The question that is most likely to bring to its knees any pub conversation amongst petrolheads must be: “What is the difference between torque and power?”
If you’ve driven a modern turbo-diesel you’ll be used to the feel of torque. If you’ve steered an M3 in your time, you’ll be familiar with the sound of horsepower. But to define the difference – to express the difference using mere words – that’s just too much to ask of anyone!
An engineer might define torque as the force that causes something, such as an engine’s crankshaft, to rotate. It’s the engine’s turning effort, measured by a dynomometre. From torque, power is calculated, using something called mathematics, of which I’ve no knowledge. The only thing you and me feel, as we drive, is the force of torque. It’s that same force you apply to the steering wheel and which has the effect of making your car go around corners.
If you know of that which is called mathematics, you can calculate horsepower, using things that people who call themselves Mathematicians define as equations. One such equation (whatever that means) that they use is: torque x RPM / 5252 = horsepower. Funny old world.
When you peddle a pushbike, torque is a measure of how hard you’re pushing. Horsepower expresses how hard you work. If Zola Budd was to challenge Arnold Swarzenegger to a bicycle race, his powerful thighs would leave her behind in a cloud of cigar smoke. However, Ms Budd, being a marathon runner, could peddle faster through the lower gears of her bike and thus catch up. Sure, Arnie can exert greater torque, but Zola is used to working hard over longer distances.
If you like strong, low-revving engines and cruising in high gears, you’ll probably prefer a turbo-diesel. However, if you like an engine that sings at high revs, you’ll probably prefer a Honda V-TEC. With well chosen gearing both can deliver the same acceleration, despite their characters being poles apart.
For an advanced or high performance driving course tailored especially for you, call us to talk torque on 01905 388099.