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Old 02-11-2016, 11:16 AM   #1
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Default Chris Harris: Dear Automakers, Please stop making turbos suck

is it wrong that im annoyed that the graphic doesn't make sense for how he is being pulled into the turbo.



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When I was a kid, turbocharging ruled. The aim in life was to elongate the point between request and delivery, to worship at the altar of lag and to ensure that when the goods arrived they did as much damage to tires and supposed ‘handling’ as possible. By eliminating lag have we not eliminated what makes turbos fun?

I left the Ferrari stand at the Geneva motorshow, my head ringing with anecdotal numbers I will never be able to validate. You know the ones we all seem to digest like they’re irrefutable facts? “The new paddle-shift gearchange takes 80 milliseconds instead of 90 millie-somethings and we can tell you it’s true, but you’ll never be able to test it.”

This time it was throttle response timings for the new Ferrari 488 GTB, Maranello’s mighty 660hp coupe and gateway to the turbocharged future. Someone with a large forehead had been impressing me with crank response times in denominations I couldn’t compute and comparing them to the McLaren 650S and the outgoing 458. He said this would do this in a that and I just nodded and thought: “I have no idea what you’re talking about, I need to drive it really.”

A few minutes later I bumped into someone else from Ferrari and told them how impressive the numbers had sounded and that I didn’t really absorb meaningless figures unless they were backed-up by some practical demonstration. At which point he questioned my stance on the matter at hand. He said I was quite wrong to be questioning the supposedly anecdotal data being aired to prove that Maranello could to all intents and purposes make a turbocharged engine behave like a normally aspirated one. He said the main issue was: why would we want to do that in the first place – why hide the fact it’s turbocharged?

And then he walked away, smiling.

And left me befuddled and pondering this rare moment of profundity at an auto show.

I think maybe he’s right. Over lunch last summer with a few Ferrari engineers I asked them how difficult it was to calibrate the turbocharged V8 and dual-clutch transmission for the California T. The answer was long and involved, caused several grimaces and could have been summarized thus: “a little more complicated than splitting an atom.”

And this is the great engineering conquest of modern fast motoring times – making forced induction feel like atmospheric pressure and yet I’ve never stopped to question if this in itself is the right direction for us all. I think of all those man-hours and I think of the crazy throttle response on something like a new BMW M3, which at times does seem to have zero lag, and then I remember my first ride in a Saab 99 Turbo when I was a kid. The wait, the spool, the push, the flickering boost needle. The drama of the whole experience.

In many ways, severe turbocharged power delivery is the very essence of exciting motoring – and yet in 2015 we’re locked in a battle to expunge every last vestige of turbo behavior. Are we heading down the wrong path?

Or, to couch it in more practical terms: is the Ferrari F40 any less awesome because it is turbocharged, and makes zero attempt to hide that turbocharging? Er, it’s the greatest road-doing Ferrari of them all.

Are car-makers missing a trick here? Instead of spending millions, perhaps billions making these potentially explosive motors behave in a crisp, linear fashion, shouldn’t they be celebrating some lag and some unruliness? I mean, most of the unwanted side-effects, such as trying to kill the driver on anything other than straight, dry pavement can be eradicated though clever chassis electronics.

Think back to the late ‘80s and early ‘90s – those days of furious turbocharging, especially over here in Europe. We had mental French hatchbacks like the Renault 5 GT Turbo, and sedans like the Ford Cosworth. And if you’d asked their owners what they liked most about their rolling death-traps, they’d have all said ‘that massive bang you get in the back when the Turbo kicks in!!’

Heavy turbocharging deserves heavy-duty delivery. I’m not sure I don’t want these cars to be scary. There are some unlikely side-effects of scary power delivery too – a reduction in road traffic accidents being one of them. The slowest I’ve driven on a public highway in years was in a Jaguar XJ220. The whole thing just felt terrifying – the road was damp, the long throttle seemed to wake these wheeeshing demons with little consistency and as for trying to pin it mid-corner: well, forget it. I couldn’t drive fast, it wasn’t possible without soiling myself. A minivan would have been quicker that day.

