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The land of the Muscle Car

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Germany -- or the USA?

I believe the U.S. was dethroned a while back by Germany, and many car enthusiasts will likely agree. Think about the facts for a minute: Sure, the American carmakers still have the Mustang, Camaro, Corvette, Caddy V cars, SRT, and Viper but then, what else? And I’m talking about production cars.

The Germans have all of Mercedes’ AMG cars, the RS cars from Audi, and the Ms from BMW.

There are still a number of American muscle cars available -- sure -- but the name of the game was once horsepower bragging rights, sprint and ¼ mile times, and trap speeds. The Viper may have 640 hp but the Audi RS 7 isn’t far behind with 560 hp, 0-100 km/h times are identical, and prices aren’t that far off.

2014 Audi RS 7 engine
Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre

Therein lies the difference: The Germans are generally pricier (if not far pricier), but if the growing market share for luxury cars is any indication, price matters but not as much as it once did.

Consider the fact that 15,000 R and RS cars will be built and sold in 2013. As well, AMG has never had more nameplates or versions on offer. More M cars are coming, too. A large number of these cars retail well into the six-figure range, and are all expected to sell.

So, here’s my point (or question): How is it that the Germans have been allowed to outdo the Americans at a game they invented?

Who currently has the most powerful sedan? The highest horsepower station wagon? The SUV with the most power? An American carmaker manufactures not one of these. Currently, Ford is the only brand that holds any title with the highest horsepower coupe in the Mustang GT500 with its 662 hp supercharged V8.

2013 Ford Mustang GT500 engine
Photo: Justin Pritchard

Although this is a mere observation and only meant to poke at GM, Ford, and Chrysler it saddens me to come to the conclusion that while the Germans will continue to produce massively powerful cars, the Americans likely will not.

The only reasons I see for this are low speed limits in North America and a general lack of driving skills by its inhabitants. Fuel consumption and the economy are secondary here.

So, if you’re out in your decked-out $50k Chevy Camaro 2SS automatic with big chrome wheels and the lot, be aware that you should probably not take on the quasi-whimpy-looking $65k Mercedes C 63 AMG as you might get schooled.

At the very least, spend $60k and get a ZL1. That way, you’ll never be made a fool of… That is, unless you plan to seriously spank a vulgar station wagon badged with E 63 AMG S on its rear. Might be a better idea to get a CTS-V wagon then…

Discuss.