It’s the eternal question in the tuner world: Turbo or supercharger? Each has its benefits and drawbacks—and this new video helps take away the mystery.
As Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained tells us, both forms of forced induction have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to decide which suits your car best.
Turbochargers are great because they turn exhaust gas that would otherwise be wasted into power. They allow small engines to make big power, and provide a swell of torque a naturally aspirated engine wouldn’t otherwise have.
Superchargers, on the other hand, force air into the engine by drawing power from the engine, not the exhaust. Therefore, the effectiveness of the supercharger increases as the RPM increases. And unlike turbochargers, superchargers generally don’t change the trajectory of the torque curve, so it’s like driving a naturally aspirated car, just with more horsepower. Throttle response is similar to that of a naturally aspirated car, so there’s no waiting for that power to kick in.
There are downsides to each application, of course. Turbochargers usually have lag, and generate a lot of heat, while superchargers suck power from the engine to run, and therefore aren’t very efficient.
But that’s just a simple explanation. Let Fenske talk you through everything you need to know, and tell you which one he prefers.