What are performance cars? Are performance cars & sports cars the same?

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Weren't all cars made to perform? Is a sports car also a performance car? Why do performance cars are expensive? You will get all the answers in this article!

One of my responsibilities in life to human beings is to always explain to people what performance cars are because I noticed it is a very complex term in the entire world of cars. I constantly see questions like:

"Weren't all cars made to perform?",

"Is a sports car also a performance car?"


I will make you understand performance cars today but you must promise to follow all my assumptions just for the purpose of getting the concept now and forever.

You are not wasting data reading this. Don't be scared because you will even start explaining to friends that used to be confused like you on the issue and if you are hearing the word " PERFORMANCE CARS" for the first time. This article is also for you because we have performance cars all around us but we might not just notice them or we always call them SPORTS CARS.


A Toyota Corolla can turn into a speed beast with a turned engine and car parts

1. What does the word "performance" mean?

All phones are produced for the purpose of communication between two or more people via voice calls, text messages, and video calls. Imagine a phone that can make you know a person is about to call you 10 seconds before the call comes through, imagine a phone that receives a 20gb file in 3 seconds via Bluetooth. You can call this a better version of a normal phone because it won't have the normal phone components, hence it can be called a PERFORMANCE PHONE.

This is how performance cars operate, performance cars are cars that are built to speed and also has things in place to guide and control that speed. Performance cars don't just speed. If I bought a regular 2004 Toyota Corolla with a 1.8-litre engine and I crazily swap the engine with a 5.7 liter Dodge Challenger V8 engine successfully, this Corolla is just very fast and dangerous because there is nothing in place to control the effect of the extra-large engine fitted on it.


Car manufacturers release performance cars along with regular models as well

For this, my crazy Corolla to be called a PERFORMANCE CAR, it must have new installations on it that would compensate for the new power it is wielding from the V8 engine swap. The most common compensations it should have are:

  1. Better braking system to easily stop the car at high speed/acceleration. 
  2. A stronger chassis so that the car won't twist on the motion.
  3. Better tires that won't be wearing out easily as the car speeds.
  4. A better suspension that still makes the driver comfortable. 
  5. Aerodynamics features that won't make the car fly off the ground at high speeds.
  6. Better steering assembly that can direct this car even at high speeds.
  7. Other safety features that just protects the driver and passengers at all times.

Do you get it now? It now becomes fast and has everything in place to hold the car in one piece as it glides through the air. A Corolla with a 5.7 V8 engine with stock brakes when accelerating cannot easily be stopped. When the brake pad touches the disc of the car, so much heat will be generated that it could even make the car overheat and burn. So whenever you see that loud exhaust Benz pass you on the express stop calling it a sports car! It is a PERFORMANCE CAR.


With performance boosted, the tuned car need further modifications for parts like the brake system as well

>>> You sure don't want to make these mistakes: 6 modifications to avoid as they won’t make your car drive faster

2. Performance cars, sports cars, supercars: what are the difference?

When automobile manufacturers create new cars that have the potential to go faster than regular cars, they produce the versions that are economic for the masses then go a step further producing the performance versions for real lovers of performance cars. It is safe to say that all sports cars are performance cars, all super/hypercars are performance cars, but not all performance cars are sports/super/hypercars. Some luxury cars are performance cars too. The term performance car is always interwoven between all types of cars.


Lots of things to consider aside from tuned engines when it comes to performance cars

3. Some popular performance cars in Nigeria

I reviewed a 2016 LEXUS GS350 F-SPORT (performance version of the 2014 LEXUS GS) sometimes last year. It was awesome to find out that as regular as the car looked, it has a lot of things in place to work hand in hand with the enhanced V6 engine. There are air vents on the lower front bumper area to allow air to cool the performance brake system of this car.

The most popular example of performance cars is AMG. AMG is the official performance division of MERCEDES-BENZ and here is how it works. AMG collects cars that haven't been completely built from BENZ then installs performance components on the car from the handcrafted bi-turbo engine to addition of carbon fiber parts to make the car lighter, a deep sounding performance exhaust and a load of other modifications that all come together to increase the overall power output of the same car MERCEDES-BENZ has already produced. 


There is a whole industry of tuning cars to turn cars into performance beasts

>>> You might also like to read: 6 easy ways to boost the engine power and your car will run faster

4. Official performance car vs. Aftermarket performance car

Performance car manufacturers are divided into two types. It could either be the OFFICIAL performance division company that gets cars directly from the manufacturer or an AFTERMARKET performance car manufacturer that gets cars that indirectly from the main manufacturer. 

The most common official performance divisions are listed below:

  2. M SPORT - BMW
  5. SRT - DODGE

While the most common aftermarket performance companies are:



The Range Rover Sport tuned by Hamann

>>> It requires considerations for safety as well: Notes about most important safety devices: airbags & seatbelts

5. Why do we love performance cars?

Let me tell you why car enthusiasts love performance cars. These cars not only make you stand out when you drive by on the road, but it also helps you derive more fun driving with the sound and crazy acceleration compared to the regular versions.

In Nigeria, you would hardly find a regular G-CLASS Mercedes because it is very boring, the AMG G63 is the most common performance car in Nigeria. A lot of people even think there are no longer regular G-CLASS SUVs anymore. Performance cars are not meant to be driven daily in my opinion because their fuel economy is not pocket-friendly at all.

The price of performance cars varies greatly depending on the extent of modification that is being done to it. The 2011 BMW X6M by Mansory costs ten times the price of the regular performance X6M. Can you imagine that? And, they are both performance cars.


The tuned parts contribute much to the value of a performance car

I hope you understand what performance cars mean now. You can always send me a mail "crankkickedin@gmail.com" for questions, suggestions, and observations.

>>> More interesting car stories on Naijauto.com. Check out now!


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A BMW MANSORY X6M acceleration performance in Lagos:




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Crank - the head of content for 234DRIVE is a mechanic/car enthusiast/car vlogger that writes and creates relatable motoring experiences. Whenever he lays his hands on any car, he reviews them in depth. He calls himself the 'Educative Car Guy'.

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