In 1962 the first ever turbocharged passenger cars came to the market, some of you might remember them. The Chevrolet Corvair Monza and the Oldsmobile Jetfire. These vehicles didn’t last long due to reliability, over coming years after their release turbocharged cars would come and go and many manufacturers went down the turbo route. This came to an end though because they were not yet as efficient as naturally aspirated engines and turbo lag was also very prominent.
Things started to change when the first Turbo Diesel came to the market In 1978, the Mercedes- Benz 300 SD, followed later by the turbodiesel VW golf in 1981. Since then, turbocharged vehicles have steadily become more popular, especially in performance based cars as it is much easier to produce more power. In more recent times as technology has improved, turbocharging is now being used as a way to reduce emissions in our everyday vehicles. Smaller engines can be utilized, and exhaust gasses provide a way to spool turbos.
Even with the turbocharged setup producing more power and becoming increasingly popular, here are six reasons why the naturally aspirated engine is still a much better choice :
- Noise – To this day, there is nothing better than the sound of a naturally aspirated performance engine. It’s generally louder and quite frankly sounds better. With the addition of individual throttle bodies, the sound gets even better. Turbocharging reduces the noise and brute of an engine; Formula 1 is a prime example. Give me an naturally aspirated V8,V10 or V12 engine any day!
- Revs – N/A engines can rev much higher and produce power much higher up in the rev range, meaning longer gear ratios and less time spent shifting. Only very recently with the improvement of technology have we seen turbo engines starting to rev a little higher. The noise of a V8 at over 10,000rpm is something dreams are made off.
- Throttle Response – even with the reduction of turbo lag is recent times, you cannot beat the throttle response of an N/An engine, it gets even better with a fly by wire system!
- Fastest Nurburgring lap time – the fastest ever production car lap time was set by an N/A car – the Radical SR8 LM. Its peak power comes in at 10500rpm and hit the limiter at 12500rpm.
- Fewer things to go wrong – With turbocharged setups comes more technology, more moving parts, more pipes, more sensors and more complex electronic mapping. More chance of things breaking and going wrong!
- N/A is special – There may have been a time when a turbocharged car was special, but times have changed. Everything nowadays is being turbocharged, and it’s just not unique anymore, it’s common. No one likes common, hence why Porsche built the 911 R, a truly special N/A vehicle. Stick a turbo on it and It kind of loses its mojo.
There you have it, some of my reasons as to why naturally aspirated engines trump the turbo setup.
N/A all the way folks.