High Torque Car Vs. High Power Car

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The torque-to-horsepower bias of any car's engine is one of its defining traits, and contributes a lot to the character of the vehicle. Preference for either torque or horsepower is dependent on a number of factors, including vehicle weight and intended performance.

Torque vs. Horsepower

  • Torque is the amount of force an engine exerts per revolution. Horsepower is the amount of work an engine can do in a given period of time, and is a function of how much torque an engine makes at a given RPM (Revolutions Per Minute).

Power Bands

  • High-torque engines tend to make a lot of power at low RPM, and are best for towing. High-horsepower engines tend to make little low-end torque, but "wake up" at high RPM.

Performance

  • Torque engines tend to have excellent throttle response and immediate acceleration. High horsepower engines are best for extended acceleration or top speed runs.

Gearing

  • High horsepower engines need numerically high (steep) gears in order to stay at high RPM. Torque engines have numerically lower gears, as they don't need to rev very high.

Engine Size

  • High-torque engines are generally large in displacement, and need heavier-duty construction to withstand the force they produce. High horsepower engines are generally lighter and smaller, as they depend on high RPM to make power.

References

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of craig carter
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