Launched in 1993 by EMAP, it was also published under licence in Greece, Denmark, Norway, South Africa, and in France under the name ADDX. After EMAP acquired Petersen in 2000, a United States edition was published based on its existing title MaxSpeed and featuring cars from America and the UK. This ceased publication in 2001 when EMAP sold its U.S. arm to Primedia, but is still in print as Euro Tuner.
Max Power was criticised for its promotion of unauthorised cruise events. The magazine had a rating system that scored the events in several areas including the size of the police presence, the behaviour and attractiveness of the girls, the number of “burnouts” performed and the general level of ‘ Barry ‘ surrounding the event
The magazine also occasionally campaigned against speed cameras and elderly drivers, and despite disclaimers was often criticised for printing articles about dangerous driving on public roads, including drifting and exceeding 200 mph on the A1. Another criticism was related to the large number of half-naked women in the publication, often described as “bottom-shelf porn”. Glamour models who appeared in Max Power included Katie Price, Jakki Degg, Lauren Pope, Lucy Pinder, Michelle Marsh, Amy Green, Chantelle Houghton and Marie Sarantakis. The 2007 relaunch was aimed at reversing this criticism, but glamour shoots were later reintroduced.
The perceived laddishness of the magazine meant it was also seen as non-serious by car enthusiasts who wished to focus on the engine/handling modification side of car tuning. However, Max Power was for a long time the biggest-selling motoring magazine in Europe, and was therefore courted by motor manufacturers and auto industry PR teams, who provided them with test cars, exposure to new products, and opportunities for the magazine to cover their brands.