Thursday, January 26, 2012

Letter to Motor Trend Magazine Regarding Performance Figures

Motor Trend magazine had the Car of the Year issue for January, 2012. There were a few discrepancies and their figure eight comparison needs more comparison relevance. Below is my letter to them.

On 44, the Hyundai Accent is presented with specs for the GLS and SE. Both are listed with the same horsepower. However the SE accelerated to 60mph 1.3 seconds quicker and the quarter mile .6 seconds sooner. There is either an error or horrible driving. If you’re going to list the two different sub-models, I suggested giving some space on the differences.

When Motor Trend publishes lap times from here, it really means something!

On page 61, the BMW 650i Coupe is 298lbs lighter than the 650i Convertible yet tested to be slower. I think a closer examination of the gear ratios and a comparison of the two transmissions in the same sub-model is warranted. One could extrapolate the 8-speed automatic makes up a 400lb weight deficit or, perhaps effectively 40hp?

Finally regarding the figure-8, this is a essentially a 3-metric measurement (acceleration, braking and lateral g-force combined with handling). Due to the relative extremely close grouping of virtually all your cars, it makes a comparison or perceived value virtually impossible. Spread it out a little like your excellent Laguna Seca lap database, and you have something very useful. I suggest providing a comparison chart for the vehicle in question with other vehicles in its class. And finally, a vehicle ranking chart along with other test result summaries so the rankings can be understood.

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