With today’s ever-evolving automotive industry, technology is reshaping how people drive. Beyond ride-hailing and carpooling apps, a new era of vehicles has emerged, driven by changing consumer demands. Among the most sought-after innovations are turbocharged cars.
These powerful machines have gained significant popularity, and it’s no surprise given their remarkable performance. The global turbocharger market reached a staggering $11.74 billion in 2021. As more and more drivers seek the exhilarating experience that turbo cars offer, it becomes essential to explore everything there is to know about these high-performance vehicles.
From understanding how turbochargers work to discovering the best turbo cars on the market, this guide will serve as your comprehensive resource for all things turbocharged.
What Is a Turbo Car?
Turbo cars, also known as turbocharged cars, are high-performance vehicles that use a turbocharger to boost engine power. The turbocharger is a device that compresses the air flowing into the engine, increasing its density. This feature allows the engine to burn more fuel, producing more power.
Turbochargers are often confused with hybrid technology, which aims to improve engine efficiency and performance. However, while turbochargers work by compressing air, hybrid technology uses an electric motor to provide additional power to the engine. Hybrid cars are more fuel-efficient than traditional gasoline cars, while turbo cars are designed for maximum power and performance. Therefore, deciding between turbo vs. hybrid cars really comes down to the driver’s needs and preferences.
How Does a Turbo Car Work?
A turbo car’s turbocharged engine uses a turbine to compress the air flowing into the engine. The turbine is driven by exhaust gases from the engine, allowing it to spin at high speeds. As the turbine spins, it operates a compressor that compresses the air entering the engine.
The compressed air is forced into the engine’s cylinders, where it mixes with fuel and is ignited, producing a powerful explosion. The energy released by this explosion is converted into rotational energy, which powers the engine’s crankshaft, propelling the car forward.
Turbochargers have several advantages over naturally aspirated engines. They can produce significantly more power than a non-turbo engine of the same size, allowing smaller, more efficient engines to create the same power as more extensive, less efficient engines. It makes turbo cars more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly than non-turbo cars.
In addition, turbochargers can improve engine performance at high altitudes, where the air is less dense. A turbocharger can increase its density by compressing the air entering the engine, allowing it to produce more power at high altitudes.
However, turbochargers can also have some disadvantages. They can create significant heat, leading to engine damage if not appropriately managed. In addition, they can increase the engine’s complexity, leading to higher maintenance costs.
Overall, turbocharged engines are an excellent choice for drivers who demand high performance and efficiency from their vehicles. They offer a unique combination of power, efficiency, and versatility that is hard to match with other engine technologies.
List Of Top 10 Best Turbo Cars You Must Buy In 2023
There are many excellent turbo cars on the market, ranging from sports cars to luxury sedans. Here are some of the best turbocharged cars you can buy today:
1) Subaru Impreza WRX STI
The Subaru Impreza WRX STI is a legendary sports car known for its performance and rally heritage. Powered by a turbocharged engine, it delivers exhilarating acceleration and impressive handling. Its all-wheel drive system offers exceptional traction and stability on various road conditions. The WRX STI features aggressive styling, a spacious interior, and advanced safety features.
Pros: Power, AWD, Rally heritage.
Cons: Stiff ride, Limited fuel efficiency.
2) Honda Civic Coupe
The Honda Civic Coupe is a stylish and sporty two-door car that combines practicality with a fun-to-drive experience. With its sleek design and compact size, the Civic Coupe stands out on the road. It offers a comfortable and well-appointed interior with modern technology features. The Civic Coupe provides a smooth and efficient ride, making it ideal for daily commuting. It is equipped with a range of engine options, including turbocharged engines, offering a balance between power and fuel efficiency.
Pros: Stylish, Sporty, Fuel-efficient.
Cons: Limited rear-seat space.
3) Golf GTI
The Golf GTI is a compact hatchback that has become an icon in the world of hot hatchbacks. Known for its exceptional blend of performance, practicality, and affordability, the GTI offers an exhilarating driving experience. With its turbocharged engine, the GTI delivers impressive power and acceleration, making it a joy to drive on both city streets and winding roads. The GTI features a well-crafted interior with supportive seats and modern technology features. It strikes a balance between sportiness and everyday usability, making it a versatile choice for drivers who seek a spirited driving experience without sacrificing comfort.
