Why are Euro cars more powerful than American cars?

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I don't want the simple answer, I know Europeans generally design better cars.

But I want to know why European companies can make cars with tiny engines like 800cc's (unheard of in the North American market) that can be as powerful as a 2.0 L engine in the U.S. This I always thought was due to emissions regulations being stricter in America. However, I've been "discussing" (more like arguing) this with a coworker for a few days, and he says that European regulations are stricter, and the Europeans still design cars with less emissions.

I tried to google this as best I could, and I didn't come up with much. If someone can find a webpage or can explain it really well, please help.

posted by  Mathew

umm 800cc compared to a 2000cc having the same power...errr...no. okay. i have owned three VWs of various types, my boss owns a BMW and a porche 944, my last G/F had a old school BMW and no, they have no power. They can reach a higher speed because the dual duty nature for autobahn use trickles down into the american sold cars. but my jetta is slow, the scircco was slow, the GTI 16v was slow, the bmw is slow, the 944 is kinda slow but still really nice and everything is WAY too over priced. Better than that, they suck ass to work on. Hell, to check my spark plugs i have to remove my intake manifold, throttle body and replace some gaskets along the way. Takes around 2 hours. My Mazda's --> 5 minutes. Hmmm...

To me european engineering is crap. i wont even acknowledge renualt or MG. becuase they are horrible. The only good euro cars are the Mini (relieble BMW) and the occasional Peguot. Did you know that the VW Phanton (spelling?) has 77 moving parts in the cups holders? now that is just not needed. better yet, the seats are 17 way adjustable. i cant think of 17 ways to make my seat move!!!!

As for emissions. not sure, but i know that german has aerodynamic standards that any automotive product must make before being allowed to be sold.

posted by  Low Impedance

europeans make tiny engines but not 800 cc?? :screwy: those are the japanese shopping trolley's

posted by  pornking

isn't it that American cars aim for more torque, whereas japan is RPMs and europe is a balance of both?

posted by  Godlaus

American market has different needs? People like big engines with lots of torque whereas European and Japanese prefer small engines with high horsepower. like my Mustang has 3.8L engine with only 190hp while Honda makes 2.0L with 240hp.

posted by  ed_7702

The different car designs are also driven heavily by the price of gas in the different markets. Thats why you see a lot more deisils and extremly small engined vehicles in europe, where gas costs twice what it does in the states.

posted by  Zalight

You're getting liters confused with horsepower. generally, more liters = more horsepower, but not always, as more RPMs = more horsepower also. It's more liters = more torque.

The s2000 makes so much hp because it redlines at 9000. it has very little torque, though.

posted by  Godlaus

I read this article that said if a 2005 honda civic EX could rev to 17,000 RPMs, It would make as much power as a Porsche GT3.

So thats the secret to horsepower, rev it higher than god will allow.:laughing:

posted by  Zalight

yeah, you could rev it, but it would put out 1 ft-lb of torque. The secret is to have the right mix of torque and RPMs.

posted by  Godlaus

I'm sure your post is a bit generalised, but there are some nice engines that come out of europe (and elsewhere), some of them subsidiaries of or heavily patronised by US headquartered auto companies.

Europeans have always prided themselves on engineering excellence and it shows. The post war Japanese industry was modelled on the British/european engineering model.

So why the apparent differences? Well for one thing Europe tended to have narrow streets, concentrated population centres, small country borders and imported oil, so big bulky cars that could carry half the neighbourhood were not practical and too costly to run. Throwing big displacement truck engines into sedans to travel from suburban sprawl to work where you could show off the size and bling of your car were not an obsession the average european could appreciate let alone afford.

Therefore geographical, cultural and economic considerations meant they engineered car engines for better efficiency, although I reckon there were some pretty unreliable POS cars they produced until the Japs started to dominate the small car market.

