Turbocharging sports cars to make them more eco-friendly is painful to petrolheads.
I may be a driving enthusiast, but at the same time I’m aware that I also need to be ecoconscious. Only a fool would say that it’s okay to consume non-renewable resources faster than we can find sustainable ones. But as a petrolhead, I am pained whenever a carmaker changes a model’s formula in the name of eco-friendliness. I’m referring to the latest Porsche 911 Carrera and Carrera S models, which both have turbocharged 3-litre flat-6 engines, and the Ferrari 488 GTB, which has a turbocharged V8.
Forced induction is no replacement for displacement
Having driven some wonderful naturally aspirated Carreras and a razor-sharp 458 Italia, I found these moves hard to comprehend. Lowering the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for regular cars are laudable achievements, but I don’t see why these should matter to high-performance vehicles. Now, I don’t think forced induction is bad. Supercharged or turbocharged motors work great in big and/or heavy cars. But I feel that naturally aspirated engines are still more ideal for sports cars because of their more responsive and linear nature. Turbocharged motors, no matter how well-tuned, can never replicate these characteristics.
There is purity in a naturally aspirated engine – its output is achieved without the use of “steroids”. Alas, I’m one of the few traditionalists still holding fast to this view. When I look at the bigger picture, one thing becomes clear: Nothing is sacred, especially where ecological concerns are concerned (no pun intended). A carmaker making its high-performance models “greener” is very much like your favourite restaurant turning its sinful dishes into healthier ones with reduced fat, sodium and sugar content. I don’t mind healthier meals. But to eat them all the time without being able to indulge is a painful way to live.
Jeremy’s doctor has ordered him to cut down on indulgences such as gin & tonic and junk food, lest they lead to a life of pain.