. Apparently this was an option 20 years ago but not any more
But from a crash point of view, that one is easy. Hundreds of yards to dissipate the energy, then hitting a rubber wall which sends the car upwards losing more energy. I've had more sudden stops falling from an airbed into the swimming pool

It's the "40mph - 0mph" in 3 feet where modern cars really shine
Bit unfair comparing an original basic 911 with the fattest current 911. A base 997 Carrera is a mere 1420kg.
I've always found it odd the EU demand more and more safety legislation, making cars heavier. Yet on the other hand they demand emissions reduction, which is easily done by making cars lighter. The makers can't win really

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