There is a never-ending debate among those who build engines for a living, about, what is better, horsepower or torque? Some say it’s horsepower, some that it is torque.
“Horsepower is what pushes, pulls, shoves, or drags our rides through the friction-filled world. If we want to go faster, it takes more horsepower. If we want to go slower, it takes less horsepower” by Harold Bettes, SuperFlow
“It takes torque to get a car moving” – by Dick Miller from Dick Miller Racing
But, what the torque really is?
Work is calculated as a vector force, exerted in a straight line. Engines rotate around an axis.
Torque or moment of force is a rotational force. You can think of it as a twist to an object. That’s how wheels on your car are moved by the engine, using a torque.
The role of torque
So, what does the torque do to a car? It causes it to accelerate. When u read about it, the torque specs they give you is the maximum torque of the internal-combustion engine. That is usually a higher value than the actual torque on the wheels because there is a friction between the tires and the road causes the torque to be smaller than an actual force made by the engine.
Maximum torque for most engines comes at an earlier rpm than the max bhp. The higher the torque, the higher the pickup and force at the wheels. So, if the high amount of the torque is made at an rpm as low as 1750, that means that the car will accelerate much faster when you hit the pedal.
Just to be straight about something. Horsepower of the engine is the total power output of an engine that is available to you. Torque measures the “turning ability” of the engine. That is, torque is a better measurement of how quickly your car can accelerate and reach the top speed. Horsepower is a better measurement for your car’s top speed.
How to accelerate faster?
If you need a car that can accelerate faster, there are some things that can help with your choice.
For this you will need: more torque, a lower center of mass, larger diameter wheels and tires, a lighter car, an engine that can output large amount of torque over a wide range of engine speeds. So, take your time and consider what will be the best in your case of buying a perfect car model.