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2007 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged

The Price of Performance

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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Performance cars are awesome.

Not going to kid you, owning and driving a performance car is a real life changing experience.

That said, performance doesn't come cheap.

If you've never owned a real performance car, you might think "yeah, that Corvette is expensive to buy," but that isn't what I'm referring to.

The initial purchase price is nothing. You see, the cost of ownership on a performance car is so much higher than a normal car — even if you don't actually use its performance.

Performance cars have more aggressive chassis, engines, and drivetrains, and the more aggressive driving characteristics that come along with them, which means that they quickly go from "awesome" to "awful," as soon as they begin to wear.

When the brake rotors on a normal car get a little warped, it's a minor nuisance, in a performance car, they feel like they are going to rattle the teeth out of your skull.

When the tires wear on a normal car, you don't really notice it until they don't work as well in inclement weather. In a performance car, they pull you around, grab road irregularities, and lose traction when it drizzles and you breath wrong on the controls.

When the suspension and steering starts to wear a bit and gets a little loose, in a normal car, it's no biggie, the suspension and steering geometry shifted a lot before — in a performance car, it yanks you around the road, pulls on the steering wheel excessively and makes precise input to control the direction of the automobile a real fight.

When the engine starts to get close to its service interval, it starts to run less than optimum, but since it never really responded all that fast, or provided that much power to begin with, its not really a problem. In a performance car, the engine starts to fight with you, its response goes from dead to accelerating violently, all within the time it takes to depress the throttle.

With all the normal challenges related to owning a car magnified significantly, the cost of owning a performance car rises rapidly, making its true cost much higher than the initial purchase price suggests before you buy it.


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