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To Blow or Not to Blow?


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To Blow or Not to Blow: Turbocharging vs. Natural Aspiration


"Every new BMW on sale in the United States, save for the electric-drive i3, carries at least one turbocharger. Audi and Mercedes-Benz are nearly as turbo-centric. Even stalwarts of high-revving, naturally aspirated engines, such as ­Ferrari and Honda, are strapping snails to their engines. And on the home front, Ford has been pushing hard on its EcoBoost turbocharged engines for almost a decade now.


If turbochargers haven’t won the war against ­natural aspiration yet, they certainly appear unstoppable in this, their most recent campaign for domination. Increasingly stringent fuel-economy and emissions regulations worldwide are driving this switch to forced induction because turbochargers allow carmakers to maintain performance levels while reducing engine displacement and improving EPA fuel economy. Honeywell, a leading turbo supplier, reckons that by the year 2020, 39 percent of all vehicles sold in North America will have turbos, up from 23 percent in 2015.


Turbocharging’s day has been long in coming, considering that the concept has been around for more than a century. It’s been 54 years since General Motors fitted turbochargers to the Chevy Corvair Monza and the Oldsmobile F-85 Jetfire, and more than 40 since the Porsche 917/30, turbocharged to 1500 horsepower, laid waste to Can-Am competitors.


But turbochargers aren’t just for performance cars anymore. They are now the solution of choice for all segments of the market, from city cars to luxury cruisers to—thanks to Ford—full-size pickup trucks. Once you lose V-8–loving truckers to a turbo V-6, the war is all but over and it’s just a matter of signing the surrender documents.


On the following pages, you’ll find four head-to-head match-ups of turbocharged vehicles and their naturally aspirated competitors, covering the breadth of the light-vehicle market. Beware: These are not conventional ­comparison tests. We’re focusing these stories on the characteristics of the engines and judging the suitability of engine type for each class of vehicle. We also strapped our test gear to several cars to answer the two main questions at the heart of the turbocharged revolution: Do they really save gas, and has turbo lag truly been vanquished from forced-induction engines?





Edited by ccap41
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It's actually a very interesting read. There are 4 different cat/truck comparisons and then they go into talking about throttle response comparison, fuel economy, the next type for turbocharger, and how they're getting bigger, stronger, and better. 


There is definitely a lot to read but it's very interesting and I'm glad somebody did a piece on this. 


It was awesome to read about the 5.0 and 3.5 and finally reading about nearly identially equipped trucks. Usually there is something fairly major that skews results based on equipment, such as a tow package and gears, and the only difference here was the panoramic roof and under side skid plates(adding up to 213lbs). 


Which also reminds me. This part goes out to Mr. Bong. For all of those times you preached and preached about how the F150 only weighed in a tank of gas less than a Silverado. If you've ever been under a vehicle and removed skid plates you'd realize the heaviest ones are about 20-25lbs that leaves roughly 175lbs left for a panoramic roof...which the Silverado does not even have as an option, along with a lot of other creature comforts the F150 has but this is probably the most weighty of them. Looks like it is more like a handful of tanks of fuel difference... 

  • Upvote 1
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Turbo is a fun toy but not the efficient catch all that the gov makes them out to be or the auto companies.


I find my NA V8 to be equal and in many way superior to the whole turbo mess.

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Turbo is a fun toy but not the efficient catch all that the gov makes them out to be or the auto companies.


I find my NA V8 to be equal and in many way superior to the whole turbo mess.

I think people are just really too heavy-footed for turbo cars. It seems like the majority of drivers just don't know how to accelerate without 3/4 throttle(in any vehicle). 

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Mr. Bong replies:

I only report what the magazines report. C/D reported that their tester F-150 was a half-tank of gas lighter than the GM entry, and they awarded the Ford the win. Two whole points, I believe.

In the meantime, it also became painfully apparent that FE-the supposed driving force behind Ford's choice of powertrain and body material-was only about equal to the GM trucks as well.

Let me put it this way: I'm not surprised that GM has gained huge marketshare in the segment by introducing smaller, N/A trucks with steel bodies over hi-boost gassers that required wholesale tear outs of assembly plants.

Much more interesting to me, as it was to most non-Ford fans, was when a Ford product was tested against a non-Ford product. That would be the EB Mustang vs. the V6 Camaro, and the Camaro won in a walk.

Just the facts. Sorry if some out there take it personal.

...no, not really.

Edited by El Kabong
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Id rather go "down"  the "suck" road...



As in...RAM AIR...







That is as far as I go with a preference with all this  "forced induction" talk.

I much prefer naturally aspirated myself.


However....I dont seem to mind to go from suck to blow on occasion...








This being my favorite type of forced induction:






Edited by oldshurst442
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"To blow or not to blow".

A rather philosophical question if you work in a house of ill repute.

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Goes right along with that all important follow up question of To swallow or not! ;)

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Over time, I am becoming less and less convinced of the claimed advantages of turbo-charging.

I totally agree and after my time in the CT6 NA and XT5 NA, I am even more convinced that Turbocharging while giving a fun factor to an auto is not needed for most implementations. 

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