Pros: Performance, Versatility, Affordable.
Cons: Limited cargo space.
4) Focus ST
The Focus ST is a performance-oriented hatchback that offers a thrilling driving experience and sporty styling. Powered by a turbocharged engine, the ST delivers impressive power and torque, making it a fun and engaging car to drive. With its precise handling and responsive steering, it offers excellent maneuverability on both city streets and winding roads. The Focus ST features a well-designed interior with supportive seats and advanced technology features. It strikes a balance between performance and practicality, making it an appealing choice for enthusiasts who seek an everyday car with a sporty edge.
Pros: Performance, Handling, Sporty Styling.
Cons: Limited rear legroom, Firm ride.
5) Volkswagen Jetta
The Volkswagen Jetta is a compact sedan that offers a comfortable and refined driving experience. Known for its solid build quality and German engineering, the Jetta provides a smooth and composed ride on various road surfaces. It has a spacious and well-appointed interior, comfortable seats, and user-friendly technology. The Jetta offers a range of engine options, including turbocharged engines, providing a good balance of power and fuel efficiency. With its practicality and reliability, the Jetta is an excellent choice for those seeking a stylish and versatile sedan for everyday driving.
Pros: Comfortable, Spacious, Solid build quality.
Cons: Conservative styling, Average performance.
6) Nissan GT-R
The Nissan GT-R, often referred to as “Godzilla,” is a high-performance sports car that has gained legendary status among enthusiasts. With its iconic design and powerful performance, the GT-R is a force to be reckoned with. The GT-R delivers blistering acceleration and exceptional handling, equipped with a turbocharged engine and advanced all-wheel drive system. That means it can operate on rear wheels in normal conditions, but the all-wheel drive system kicks in when needed, providing extra grip and stability. Its precise steering and responsive braking contribute to its impressive track capabilities. The GT-R features a luxurious and well-crafted interior, offering a comfortable ride even during high-speed maneuvers.
Pros: Exhilarating performance, Iconic design.
Cons: Limited interior space, High maintenance costs.
7) KIA Forte 1.6
The KIA Forte 1.6 is a compact sedan that combines practicality, efficiency, and modern features. While it doesn’t fall into the category of KIA electric cars, it offers commendable fuel efficiency and a comfortable driving experience. Powered by a 1.6-liter engine, it provides a good balance of power and economy. The Forte 1.6 boasts a well-designed interior with user-friendly technology and ample cargo space. It offers a smooth ride and handles well on the road. Although not as fuel-efficient as KIA’s hybrid car models, the Forte 1.6 provides an affordable and reliable option for daily commuting.
Pros: Practical, Efficient, Comfortable ride.
Cons: Not hybrid or electric.
8) Honda Civic Type R
The Honda Civic Type R is a high-performance hatchback that pushes the boundaries of what a compact car can do. With its aggressive styling and track-inspired enhancements, the Type R demands attention on the road. Powered by a turbocharged engine, it delivers thrilling performance and exhilarating acceleration. The Type R features precise handling, responsive steering, and enhanced braking capabilities, making it a true driver’s car. It offers a well-crafted interior with supportive seats and modern technology features. While it excels on the track, the Type R’s firm ride and limited rear-seat space may not suit everyone’s preferences.
Pros: Performance, Aggressive styling, Track-inspired.
Cons: Firm ride, Limited rear-seat space.
9) Porsche 930
The Porsche 930, also known as the Porsche 911 Turbo, is an iconic sports car that holds a special place in automotive history. Produced from 1975 to 1989, the 930 showcased groundbreaking turbocharging technology for its time. Its distinctive rear-engine layout, turbocharged power, and timeless design contribute to its allure. The 930 delivers exceptional performance, combining blistering acceleration and precise handling. Its rich heritage, exhilarating driving experience, and collectible status make it a dream car for many enthusiasts.
Pros: Iconic, Turbocharged power, Timeless design.
Cons: Limited rear visibility, Vintage maintenance complexity.
