Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Rick asks: Is the same reasoning for turbos also apply to VW GTI? I own one get 32 on the highway, just wondering about my car. Love your articles, very informative and spot on, thanks!
My reply: I think so, yes. Turbos have historically been used to increase the power of engines in sporty vehicles; not as replacements for displacement – which what is what they are being used for now. The reason being (as I’ve ranted about in my . . . rants) that turbos increase the stress on the engine on internal parts; also, of course, there are more parts – and so at least the potential for more things to break down or need work at some point during the car’s life.
Of course, an engine can be built with heavier duty parts – engineered to handle the additional stress. But the stress is still higher than the stress experienced by, say, a larger displacement engine that makes comparable power but without being subjected to boost.
In sum: I think turbos are fine (and fun!) in cars like your GTI. But I would not want a turbo in a daily-driver I intended to keep for 12-15 years because of the possibility of a turbo or turbo-related failure – which can get very expensive, especially proportionate to the value of the car after it’s ten years old or so.
. . .
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