What is a turbocharged engine?

February 19th, 2020 by

The automotive world is all abuzz lately because big news about the 2021 Toyota Supra recently was announced – the 2021 model will feature two new engine options (inline six and 4-cylinder), and both of them will be turbocharged. However, what exactly does turbocharged mean and how does it affect your drive time? Toyota of Orlando is here with answers.

turbocharged Orlando Toyota

What is a turbocharged engine?

A turbocharged engine is frequently referred to simply as a “turbo” engine. It’s purpose? To boost both fuel efficiency and power in a vehicle, which is what makes it such a popular option for sports cars (and anyone who wants to get where they’re going fast). But how does a turbo achieve this extra efficiency and power inside your engine bay? Here’s a basic breakdown:

  • A turbocharged engine essentially uses turbine power and forced induction to push extra compressed air into your engine’s combustion chamber.
  • This improves your Orlando Toyota’s power because the extra air being forced into the combustion chamber subsequently results in more fuel being pushed in as well. This is where that “boost” in power comes from – the extra fuel combusting at a faster rate than a normally-aspirated engine.

Turbocharged vs supercharged

Turbo engines haven’t always been called turbos, though. They were originally known as turbosuperchargers because this was when the term “superchargers” encompassed all engines that used forced induction (aka forced compressed air) to boost power and efficiency. However, today superchargers and turbochargers are considered to be two different things.

  • Turbocharged engines use a turbine that’s powered by the engine’s exhaust gas to force the extra air into the combustion chamber.
  • A supercharger is mechanically-driven – it’s usually powered by a belt attached to the crankshaft.
  • A twincharger, on the other hand, is an engine that uses both a turbocharger AND a supercharger.

Which is better? That really depends on the individual driver and the drive time experience they prefer, but our Orlando Toyota dealership is here to point out some of the pros and cons of both types of chargers. Check it out:

  • One of the disadvantages you’ll find in turbocharged cars is lag. This is the gap of time between the demand for increased power (the throttle being opened) and the actual input of compressed air to result in that power. It happens because this type of charger relies on the buildup of exhaust gas pressure to power the turbine. When a car is operating at idle or a low speed, it takes a bit of time to build up that exhaust pressure and push it above the norm.
  • A disadvantage of superchargers, on the other hand, is the toll that the charger takes on the engine. Because it’s mechanically-driven, it puts the engine through additional wear and tear and actually uses some of the horsepower that the engine produces (although the horsepower that it subsequently creates outweighs the loss). Another con? Superchargers create far more excess heat than turbochargers, which can be bad for your engine.

Have questions or want to see a turbocharged engine in person? Call us – the 2020 Toyota Supra is waiting for you to take it home at Toyota of Orlando!


Posted in New Toyota