Posted by: thegriffon
Posted: 17th Aug 2010
rachaelc says: Agree - neither turbo petrol engines or powerful V8. Maybe they should be limited the way young motorbike riders are eg they can only drive cars with small engines like a Ford Fiesta or...
The trouble is that a turbo, or V8, is no indication of a vehicle's power or performance. Quite a number of V6 and even 4-cylinder engines produce more power than older V8s, even without turbocharging. Turbocharged engines are increasingly being employed to improve fuel economy rather than power. VW offers many such engines with no more power than a larger 4-cylinder, all Mercedes' 4-cylinder models are turbocharged, Ford will soon offer a turbocharged 4-cylinder Falcon with no more power than the base V6, and Holden is expected to offer a turbocharged Cruze with no more power, but much better fuel economy than the base 4-cylinder. Fiat will soon offer a 1.0 L turbocharged engine in the 500. None of these could be called "performance" cars likely to inspire hooliganism. The importance of such proposals is not they actually have any effect, but rather that the proponents be seen to be doing something.
The trouble is that there is no certified, standard measure for vehicle performance or even power. Rather there are several different standards in use which produce differing results (SAE, ECE, EU, JIS, ISO, etc. even the obsolete DIN). Many manufacturers do not divulge which standard they have used to determine horsepower at all. Quite frankly often the marketing and sales personnel don't actually know (e.g. the JIS is often confused with the SAE, and ECE with EU). In other markets this has caused some minor scandals from time to time. Thus unless regulations require testing to a certain standard before a vehicle is certified for sale (as in the EU), there is no objective way of determining performance. Once the common solution was to calculate a "fiscal" horsepower (purely for tax purposes), based on engine dimensions rather than actual output, but of course that is inadequate if you want to restrict vehicle performance, and too complicated for a licensing system that only records approximate engine size and type, not detailed specifications or certified power. Reply