"The term "horsepower" was coined by James Watt almost purely as a marketing scheme for his steam engine. Horsepower is actually based on another standard, but foot-pounds-per-minute doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. It's now the benchmark for power, though it isn't always indicative of a car's performance. Weight, torque and other factors play just as big a role. Nevertheless, a car's horsepower is still one of the first facts we want to know; it's something touted by every carmaker and, inevitably, is considered a measure of value. But is that right? To show how truly abstract the concept of horsepower is, we asked you to find the best bang for your buck in terms of dollars-per-horsepower. The strange and illuminating results below, along with a larger-than-life chart."
"Best Land Vehicle: Suzuki Hayabusa Motorcycle - $61.85 per HP
There's no denying Picarso was right when he said that bikes are hard to beat in the bang-for-buck category. The 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa achieves an impressive 194 horsepower, all while costing a relatively inexpensive $11,999, for a total horsepower cost of $61.85 per HP."
While dollar-per-horsepower can be seen as a reasonable measure when comparing similar vehicles in the same class, there are too many factors that go into vehicles (and vacuum cleaners) to make it a true benchmark of value. That being said, this exercise clearly indicates the actual market value of horsepower compared to the other features."