The big-banger turbo motor working in conjunction with no traction control is perhaps the second best active safety device known to mankind – pipped only by the large metal spike extending from the steering wheel. You’d think twice about that silly overtake with the spike resting against your chest.

Maybe what I really want to happen is for this next generation of turbo-nutters to have a nutter ‘mode.’ So you can have your turbo 488, 911 and AMG all doing their very best impression of being normally aspirated, but there’s a button you can hit that sends you straight back to 1987. You hit the gas and nothing happens, and then you sense something stirring under the hood and then before you have time to do shit about it WHOOOOOOOOOSH-KABOOOOOOOM you’re wrestling the bastard down the road.

That’s what I want. I want the essential excitement of turbocharging not to be lost in the next few years. I want someone to harness that crazy feeling of spool and boost, and to celebrate it.
Dear Automakers, Please Stop Making Turbos Suck
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:20 AM   #2
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:31 AM   #3
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I liked that. The waiting for a turbo to fully spool is glorious because of the pull to soon follow.

Fuck ferrari
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:32 AM   #4
 
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Jalopnik articles are, as a whole, meh, but I'll give a pass to Chris Harris
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:39 AM   #5
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One of the few times I don't agree with him for the direction were moving.

I love that spool, I admit its great fun in the ST.

But when I want to actually PUT the power to the ground? I don't want the spool, I want the power, right then and there. I don't want to have to guess about how much boot I have to give it to spool the turbo.

I like the fact that when my foot goes to the floor in the Focus ST above a certain RPM the power is just there, no real waiting for the turbo to spool. Its short enough that I don't have to give it any thought at all.

So I'm perfectly happy with a Turbo charged car delivering power like a naturally aspirated car.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:07 PM   #6
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Problem is most turbo cars out there are for economy, not power. How many Cruze owners are going to want another turbo car after they pay for all the turbo related problems they have, with the payoff being 138 blistering horsepower?
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:14 PM   #7
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then I remember my first ride in a Saab 99 Turbo when I was a kid. The wait, the spool, the push, the flickering boost needle. The drama of the whole experience.

In many ways, severe turbocharged power delivery is the very essence of exciting motoring – and yet in 2015 we’re locked in a battle to expunge every last vestige of turbo behavior. Are we heading down the wrong path?

Or, to couch it in more practical terms: is the Ferrari F40 any less awesome because it is turbocharged, and makes zero attempt to hide that turbocharging? Er, it’s the greatest road-doing Ferrari of them all.
I personally love "The wait" he describes.

However, practicality will show that power, no matter how quickly you produce it nor how well you hide various power adding systems coming "online" as you begin making power, will all need to be delicately managed by ever-increasingly complicated computerized traction control systems, if you're to make actual use of the power.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:16 PM   #8
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One of the few times I don't agree with him for the direction were moving.

I love that spool, I admit its great fun in the ST.

But when I want to actually PUT the power to the ground? I don't want the spool, I want the power, right then and there. I don't want to have to guess about how much boot I have to give it to spool the turbo.

I like the fact that when my foot goes to the floor in the Focus ST above a certain RPM the power is just there, no real waiting for the turbo to spool. Its short enough that I don't have to give it any thought at all.

So I'm perfectly happy with a Turbo charged car delivering power like a naturally aspirated car.
So basically, you're content with a turbo'd powerplant which doesn't make enough power to turn your wheels at any speed whenever you as the driver decide to mat the throttle.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:23 PM   #9
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That sense of speed is what does it and that build up of boost is what gives you the anticipation that's it's coming.
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:42 PM   #10
 
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idk i dont get it. all this work to reduce turbo lag and improve responsiveness and now this guy doesn't like it.

I find stuff like this funny because its right up there with manual vs auto. People want a certian "feeling" when they drive but they also spend all this time tuning it to make the car perform better. It's like we want a car to perform as good as it can but we dont want it to be boring to drive either, so where do you draw the line?

