Most modern cars in the market today are running on powerful and efficient turbocharged engines. This form of internal combustion is well known for being able to put down power from rotations per minute (RPM) much faster than regular naturally-aspirated engines (NA). Now, if you’re confused as to what turbo engines and NA engines are, the best example comes in the form of the Proton Iriz which is a NA while the Proton X70 is a turbocharged lump. If you haven’t driven either one of these cars, you might wanna try it out yourself to feel the power. As such, we will be talking about the different variations of internal combustion engines and its benefits.
Car buyers are leaning more towards the turbocharging road as it produces high amounts of torque from down low the rev-range. Depending on the size of the turbo and the displacement of the engine, some cars can produce more horsepower and torque than their NA counterparts. Just a reference, Proton’s Preve with the Charged Fuel Efficiency (CFE) turbocharged 1.6 engine produces 138hp and 205Nm of torque. On the other hand, the Iriz and Persona with a similar sized 1.6 NA engine only produces 107hp and 148Nm of torque.
So, if you were to look at the numbers, you’ll see that the addition of a turbocharger can create a large difference in power outputs. As for other brands like Honda for example, their turbo technology is more modern and can produce more power from a downsized engine size. The Honda Civic 1.5 turbo engine might seem puny and small, but its power output is rather interesting. Total output for the 1.5 turbo engine is 170hp and 220Nm of torque, while its predecessor with a 2.0 NA engine only produced 152hp and 190Nm of torque.
Looking at the size of the engine and the overall output, Honda was able to churn out more power from a smaller sized engine. This is all due to the current trend of “small engine, big power” as stated by Digital Trends where automakers are downsizing their engines but churning more power, all in the name of efficiency.
Now, superchargers in cars are just as good as regular turbochargers, if not better. Bolting on a supercharger to a regular sized engine and you’ll get the impression your 1.0 NA car has the power and behaviour of a 2.0 engine. In the market today, there are a lot of cars with superchargers. However, there aren’t that many supercharged cars new these days. The heydays of the superchargers ended around 2011. The most recent example comes in the form of the Mk6 Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI and the R53 Mini Cooper S 1.6 hatchback.
There are other options on the market that you can still buy brand new, but it does come with a price to match. JLR or Jaguar Land Rover offers supercharging engines in their current models such as the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport opulent SUVs as well as the Jaguar XE and XF luxury sedans. Back to the topic of the supercharger goodness. As the name denotes, it is a better form of forced induction of air into the engine, producing more power than a regular NA engine as well as turbocharging.
For the more commonly found turbochargers, there is usually the case of severe turbo lag. Meaning that your engine will take some time to get a boost of power. For some cars, it takes about a second or two in order for the turbos to spool up. But, once it gets the boost, it can propel your car rather briskly. Another point to look out for is the oil requirements. Turbochargers get very hot and often tap into the engine’s oil supply. This would require additional plumbing, and is more demanding on the engine oil.
As for the superchargers, the first downside is the issue of efficiency. Usually, most superchargers tend to consume more power from the engine in order to produce more power. Get it? Meaning to say that superchargers are running on a timing belt which is connected directly to the crankshaft of the car. Put that all together and your car ends up being less efficient. One more downside with the supercharger is the matter of reliability. Being an engine with a forced induction nature, this means the internal components are exposed to immense amounts of pressure and temperature. In the long run, this will cause an effect on the longevity of the engine.
Now that you’ve made it to the end, the question remains. Which of the two chargers is better? Turbo or supercharging? If it were up to me, the better option or the lesser of two evils would be the turbocharger. Sure, it isn’t as great as the supercharger, but it is significantly more reliable and efficient.