10) Audi Sport Quattro
The Audi Sport Quattro is an iconic rally-inspired sports car that left a lasting impact on the automotive world. Introduced in the 1980s, it showcased advanced technology and stunning performance. The Sport Quattro’s distinctive design, featuring flared wheel arches and a short wheelbase, exudes a sense of aggression and purpose. Equipped with a turbocharged engine and Audi’s legendary quattro all-wheel drive system, it delivers exceptional power, traction, and handling. The Sport Quattro’s limited production numbers and rallying success make it highly coveted among collectors and enthusiasts.
Pros: Rally-inspired, Advanced technology, Legendary performance.
Cons: Limited production, Vintage maintenance complexity.
Perks Of Owning A Turbo Car
Owning a turbo car can provide a thrilling and enjoyable driving experience, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a fun car. However, the advantages of owning a turbo car extend beyond just the excitement factor. Here are some perks of owning a turbo car and the reasons why they make these vehicles so enticing:
Increased Power and Performance: This increased power and performance is achieved by compressing more air into the engine, which in turn allows for more fuel to be burned, resulting in a higher output of power. Turbocharged engines also tend to have a broader powerband, providing more consistent and linear power delivery. Additionally, turbocharged engines can be tuned to deliver specific power outputs, giving drivers the ability to customize their driving experience to their liking.
Improved Fuel Efficiency: Turbocharging enables the engine to burn more fuel with each combustion cycle, maximizing the energy extracted from the fuel. As a result, turbocharged engines can deliver comparable or even better performance than larger engines while consuming less fuel. The improved fuel efficiency of turbocharged engines is particularly beneficial for those seeking a balance between power and economy. It makes them an attractive option for drivers looking to save on fuel costs without compromising performance.
High Altitude Performance: Turbochargers compensate for the decrease in air density at higher altitudes, ensuring the engine maintains optimal performance in mountainous regions or places with thinner air. This feature is especially helpful for drivers who often drive in high-altitude areas or go on long trips across the country.
Enhanced Torque: The turbocharger allows for increased air intake and compression, leading to higher torque output, especially at lower engine speeds. This enhanced torque translates to improved acceleration, making turbocharged cars feel more responsive and lively in various driving conditions. It also allows for smoother and more effortless overtaking maneuvers, giving drivers a confident and enjoyable experience on the road. The abundant low-end torque of turbocharged engines is particularly advantageous in city driving, where quick acceleration from a standstill is often required.
Downsizing without Compromising Power: Turbocharging allows automakers to downsize engine displacements without sacrificing power, resulting in lighter and more efficient vehicles. This is particularly beneficial for hybrid cars, where the turbocharger enables power outputs that would otherwise be unachievable with a traditional electric motor.
Versatility: Turbocharged engines offer a broad powerband, providing ample power and torque across a wide range of engine speeds, making them versatile for different driving conditions. This feature makes them ideal for those who often drive in different terrains or scenarios.
Engaging Driving Experience: The turbo’s added boost and immediate power delivery contribute to an exhilarating driving experience, giving drivers a sense of excitement and control. It makes turbocharged cars a great choice for those seeking an engaging and fun driving experience.
Better Towing Capability: The increased power and torque of turbocharged engines make them well-suited for towing, allowing owners to haul trailers, boats, or other heavy loads with ease. It is particularly beneficial for drivers who need to tow frequently or have large items that require extra power.
Future-Proofing: With the growing emphasis on smaller, more fuel-efficient engines, turbocharged cars are well-positioned for the future, aligning with evolving environmental regulations and sustainability goals. This makes them an attractive option for those looking to invest in a vehicle that is not only fun to drive but also future-proof.
Technological Advancements: Turbocharged cars often come equipped with advanced technologies such as direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, and engine management systems, further enhancing performance and efficiency.
15 Things To Consider While Buying A Turbo Car
Buying a turbo car can be an exciting decision, as it offers a combination of power and performance. But there are several important factors to consider before making your purchase. Here are 15 key things to keep in mind:
Latest Turbo Car Models
Staying updated on the latest turbo car models is crucial as it allows you to take advantage of the most recent advancements in technology and performance. Automakers are constantly pushing the boundaries of engineering, introducing new features and innovations to enhance the turbo car driving experience. By keeping up with the latest models, you can discover improvements in engine efficiency, aerodynamics, safety features, connectivity options, and more.