As for the engine designs, well you need to look at the geometry and precision and the standard of engineering teaching from their universities and trade schools.

posted by  Wally

America has stricter emissions regulations that Europe. I believe that is why cars like like TVR's etc. cannot be imported and sold without having major mods. If this is true: more horsepower can be created by not having a Catolytic Converter (this helps control emissions) or having a less powerful one because more exhaust is able to move through the pipe and out of the engine faster. This is why exhaust pipes are usually changed when one starts supping up a car. This could be why European cars have good Hp to small engines. :2cents: :thumbs:

posted by  StiMan

I think you'll find cats are fitted to just about every engine produced today.

posted by  Wally

Thats the ONE reply I got that I was looking for, thank you very much. I think though that European cars now have catalytic converters, although are lacking EGR....not sure about that though.

For the people that didn't understand what I meant, I didn't mean European cars in North America, I meant European cars IN Europe. Yes you can find tiny little engines like 800cc's in Europe. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

posted by  Mathew

Forget saying "European Cars" and say "Germen Cars" cuz all european cars suck and i live in England the only car country i'd every buy again is from Germany everywhere else sucks

posted by  Stack Bundles

I love how people broadcast their stupidity like this.

posted by  Godlaus

^^errr i've had just around EVERY damn european car and they all suck.

except for VW, BMW, Mercedes, Audio & Volvo

posted by  Stack Bundles

"germen" cars are the best european cars
the worst ones are the English cars
i used to have a Rover myself so i know :banghead:

posted by  pornking

I definately disagree as far as emission laws goes. Over here in germany they are completely nuts , they even require particle filters for new diesel powered cars now.

posted by  Fahrvergnuegen

There is no Audio Car company. And Volvo is a Ford Motor Co. car company that is "based" in Switzerland (sp?).

posted by  StiMan

^I meant Audi.

posted by  Stack Bundles

Did you mean Swedenland? :wink2:

posted by  Wally

all of VW's have been pure hell! i have no idea what you mean when you say the VW (and audi) are good!!!!!

Bmw's from the late 80's early 90's work for me. The new ones are a bite in the ass to work on and reliebility wise, ill pass. The super old ones are all rust heeps. VOLVO rules! The swedes do everything good! Especially their women! :thumbs:

posted by  Low Impedance

I thought that Volvo was Swiss, but if it id from Sweden that thats still different than Germany. Thanks Wally. :thumbs:

posted by  StiMan

I guess he's talking about hp/liter, which is generally FAR FAR FAR better iin euro cars compared to American cars.
IN 1991 BMW produced a 627hp 6.1L V12 for the McLaren F1, 102hp/liter
Ford's latest supercar, the GT, makes 550hp from a V8 and hardly reaches 100hp/liter WITH A SUPERCHARGER, almost 15 years after the BMW V12.
New BMW V10 has 507hp out of a 5.0L, 101hp/liter
1997 euro-spec BMW M3 made 320hp out of a 3.2L, 100hp/liter
Current BMW M3 makes 333hp out of a 3.2L, 104hp/liter
Latest Viper V10 has 500hp out of an 8.3L, 60hp/liter
Chevy Corvette C6 - 400hp out of a 6.0L, 66hp/liter

Could go on for a long time..

posted by  E36DJ

i don't know if someone has said it but lots of cars in europe run on diesel too, the fuel cost, the streets, and the general activities in cities make it so that a large american car would only be more burdensome(is this a word?) than a smaller euro car. for example there are no smarte cars or watever the hell they are here in the US just like there are no camaros or cutlasses there in the EU

posted by  choke

Yes, burdensome is a word. :thumbs:

posted by  StiMan

Think about it guys. In europe cars are taxed on displacement and gas is high so the incentives are for expensive small engines. In the USA I can buy a complete, down to catalytic converters, all aluminum LS3 making ~430hp and 425lbft of torque for less than $8000 dollars. I doubt very much you can do the same with a euro engine for about 6100 eurobucks.

2500hd   16 Sep 2012 15:40

I'm just as confused...Take a look at this comparison.

The German 2013 BMW 125i:
4 cylinder, 2.0L, 218hp
6.4 l/100km or 36 mpg

The American 2013 BMW 128i:
6 cylinder, 3.0L, 230hp
8.4 l/100km or 28 mpg


Confused   01 Dec 2012 00:16

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