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Thoughts on the 2nd Turbo car era

Old 12-16-2011, 06:57 PM
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Default Thoughts on the 2nd Turbo car era

Looking around it seems as though we are in a return to the 80s and early 90s. We are seeing many cars where the V6 was either standard or optional being replaced by a turbo I4, we are seeing cars and trucks that either came standard with a V8 or with many optional V8s changing to turbo V6s, and seeing small I4s being replaced with microsized I4s with turbochargers. My take on it is this. Why are we insisting on trying a failed strategy instead of continuing on in a successful one? My reservations on this are these:

1. Turbocharged engines no matter how much technology is developed to reduce lag will never completely replace the rawness of displacement. It just isn't as good.
2. Turbocharged engines have more problems than naturally aspriated. In an age when engines are being made out of aluminum instead of iron, why are we wanting to add more stress to an engine that is built from a weaker metal? You can already see in some models such as the Mazda CX-7 that the reliability is not up to par.
3. Turbocharged engines need higher octane. Yes, we have technology where we can theorically get by with using regular despite the natural need for higher octane, which often results in lower fuel economy, but what happens when technology glitches? I know this is such a hard idea to conceive as technology never ever has glitches or isn't as perfect as we think it is (and the "Unsinkable Ship" is still 99 years and 8 months pending its undoubtedly safe arrival).
4. Despite textbook claims it rarely ever gets the superior mileage it is supposed to get in the real world and often in the EPA ratings.
5. In the past, despite the occasional models that were significantly more powerful than their larger displacement counterparts like the Buick GNX, Ford Thunderbird Supercoupe, or Daytona IROC R/T, these models did not sell very well nor did the Japanese supercars of the 90s (3000GT, Supra, RX-7).
6. The cost is often a few extra thousand to the price tag, often more to get an arguably inferior powertrain option, why would you want this?

My theory is why not just continue on with adding GDI to the engines in that class or adjusting the output more for fuel economy instead of giving us engines that we didn't like previously and we likely won't like this time around either. Any thoughts?
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