And then you hear the opposite sometimes, like a GTR is a better street car than say, a Viper, because you can actually put all the power down on the road. But then its an auto with awd and advanced traction control and everything which is supposed to not be as fun. Can't make everyone happy I guess.
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:53 PM   #11
 
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I personally think he is using the wrong car as an example for his argument. If you want a crazy supercar that is out to kill you purchase a mid to late model Lambo.

When talking turbos Ferrari is not going to put a new car out in the market that delivers a massive kick in the back when the turbo spools. Their customers are not looking for that 12 year old smile followed by moments of an uncontrollable car and terror like a supra with to large of a turbo on it.

Dear Chris if you want that 80-90's turbo spool go out and buy an 80-90s car.
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by YoushallgoFo View Post
idk i dont get it. all this work to reduce turbo lag and improve responsiveness and now this guy doesn't like it.

I find stuff like this funny because its right up there with manual vs auto. People want a certian "feeling" when they drive but they also spend all this time tuning it to make the car perform better. It's like we want a car to perform as good as it can but we dont want it to be boring to drive either, so where do you draw the line?

And then you hear the opposite sometimes, like a GTR is a better street car than say, a Viper, because you can actually put all the power down on the road. But then its an auto with awd and advanced traction control and everything which is supposed to not be as fun. Can't make everyone happy I guess.
The key there is BALANCE. It's one of the reasons I love the Z06 so much. Damn car is perfectly balanced between power and handling. One of the reasons I don't really want to mod it. I don't want to tip the balance.
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:56 PM   #13
 
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The key there is BALANCE. It's one of the reasons I love the Z06 so much. Damn car is perfectly balanced between power and handling. One of the reasons I don't really want to mod it. I don't want to tip the balance.
Shut up and mod the damn thing! I want another 56056 page Eagle build tease thread followed by turbo and supercharger whine videos making my dick hard!
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Old 02-11-2016, 02:49 PM   #14
 
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Honestly there are two sides to the coin, on my sho (i know, I know) I love the smooth linear power delivery. It makes for a great daily driver with some oomph.

However if I were to buy a turbo mustang, I could see the want to have the car just spool up and kick you in the ass. However 95% of the population doesn't want that because they will never use it and hence think the car is slow because they wont bring it above 3500 rpm.

What about a way to have both? I mean they have electronic shocks why not electronically modified turbos? But i guess all that does is add even more cost which is a point he is arguing is pointless.

So fuck it I don't know...
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Old 02-11-2016, 02:56 PM   #15
 
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You do not even need to make it crazy complicated. The Noble has a switch on the dash that lets you select 3 power settings. Tesla does this but it is for the electric motors obviously. However not all cars will do this as I am sure this adds time and cost. You need to have multiple different tunes and boost levels in the car that are safe and ready for everyday use. And that pass emissions on all levels.
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Old 02-11-2016, 03:17 PM   #16
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TLDR

But assuming something to do with new turbos spooling to fast and not being exciting which is the thing I hated most about the Focus ST. Felt like driving a supercharged car since boost was instant. Agree with Chris Harris.
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Old 02-11-2016, 04:19 PM   #17
 
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idk, hp is hp, whats the difference if it comes on right away or kicks in hard later. its not like these newer turbo cars have less power than the old ones. they're just easier to drive because the technology is better. When you're trying to balance a car mid turn last thing you want is a sudden surge of power to throw the car around. power and handling balance is one thing, this argument is just saying it was fun to drive cars when they were hard to drive. Which basically is the auto vs manual argument.
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Old 02-11-2016, 04:56 PM   #18
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So basically, you're content with a turbo'd powerplant which doesn't make enough power to turn your wheels at any speed whenever you as the driver decide to mat the throttle.
No, i want wheel spin. The ST has more power than it does traction. You still have to manage throttle in the corners, or anytime in 1st, 2nd, and part of 3rd. I mean tuned it puts down more than 300lb/ft to wheels.

