The engines in today’s automobiles can be categorized in a variety of ways. Combustion can be influenced by both the number of pistons and the direction in which air enters the combustion chamber, depending on the fuel.
Naturally aspirated, turbocharged, compressor, or dual induction (turbo/compressor) engines are various types of engines. The question is, which option is the best one?
As opposed to the late 1800s, when the first steam engine was fabricated, the internal combustion engine was developed. After a few years of using gasoline, naturally aspirated, the first diesel engines appeared, as well as forced induction engines.
Things haven’t changed much in a century.
Natural aspirated engines are still available as well as turbocharged engines, a hint that the world has yet to settle on which is the most efficient. As a result, what’s the best course of action?
By and large, we can safely state that before the 1990s, nearly all mass-produced cars had naturally aspirated engines. Vehicles equipped with turbochargers or mechanical compressors are often high-performance or custom-built versions, with very few series models available with these types of engines.
A modest revolution occurred after 1990.
Turbochargers were added to all diesel engines, while mechanical compressors or turbos were added to all gasoline engines at the same time.
Things were clearer with diesel engines, but in the case of gasoline engines, it was still up in the air whether or not to use a turbocharger.
However, natural aspirated and turbocharged engines still outnumber mechanically compressed ones.
Manufacturers seeking higher performance, on the other hand, began to abandon compressors in favor of turbo. Why? It takes up more room under the hood because the compressor is more expensive to make than the engine. Is there any other way to say that it was less efficient and less powerful than an engine with a turbocharger?
As a result, until the 2000s, engines with a mechanical compressor were all but extinct. It’s rare to find high-capacity supercharged engines in any vehicle these days. However, by 2015, the number of these models had dropped to fewer than 1% of the total number of cars sold.
From diesel to turbo diesel
The sale of diesel-powered automobiles also skyrocketed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Why? More and more consumers sought to reduce their carbon footprint regardless of the circumstances, even if they had to compromise on performance.
In other words, by the early 2000s, diesel engines were thought to be inferior to petrol engines in terms of performance. However, the public favored diesel because of its low fuel usage, and producers sought to improve this product as well.
What was lacking in a diesel engine that was naturally aspirated?
Power. These engines first existed in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until 1995 that turbo diesels became widely used in mass-produced cars.
Turbochargers fix the performance issue, allowing diesel car owners to experience performance on par with petrol car owners, but at a lower fuel consumption cost.
Currently, there are no manufacturers that produce diesel engines that aren’t turbocharged. They added a route, intercooler, and turbocharger to the vehicle’s forced induction system
Because of this, automobiles have a small cylinder capacity but a high output. In spite of this, diesel engines are being phased out as a result of international regulations on emissions and the growing popularity of alternative fuels.
The production of naturally aspirated petrol engines is declining.
Despite the fact that automobiles with naturally aspirated gasoline engines now account for the vast majority of sales, turbocharged models are quickly overtaking them. Why? Due to the lower cost of manufacturing a turbo engine than a normally aspirated one
In what way is this so?
As it turns out, manufacturers came up with the idea of taking a piston out of an aspirated engine and replacing it with a compact turbocharger. Less wasteful use of resources, lighter weight, fewer components, and a reduced cost of production.
The new components, such as the intercooler and the turbine, are mass-produced in large quantities, making them less expensive to produce than a piston engine with a connecting rod.
Consumers are turning to 1-liter, 0.-9, or 0.-7-cylinder engines due to their lower taxes, less pollution, and reduced consumption.
To put it another way, fewer naturally aspirated engines are better for the environment.
Even though it costs less to make, the manufacturer charges more for it, thus the customer ends up saving money in the long run.
There is no doubt that naturally aspirated engines are the most reliable on the market. Fewer moving parts mean less risk of damage to materials, and lower voltage means less risk of damage to materials in a naturally aspirated engine, where air is drawn in rather than driven in.
V8 or diesel engines from Chevrolet, Mercedes Benz, or Ford are the most durable engines in the world, and they’ve been around for a long time. With a lot of miles on the clock, you won’t find a turbocharged engine
On diesel, the situation is obvious because only turbo diesel engines are available; on petrol, you can select from a variety of options.
Both turbo and normally aspirated engines are available. There are already manufacturers who only sell turbocharged supercharged engines, no longer offering normally aspirated models.
Turbocharged and normally aspirated engines are available from the mass-market carmakers who produce compact and subcompact vehicles.
The advantages of a naturally aspirated engine
- Cheaper maintenance: Because it has fewer moving parts, but also because the turbo is missing, for a longer period you will spend less money on maintenance. An aspirated engine will not even consume oil like a turbo one. And you don’t have to be careful with starting and heating, as with a turbo.
- Reliability: in the long run, a naturally aspirated engine is more reliable. The turbo engine is a bit more complicated and if you do not properly maintain the turbocharger, it can leave you when your world is dearer and the repair is not cheap.
The advantages of a turbocharged engine
- Higher power: Thanks to the turbocharger, a turbo engine has on average about 25-30% more power than an engine of the same type and capacity. And who would not, if they could wish for more power that is welcomed?
- Lower taxes in some countries
- Lower consumption: because you have a smaller capacity, but a higher power, you can drive in the city without having to overload the engine, so you will have a decent consumption. On the longer drives, the turbo helps you have a higher power at a lower speed, so you won’t have to drive the engine for much longer. In total, a turbo engine has a lower consumption than one naturally aspirated with the same capacity and significantly lower than one aspirated by the same power. Also, low consumption comes from lower weight.
Disadvantages of naturally aspirated engine
- Less power than a turbo
- Higher taxes related to power
- Increased consumption for the same capacity or power
The disadvantages of the turbo engine
- More expensive maintenance
- Low long-term reliability
What type of engine is better? Naturally aspirated or turbo?
In a daily driver’s car, we believe that an aspirated engine is preferable to a turbocharged one, especially in urban driving. Even if it consumes more fuel, it’s preferable to go to the gas station frequently than to get it serviced frequently.
Alternatively, if there are no roads to be driven on, the turbo’s added performance is pointless.
We prefer an aspirated engine in terms of maintenance costs, but also because you don’t have to wait for the engine to warm up before you can get behind the wheel and begin driving immediately. The turbocharger’s lifespan is shortened if you quickly accelerate or stop while the oil is hot in a turbo automobile.
How can I get the best performance from a naturally aspirated motor?
Low displacement, below 2000cc, since it is more resistant in congested areas, doesn’t heat up as much as a turbo, and doesn’t put undue strain on any underhood components. In this case, the normally aspirated petrol engine would be a better fit for city driving.
For longer trips outside of town, however, I’d go for a turbo engine. The ideal power gain is to use less energy.
To sum things up, what matters most is what the individual driver likes to do, where he drives, and how fast he drives.