Consider the seating capacity and cargo space of the turbo car. Determine if it can accommodate your regular passengers and provide the necessary storage for your lifestyle, whether it’s for daily commuting or occasional trips.
Smart Navigation Features
Look for turbo cars equipped with advanced navigation systems, such as built-in GPS, real-time traffic updates, voice commands, and smartphone integration. These features enhance convenience and ensure a seamless navigation experience on your journeys.
Evaluate the fuel efficiency of the turbo car. Check the manufacturer’s claimed mileage and compare it with real-world data and user experiences. Keep in mind that driving habits, terrain, and traffic conditions can influence actual mileage
Consider the fuel options available for turbo cars. Some models offer both petrol and diesel variants, each with its advantages. Diesel engines typically provide higher torque and better fuel economy, while petrol engines often offer more power and smoother acceleration.
Determine the cost of the turbo car, including the initial purchase price, insurance, taxes, and ongoing maintenance. Consider your budget and evaluate the long-term cost-effectiveness, factoring in fuel efficiency, depreciation, and potential repairs.
Customer Reviews and Ratings
Read customer reviews and ratings to gauge the turbo car’s reliability, performance, and overall ownership experience. Pay attention to common issues, customer satisfaction levels, and any recurring concerns that might impact your decision.
Check the warranty offered by the manufacturer. A comprehensive warranty can provide peace of mind, covering repairs and replacements for a specified period. Consider the duration of the warranty, the coverage it offers, and any additional extended warranty options available.
Research the availability and quality of service centers for the turbo car brand in your area. A well-established service network ensures easy access to maintenance and repairs, reducing inconvenience and potential downtime.
Examine the safety features included in the turbo car, such as advanced driver-assistance systems, airbags, stability control, anti-lock braking systems, and collision mitigation technologies. Ensure the car meets your safety expectations and prioritizes your well-being on the road.
Consider the expected resale value of the turbo car. Some brands and models retain their value better than others, which can influence your decision if you plan to sell or upgrade your car in the future.
Check the insurance costs associated with the turbo car you are considering. Insurance premiums can vary based on factors like the car’s value, safety features, theft rates, and repair costs. Obtain insurance quotes to assess the affordability of coverage.
Take a test drive to experience the turbo car firsthand. Evaluate its performance, handling, comfort, and ergonomics. Pay attention to factors like acceleration, braking, steering response, noise levels, and overall driving feel.
Research the turbo car’s track record for long-term reliability. Consider factors like durability, quality of materials, and historical data on maintenance and repairs. Reliability is essential for a satisfying ownership experience and can help avoid unexpected expenses.
Finally, consider your personal preferences and needs. Determine if the turbo car aligns with your lifestyle, matches your aesthetic preferences, and offers the features and specifications that matter most to you.
Turbocharged cars have become increasingly popular due to their impressive performance and efficiency. The rise of modern vehicles has introduced a new generation of turbocharged engines that cater to changing consumer demands. Many exciting turbocharged cars are available in the market today, and the considerations mentioned above can help you select the right one. With the right research and careful decision-making, owning a turbo car can be a thrilling and rewarding experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Are turbocharged cars more fuel-efficient?
Turbocharged cars can be more fuel-efficient by extracting more power from smaller engines, but actual fuel efficiency depends on driving habits and conditions.
2) What are some popular turbocharged car models on the market?
Popular turbocharged car models include the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Mustang EcoBoost, Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Subaru WRX.
3) How do I choose the best-turbocharged car for my needs?
To choose the best turbocharged car, consider factors like budget, performance requirements, desired features, fuel efficiency, reliability, and personal preferences.
4) Are turbocharged cars more expensive to maintain and repair?
Turbocharged cars can have higher maintenance and repair costs due to complex systems, but it varies based on the brand, model, and individual circumstances.
5) Can I add a turbocharger to my existing car?
Adding a turbocharger to an existing car is possible, but it requires significant modifications to the engine, exhaust, and fuel systems, and professional expertise is crucial to ensure proper installation and compatibility.