Cars  
 
Editorials » Automobiles » Performance Cars

Torque And Horsepower Ratings

By: Levi Quinn

How many times have you heard someone say, that car has such-and-such horsepower, and wondered what that actually means? One has to wonder what kind of horse is used as a benchmark and what that means when you step on the gas pedal. Although they are just about the only means for measuring engine power, horsepower and torque as they are currently measured, are actually very poor standards for comparing vehicles and their potential performance.

Horsepower is derived from a complex formula, but basically it is an amount of work over time. As it relates to cars, horsepower is most relevant to top end speed, not necessarily acceleration.

If you are using only one figure to compare vehicles, look at the torque rating, as it is the twisting force an engine can produce, and essentially how powerful the engine is.

Examine horsepower and torque ratings on high end sports cars, and you will find that they are also matched by impressive torque ratings. Extremely heavy duty vehicles that require a lot of power and not necessarily high top speeds, such as pickups designed for towing (especially those with diesel engines), tend to have torque figures that dwarf their horsepower rating. Muscle cars and diesel engines, which are known for brute power, tend to have similar horsepower and torque ratings, with many of the most powerful models producing around 300 horsepower and 500 pounds of torque.

However, horsepower and torque are not the only factors that determine a car's performance. Looking at only horsepower and torque, two vehicles may be similar, but one may be a muscle car and the other is a dump truck. Dividing horsepower or torque by vehicle weight will give you power to weight ratios, which has a big impact on acceleration and performance.

Even using power to weight ratios ignores one basic fact about how power ratings are obtained. Instead of measuring how much horsepower or torque gets to the wheels, these figures are measured on the back of the engine, which does not take into account how much energy is lost in the transmission. This discrepancy is magnified when comparing front wheel, rear wheel, and all wheel drive vehicles since each configuration requires a different amount of power to turn the wheels.

In addition, the gearing of the transmission determines how an engine's power is used. The same engine can be paired with different transmissions to produce faster acceleration or pulling power by varying the gear ratios. Because of this, a properly geared vehicle could out perform another with higher horsepower and torque ratings.

As you can see, the way horsepower and torque are measured provides numbers that do not necessarily reveal how a car will behave when you step on the gas. These figures would be much more accurate and helpful to consumers if they were obtained by measuring the power actually delivered to the wheels, and also using these figures to place power to weight ratios on the window sticker.

As you can see, the way horsepower and torque are measured provides numbers that do not necessarily reveal how a car will behave when you step on the gas.

Share this article :

Users Reading this article are also interested in;
• How Torque Affects Performance, by Levi Quinn
• Apartment Ratings, by Zack Fair
• Laptop Ratings, by U Suski
Top Searches on Performance Cars
•  The Little Engine That Could•  Find Used Cars

About The Author, Levi Quinn


Find the best deal on the auto insurance coverage you need. Visit us today for money-saving tips and receive free quotes for cheap auto insurance rates from respected insurance companies.
Add Streetdirectory.com to your favourites! - Make Streetdirectory.com your homepage
About » Widgets | T&C | Feedback   For Businesses » Free Ads | Online Advertising | Wall Maps | Text Ads
Hotline : Sales 6474 4005 | Marketing & Business Opportunities : 65942755 | (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
Streetdirectory.com Performance Cars Guide gives you a headstart on the competition when it comes to information on sports cars. If you dream of owning a fast car with a powerful engine and talk about Lamborghini and Ferrari all the time, stay up to date on these sleek and fast machines with our collection of articles. Join in the debate on the appeal of sports cars, in the face of the raising popularity of SUV and sedans. Whether you are looking to reminisce about the history of the classic Porsche or looking for information on the latest in designer car accessories, find what you want here.