What Does it Technically Mean When a Porsche is a Turbo?

Porsche is a Turbo

You’ll know it when you see it. You’ve heard about its unsurpassed acceleration, smooth ride and reputation as a high performance vehicle: The Porsche Turbo. The Porsche Turbo made it’s debut in 1975, and was the first Porsche model to host a turbocharged engine. For decades it’s been the car that competitors aspire to match, to drive, to race. Made for either a relaxing Sunday drive in the country or a highly respected competitor on race tracks around the world, the design and reputation of the Porsche Turbo has withstood the test of time. However, it was the incorporation of the turbocharged engine which made all the difference on both the raceway and highway. But what is a turbo, or more specifically, a Porsche Turbo? Lets take a closer look at this efficient and powerful engine component below.

What gives the Porsche Turbo it’s Smooth and Seamless Acceleration? The Turbocharger.

When you read the description of a Porsche, you’ll see that it’s also referred to as a Porsche Turbo. This means that the engine uses a component called a turbocharger. Turbochargers are also known as forced induction devices. The difference between the Porsche Turbo and standard engines centers around the turbochargers use of waste engine exhaust. Unlike standard engines which do not pull additional air into the intake valve, turbocharged engines do. Standard engines, also known as naturally-aspirated engines, use standard air pressure, whereas the turbo’s forced induction method pumps in a liberal amount of air to the engine. This act of sucking more air to the engine means more power and more fuel efficiency for the engine.

A Brief History of the Turbocharged Engine

Porsche is a Turbo 1

In 1918 a General Electric engineer by the name of Sandford Moss traveled to Pikes Peak, Colorado to test his Turbo Supercharger on the Liberty V-12 aero engine. By the 1920’s turbochargers were being used in the aircraft engines of the day. That was the beginning, the birth of the turbocharged engine. But what about the Porsche?

Porsche’s experience with the turbocharged engine design began in the 1960’s. Their engineers decided to test a turbocharged engine in their race cars, especially their stable of 917 endurance race cars. These experiments were looked upon as successes. Therefore, the brass at Porsche made the bold decision to include its turbocharged engine to the public for select models. Then, in 2016 Porsche decided to give all its 911 models a turbocharged engine and the game was changed forever.

How a Porsche Turbo Engine is Made

All Porsche Turbo engines begin in the “Supermarket”. The Supermarket is the area in the manufacturing facility that contains the parts necessary to build each engine, Here, each builder collects over 300 parts needed to make the Porsche Turbo engine. These parts include the crankcase, pistons, connecting rods and more. Each shift produces 250 911 Turbo engines, and each year around 30,000 Porsche 911’s are made available to the public.

How a Turbocharged Engine Functions

Porsche is a Turbo 2

A Porsche turbocharger consists of two main components in order to capture the Porsches’ exhaust waste. These two components are the air compressor and turbine. Together, they work to thrust more air into the Porsches’ engine cylinders. This extra push of air, equals more power for the Porsche. As such, the Porsches’ engine becomes not only more powerful, but also more efficient when it comes to burning fuel.

When the engines waste exhaust enters, it does so at high pressure. Once the exhaust air is pushed through the turbine component, it causes both the turbine and compressor to rotate, which then pulls in the air, compresses it and shoots it out of the outlet port. To give you a basic idea of how Porsche turbos work, we’ve outlined a simplified summary of the process below, courtesy of Educational Mechanics.

• First, the waste gas, or exhaust enters the turbo. The turbine wheel then rotates/
• The turbine wheel rotates at speeds up to 280,000 RPM.
• The air causes both the turbine and compressor wheels to spin, taking in vast amounts of air.
• The air is compressed in the compressor then cooled.
• The dense, compressed and cooled air enters the engine.
• More fuel can now be efficiently burned.

Some models, such as the new 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S, utilize a twin turbo engine. This means just what the name implies: Two turbochargers are used in the engine instead of one. Jay Leno gives us a closer look to the 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S, and its twin turbo engine here.

Difference Between a Porsche Turbo and Porsche Turbo S

The Porsche Turbo and the Porsche Turbo S are not the same machine. What makes the difference? Speed. While the Porsche Turbo is a superior vehicle designed to make your everyday drive a legendary one, the Porsche Turbo S is specifically designed for the track, having a more refined engine and significantly more horsepower. It’s the Turbo S that represents the racing version between the two.

Benefits of a Turbocharged Engine

Porsche is a Turbo 3

If You’re new to the Porsche Turbo, or turbocharged engines in general, you might be asking yourself why not stick with the standard engines? What’s the benefit of having a turbocharged engine? Well, to answer that, we’ve lined up some basic benefits of the turbocharged engine.

For years, the only way to develop a more powerful, standard engine, was to make it bigger. However, with the advent of the turbocharger, automakers were able to increase the power using waste exhaust, thus helping the keep the size of the entire engine in check. In other words, the turbocharger allows smaller engines to have much more power than if they were simply naturally-aspirated engines. By being able to pack a punch in smaller engine, this makes the engine economical and fast.

The smaller turbocharged engines were not only cheaper for automakers to manufacture, but they also were easy on the consumers pocket. Since they utilized the waste exhaust to increase power, less cash needed to be spent at the pump. However, there’s one thing to consider in order to take advantage of these benefits, your driving style. Since expelled waste air is needed for power, it’s crucial that you don’t drive your Porsche in an aggressive manner. An aggressive driving style will mess up your air to fuel ratio, which could result in pre-ignition issues.

Final Thoughts

The Porsche Turbo has long been seen as the flagship of the Porsche family. This is a car that exceeds the expectations of both the casual driver and sporting enthusiast. However, it was the inclusion of turbocharger technology which really helped this high performance car make a name for itself among the public. Faster and more fuel efficient, meant that this was a car which made speed and handling craved by millions, much more accessible. The Porsche Turbo’s superior handling and efficient turbocharged engine brings its legendary reputation right to your driveway, and that’s a quality few sports cars can claim.


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