As a car maniac, I chew through car specifications. And when choosing a new ute to tow my track car trailer, I look straight to turbocharged engines.
Rather than focusing on higher engine outputs like the original BMW 2002 Turbo, turbochargers nowadays are more on reducing fuel consumption.
I admit that conserving our resources is crucial. Otherwise, our octane burning cars will be left stranded soon.
However, I still hope turbochargers can bring more driving passion to our cars. The recent 4-pot engine in the Mercedes-AMG A45S is one of such that I am talking about. Giving out 310kW and 500Nm of torque from a little 2.0-litre engine, this is what I have been hoping for.
Back to the topic of towing, turbocharged engines serve much better in towing when compared to naturally aspirated engines.
One of the key differences is the torque. While peak torque from naturally aspirated engines usually comes above 4,000 rpm, peak torque from turbo charged engines arrives much earlier, often between 2,000-3,000 pm.
Instead of the power, torque makes a bigger difference when towing a trailer or a caravan. And the earlier it arrives, the less fuel is needed. (And your car accelerates faster as well.)
(That said, electric cars are best for towing in this case. Peak torque is offered at zero rpm in electric motors for the best acceleration. However, you will have to deal with range anxiety with a Tesla.)
Using the beloved Ford Ranger as an example, its inline 4 cylinder 2.2-litre turbocharged diesel engine offers 385Nm at, wait for it, 1,600-2,500 rpm. The lovely torque across the range allows you to pull almost any trailers from the tiniest press of the throttle. And, with some clever use of the gearbox, you can easily accelerate to illegal speed.
The upgraded torque from turbochargers also allows you to pull heavier loads with ease. Rather than hard pressing the pedal until the revs crawl towards the red line for the peak torque, acceleration comes sooner and bigger with turbo engines.
(Note: If you are a provisional license holder under the age of 25, you cannot drive turbocharged vehicles manufactured before 1 January 2010. If a vehicle was built after 1 January 2010 and has a power to weight ratio greater than 130kW per tonne or has any modifications, be it turbocharged or not, you are not allowed to drive the vehicle if you hold the above license as well.)
The other benefits of using a turbocharged engine in towing are the fuel economy. Yes, I did wish for more exciting turbocharged engines. That’s why I fitted a turbocharger on my MX-5 track car.
But for the journey to the track, I want to spend as less fuel as possible. So, I can spend on better petrol for my car and less on the overall weekend for better parts.
Using a turbocharged engine allows me to tow my car with much less fuel. Also, the journey is more pleasant without the high revs from the naturally aspirated engine.
With some ECU upgrades, you can easily make more out of your turbocharged engine without extra parts.