You’ve probably heard of the term high-performance in the world of automobiles before. The vehicles that are considered to be high-performance are called performance cars. But what does that mean, exactly? Aren’t all of a manufacturer’s cars supposed to perform well? Shouldn’t they all be sold as “high-performance”? Does that mean their other cars aren’t high-performance?

A lot of questions! But before you call the hotline of your national trading standards agency, you should read this article. It should help clear up any confusion and will perhaps help you make a purchase decision!

Understanding the use of the word performance

When we think of the word performance, we often think of a very general definition. We tend to think of it as a general term that encompasses quality, efficiency, and reliability in many, if not all, vehicular situations. Oddly enough, we can actually make things clearer here by adding some gradience.

When you say performance in a given situation, it can mean something very different from the use of the word in another situation. When we talk about the performance of an office worker, we’re talking about efficiency and communication. But when we talk about the performance of an athlete, we’re talking about strength, physical speed, endurance. When we talk about performance in the car world, we’re talking about the kind of performance expected of an athlete. We don’t use performance to refer to more everyday car features, no matter how good they are!

Not all sports cars are performance cars

With this definition, you might start thinking about sports cars. You may even be thinking about those old-school hot rods. After all, what are those vehicles if not vehicles aimed at high-performance?

The problem is that you need basically every feature of a car to be high-performance in order for it to be classified as a performance car. Sports cars are usually amazing, and many of them are performance cars. But manufacturers will usually pour their resources into particular features of a sports car. They won’t necessarily want the whole thing to be high-performance. Fuel efficiency, for example, may not be a priority. Features designed specifically to avoid car accidents may also not be a priority, in favor of maximum manual control. Manufacturers specializing in performance cars will put focus on this area and all the others.

Should I get one?

Performance cars are more likely to be suitable for everyday use. This separates them from sports cars, which are usually unnecessarily extravagant. It also makes it a more viable purchase than you may have originally thought. But should you get one?

As with most similar choices in life, that mystery can be solved by answering two questions. The first is “Do I want a high-performance car?” And the second, of course, is “Can I afford one?” If the answer to both questions is yes, then you should probably look into getting one. I could go on all day about how much a high-performance car will boost your self-esteem. Or how it will make your friends deeply envious. Or how it will make you more attractive. But in the end, your decision should be a balance of finance and pragmatics.

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Tom Brown

Tom Brown is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United States. He holds a diverse background in automotive marketing and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.

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