There is something about driving fast that is addictive. You only have to look at the popularity of Formula 1 and other motor sport to realise just how many people are fascinated by it. Of course, in real life most of us will never get to experience the terrifying speeds reached by Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
There is also, of course, the need to observe speed limits. That doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy a little bit if speed every now and then.
Having the ability to put your foot down and accelerate quickly out of trouble is a great sensation and one that many of us still enjoy (even well within the legal limits). This is the reason that Lexus Hybrid cars are very popular but just what is it that makes a car fast?
One obvious reason is engine size. The power of the engine is measured in horsepower and the general rule is that the bigger it is, the faster the car will go, as it is this that moves the wheels. However, power does not necessarily translate to speed. There are some huge trucks with colossal engines that don’t necessarily move quickly, as in many cases, power is used to push or pull rather than generate speed. So, it would seem that there are also other factors at work in producing a fast car.
Powertrain and weight
The power of the engine needs to be translated into wheel speed. The part of the car that does this is called the power train. The less friction and resistance met by the power train, the faster the wheels can turn. This is where the quality of the engineering becomes a major factor.
Another important factor is weight. If a car has a large engine but is very heavy, much of the power will be used simply moving the vehicle. The basic rule is that the lighter the car is, the faster it will go.
However, again there are other interrelated factors at work. A car that is very light but not very aerodynamic will suffer greater air resistance and not be able to travel as fast. Car designers do everything they can to make the car as aerodynamic as possible, so that it can cut through the air without being slowed down too much by the air itself.
As you can see, there are lots of things that car designers need to think about when making fast cars. They need to strike a perfect balance between all these features, and work closely with the engineers to maximise the speed potential of a car. Luckily, Lexus models have more or less perfected the art, meaning that we can get behind the wheel and satisfy our need for speed.
Visit the official UK Lexus website for more information.