Buyers seeking a performance car can easily spend more money for more horsepower, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is that the power you’re buying is put to good use. So if a 500 horsepower engine is hauling 6,000 pounds of car around, those 500 horses won’t go nearly as far as they would in, say, a 3,000 pound car. The term for this horsepower use is call the power-to-weight ratios, and it’s among the most important figures to consider when looking into performance cars.
Essentially, the power-to-weight ratio is how many pounds of car a single horsepower is responsible for moving. It’s calculated by dividing the car’s curb weight by it’s horsepower output. Ultra-high performance cars, like the Koenigsegg One:1, sport ratios as low as 2.2 — that’s one kilogram — per horsepower. That’s an extreme case — most cars operate between 10 and 20.
Over at Autoblog, they threw together a report of cars that offer the best power to weight ratios, broken down by price point. Here, we’ve laid out the ten cars mentioned for the $50,000 and under crowd, which arguably offer the best performance for the dollar.
10. 2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
Volvos (VOLVY.PK) are often thought of as safe, heavy, but generally numb-feeling cars, because that’s often what they have been in the past. However, the Swedish brand’s latest products defy that reputation, and sitting at the spearhead of the new generation is the S60 T6 R-Design. With all-wheel drive. This car, which starts at $42,700, boasts a 325 horsepower V6, while weighing in at 3,528 pounds at the curb; this in turn gives the car a power-to-weight ratio of 10.855 — quite admirably given the company’s reputation for building road-going tanks.