The FBO ST guys are making upwards of 400lb/ft+ at the crank. I'm just perfectly okay with a turbo that delivers its power so seamlessly as to feel naturally aspirated.
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Old 02-11-2016, 05:08 PM   #19
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This Chris guy is a bozo. If you want lag...build it that way. Who wants to buy a stock car brand new and then have it run like shit and never have the power during daily driving applications like passing on the highway or accelerating from a light? You want to floor it and have the response right away for the situation you are in.

Race cars...sure bring on the big ass lag and the big ass kick in the ass.

Factory cars...that's just dumb and no regular consumer will enjoy it and will think it runs like shit.
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Old 02-11-2016, 05:09 PM   #20
 
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Old 02-11-2016, 05:31 PM   #21
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I see Harris' point. There is a very kid like smile and urge when that spool kicks you in your gibblets. As fun as that may be, @Eagle nailed it. Balance is way more fun to drive. It is more rewarding the entire driving experience, not just acceleration or handling, but all of the goods together. Eagles Z06 is the epitome of a balanced sports car to me. My cousin let me drive his and I couldn't compute the experience because there were no shortcomings and everything was so raw and in your face. That is what automakers should strive for.

I am more figuring out how I can get into a good c6zo6 and enjoy that car for a long time of my life. The key is balance.
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Old 02-11-2016, 05:55 PM   #22
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I see Harris' point. There is a very kid like smile and urge when that spool kicks you in your gibblets. As fun as that may be, @Eagle nailed it. Balance is way more fun to drive. It is more rewarding the entire driving experience, not just acceleration or handling, but all of the goods together. Eagles Z06 is the epitome of a balanced sports car to me. My cousin let me drive his and I couldn't compute the experience because there were no shortcomings and everything was so raw and in your face. That is what automakers should strive for.

I am more figuring out how I can get into a good c6zo6 and enjoy that car for a long time of my life. The key is balance.
Sell Mustang, buy C6Z. You are welcome.
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Old 02-11-2016, 06:31 PM   #23
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I remember reading that article a while back. On a street car I'm fine with having the power as soon as i put my foot down, but I wont say there arent times when I might just roll into the throttle w/ my foot, instead of mashing the pedal down at once
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Old 02-11-2016, 06:46 PM   #24
 
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must be laggy because the air is going in the wrong part of the turbo.....

Stupid video.

I agree with @Yaj Yak
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:50 PM   #25
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Problem is most turbo cars out there are for economy, not power. How many Cruze owners are going to want another turbo car after they pay for all the turbo related problems they have, with the payoff being 138 blistering horsepower?
Are they really that bad? Wifey has one, I told my self if it ever went out I'd find an upgrade if it wasn't a warranty job.

As for this guy, I can see where he's coming from. Then again people get nostalgic about "super quick" SBCs with a 3/4 race cam some double humps and headers too.

In terms of power, area under the curve is where it's at for virtually anything but a drag car. A side effect of the 80s was the downsizing of turbos to reduce the "lag" such as the Garretts on Turbo Coupes going to the much smaller IHIs, or using choking turbine housings etc. We have overcome a great deal of that with better turbos, better computers, better flowing/better combustion engines and a better understanding of how the systems interact. Why fuck with a good thing in that regard?

It does leave the question of "how much power is being left on the table for the response that's being achieved?" I don't have the answer to that, but I wouldn't be surprised if compared to 10-25 years ago the percentage is significantly less.

ED:If I ever get off my ass/care to get off my ass/actually get off my ass and work on my turbo vehicle, this is something I have actually pondered at a level. I have a T66 here I swiped from Mook that would make good power, be responsive and fun. Then again, I have a turbo here from a Detroit that's ludicrously sized, probably act like an over cammed engine with my current combo etc. I'm still leaning towards/considering the over sized one just due to what he's talking about in defiance of common sense.
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