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We've all been wondering about the future of GM and its performance, and we may have the beginnings of an answer.

The Future of Performance Cars - Yahoo! Autos

"GM: A DIFFERENT FORMULA

What will be the key performance-enabling technologies of the next decade?

To the extent that we can boost small-displacement engines, I think it's not just engine technology, because the power-to-weight ratio needs to be good. We have to do things in the industry relative to performance cars to really enable a different formula.

But I also think there are a lot of things yet to come on internal-combustion engines that will be helpful and enable that as well. So it's not over, but it will change, and it will change quite dramatically. The displacement and horsepower piece of that will only get better, in terms of how much we get out of lower displacements, but also it will move to lower displacements, and numbers of cylinders. Because we're going to go after the car -- with a vengeance. -Mark Reuss, General Motors North America President"



A FUTURE ACCORDING TO MAXIMUM BOB

What will be the key performance-enabling technologies of the next decade?

A lot of the performance mid-range and low-end torque may well wind up enabled by batteries and torque assistance, for fuel economy and performance. So, the idea of an ultra-performance hybrid car, maybe even plug-in, with say eight to 10 gasoline-free miles in town and the rest of the time the electric drive system serving to enhance torque, is a very credible proposition. Two generations from now, it's entirely conceivable that a Corvette -- not a GM plan, this is just purely hypothetical on my part -- would be a direct-injection, stratified charge, twin-stage turbo-boosted two-liter, four-cylinder engine developing 800 horsepower.

Is the V-8 dead?

I think it's definitely moribund. Absolutely. Everything is moving to smaller engines and smaller numbers of cylinders. This new generation of Malibu will not be offered with a V-6. In cars that had both sixes and fours, the six is being kicked out, and everybody is emphasizing the smaller engine.

Final thoughts?

We had 75 years of Communism in China, where we raised generations of kids who never heard the sound of a decent engine. And yet, the minute the shackles are off, the Chinese youth are performance-car crazy. So I think it's an innate part of the human being, you could argue especially males, that we love high-performance automobiles. And if they can't buy them when they're young, they buy them when they're old. -Bob Lutz, former vice chairman, General Motors, member of advisory board, Lotus Cars

BY THE NUMBERS: WE LOOK BACK TO SEE WHAT'S AHEAD

Even performance cars like the 911 and Corvette have weighed over a ton and a half for 30 years. That these cars will fall to an even ton in 10 years seems unlikely. We examined data from the past 20 years for the 911 Carrera 2, base Corvette, Mustang GT, Miata, and M3 and plotted power, weight and the resulting power to weight ratios. We then used that data to project where these cars would be 10 years from now with no outside intervention. While the projected weights of Mustangs, Miatas, and M3s seem unlikely, the numbers for the 911 and Corvette are almost believable. Likely the most believable of these graphs is pounds to horsepower. How we get there is another story.

Weight - past and projected
WEIGHT: While the 911 and Corvette seem to have leveled out in weight, BMW continues to increase size and weight of the M3. It is unlikely that the M3 will ever reach the nearly 4100 projected pounds, but some of that will depend on the ever-inflating size of what was once the small Bimmer.

Horsepower - past and projected
HORSEPOWER: Although it's claimed the power war is over, the numbers say otherwise. Another battle is being fought on the emissions and efficiency fronts, as well as with government regulators. Future tech will allow smaller gas engines to be supplemented by electric motors. The Corvette may easily reach 533 hp and 40 mpg using a 350-horsepower forced-induction engine and a 183-horsepower electric motor.

POWER-TO-WEIGHT RATIO: While the Miata's power seems to have plateaued, we'd like to think that weight will start dropping substantially and decrease the pound/horsepower ratio. The Corvette is projected to reach 5 pound/horsepower by 2016, squarely where the ZR1 sits in 2011. Porsche can currently add more than 200 horses with a 250-pound KERS system, and the technology is still evolving.
 

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*sigh* It's sad, interesting, and intriguing all at the same time. I have very mixed emotions regarding the future of the automobile industry. I truly believe that there is enough room for both, econo-cars as well as V8 muscle. But at the same time, if they made an all electric plug in, that could go as fast as, and perform as well as, and go for as long on a single charge as, a gasoline powered ZO6, I'd buy it. And be priced at least the same. I welcome a new generation of car, just as long as it can function the same as the old generation. I don't see why we have to simply lay down our arms and bow down to gutless wonders. They seemed to think that back in the 80's, but then the 90's came along and brought with it, the concept of "modern muscle". I think there can be much more done and still keep what we have..
 

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If you read the whole article, it points out there's several companies who agree creating a 400HP, 40MPG engine is not too far fetched. When I think about performance, I'm thinking about the #s, not the cyclinders. IE a 4 banger with 600HP would satisfy me, even though it's not a V8........
 

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Well, in Europe small displacement engines are very common. In the Americas not so much it seem. They take a 1,4, slap a turbocharger or two in there. And then we have 160hp car that is very cheap on gas. VW is very into this.

I do believe in electric engine support or full electric engines. Electric engined cars are incredible when accelerating. You cant believe how powerful they feel! From nothing!
 
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