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by Tim Beissmann

If you’re a real revhead, you’d be crazy not to buy a Proton S16 GX. Let me explain…

Most of us are familiar with the power-to-weight ratio measurement, which takes a car’s power output (kilowatts) and divides it by the vehicle’s mass (kg or tonnes). The high-performance, lightweight supercars – like the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Lamborghini Gallardo – generally do pretty well here, and leave everyday runabouts in their wake.

But what if you want the most bang for your buck? The most kilowatts per dollar? The results are practically turned on their head, and are rather surprising.

Here’s the list of the top 10 passenger vehicles in Australia at the moment from a price-to-power perspective:

Make Model Best Power (kW) Price ($) Price-to-Power ratio ($ per kW)
Proton S16 GX M5 82 12,990 158
Kia Cerato S M5 115 18,990 165
Ford Falcon XR8 M6 290 48,390 167
Holden Commodore SS sedan M6 270 47,790 177
Toyota Aurion AT-X 200 35,990 180
FPV GS M6 315 56,990 181
Suzuki SX4 Hatch M6 112 20,490 183
Hyundai i45 Active M6 148 27,990 189
Nissan Tiida ST hatch M6 93 17,990 193
Mitsubishi Lancer ES sedan M5 113 21,990 195

Includes only the best model from each make, and does not include utes. Note: M5= five-speed manual transmission.

At $158 per kW, the Proton S16 GX five-speed manual is the best bang for your buck passenger vehicle in the land, marginally ahead of the manual Kia Cerato S sedan.

The XR8 and SS – despite having around three-and-a-half times more power than the S16 – manage just third and fourth respectively due to their premium price. In Ute form however, with the same power output but a heavily reduced price, the locals come out well on top (as shown in Table 2).

The following table lists the top 25 sellers in Australia in 2010, ranked according to their price-to-power ratio:

Make Model Best Power (kW) Price ($) Price-to-Power ratio ($ per kW)
Ford Falcon XR8 M6 (Ute) 290 48,390 (41,490) 167 (143)
Holden Commodore SS M6 (Ute) 270 47,790 (42,490) 177 (157)
Toyota Aurion AT-X 200 35,990 180
Ford Fiesta CL 3dr M5 88 16,090 183
Hyundai i30 2.0 SX M5 105 20,390 194
Mitsubishi Lancer ES sedan M5 113 21,990 195
Holden Barina 3dr M5 76 14,790 195
Hyundai Getz SX 3dr M5 78 15,340 197
Mazda Mazda3 Neo sedan M5 108 21,330 198
Toyota RAV4 CV6 201 39,990 199
Ford Focus CL hatch M5 107 21,490 201
Holden Cruze 1.8 petrol CD M5 104 20,990 202
Toyota Kluger KX-R 2WD 201 40,990 204
Subaru Impreza WRX hatch M5 195 39,990 205
Toyota Corolla Ascent sedan M6 100 20,990 210
Ford Territory TX RWD 190 39,890 210
Toyota Yaris YRS 3dr M5 80 17,340 217
Mazda Mazda2 Neo M5 76 16,500 217
Honda Civic VTi sedan M5 103 22,490 218
Suzuki Swift M5 74 16,290 220
Holden Captiva 7 SX V6 169 38,490 228
Subaru Forester XT M5 169 39,490 234
Volkswagen Golf 118 TSI M6 118 29,490 250
Toyota Camry Altise M5 117 30,490 261
Toyota Prado GXL V6 M6 202 60,904 302

The top 25 sellers for 2010 between January and October (excluding Toyota HiLux, Nissan Navara and Holden Colorado).

At the other end of the spectrum, the numbers are far less impressive.

The Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 SV E-gear is Australia’s most powerful car. At 493kW, the Italian wears the premium price tag of $889,000. Its price-to-power ratio? $1800 per kW.

Australia’s most expensive car –the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe – costs $1.35 million and packs 338kW from its 6.7-litre V12 engine. In price-to-power terms, $4000 per kW.

And the world’s fastest production car – the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport – with its 883kW and $2.635 million price tag? Price-to-power ratio: the best part of $3000 per kW. A bargain compared to the Roller, really.

So the next time you laugh at (or pity) a person driving a Proton S16 GX five-speed manual, just stop and think. They may be more of a red-blooded power enthusiast than you think.




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