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      01-08-2015, 02:07 PM   #1
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R&T Magazine: Why Ferrari engineers don't like turbos

Much controversy has surfaced in recent years within our own BMW community regarding turbos, particularly, turbo M-cars.

The prevailing truth is, no European manufacturer is exempt from the same regulations that prompted the likes of BMW M and Mercedes-AMG to downsize and force-feed their engines, including Ferrari.

Road & Track Magazine takes a look at this trend and basically writes a eulogy of an article, mourning the death of free-breathing Ferraris and NA engines in general.

However, unlike BMW M, for example, Ferrari has had a history of turbocharged engines in some quite legendary road cars like the F40 and the 288 GTO.
Do cars like the F40 serve as a precedent in showcasing that a great Ferrari & turbos are not mutually exclusive? Or were these cars the exception to the norm?

It'll be interesting how the future turbocharged Ferraris will be received by the press and enthusiasts.

Discuss your thoughts!

Quote:
Why Ferrari engineers don't like turbos



"We don't like the turbo," said the man with the Italian accent. Before I could stand up and cheer, he continued, "but it's the right way to reduce emissions without sacrificing performance."

Oh. A rare moment of honesty, then a graceful slingshot into the same turbo spin we've heard from all corners of the globe. But this was the first time I'd heard a senior executive from a major carmaker admit that turbos are less than perfect.

The fact is, every car company is being forced into forced induction, for the exact reasons our Italian friend gave. Since neither he nor the company he works for, Ferrari, can come out and say it, I will: Turbos aren't the best solution, especially for high-performance cars, and they don't always provide the benefits that carmakers claim they do. Less emissions, more performance? Let's take a look.

REDUCING EMISSIONS
By all rights, Ferrari shouldn't give a flaming tailpipe about mpg. But governments are cracking down on CO2 emissions, and the only way to emit less carbon dioxide is to burn less fuel. So even Maranello is looking to the turbo to reduce fuel consumption.
The thing is, while turbo engines perform well on standardized government fuel-economy tests, out in the real world, we consistently see those boosted engines using more fuel than larger, similarly powerful, naturally aspirated ones. There's science behind our observations. The stoichiometric ratio of air and gasoline is such that it takes 14.7 grams of air to completely combust one gram of gasoline. It's the job of your car's fuel-injection system to measure the amount of air the engine inhales and then provide precisely the correct amount of fuel.

Turbos, which are powered by exhaust energy that is otherwise wasted, increase engine output by forcing extra air into the cylinders, prompting the fuel injectors to provide more fuel for combustion. More combustion, alas, means more heat. To keep the engine (and turbo) from overheating, turbo engines inject excess gas under boost. It seems counterintuitive, but this "rich mixture" cools down combustion and reduces exhaust temperatures. It's also a double-whammy fuel-economy killer, because burning that extra fuel doesn't help the engine make more power, it actually reduces output.
Government fuel-economy test cycles, especially those in Europe, approximate the driving style of a heavily sedated 83-year-old librarian. Since the engine is rarely taxed, the turbo doesn't spool up, so no extra fuel is used. But purposely driving slowly enough to keep the turbo from generating boost defeats the point of having a turbocharger in the first place. Sadly, out in the real world, riding that big, effortless wave of boosted midrange torque means burning extra fuel—and creating even more CO2. So much for reducing emissions.



NO REDUCTION IN PERFORMANCE
Performance, in this sense, refers solely to acceleration. The Ferrari California T's turbocharged 3.9-liter, 553-hp V8 easily outmuscles the old California's naturally aspirated 4.3-liter, 483-hp V8. Mission accomplished. Except there's more to an engine's behavior than going fast in a straight line. The way an engine generates power—its personality, if you will—is just as important as the number of Mister Eds it replaces. For the entire history of the marque, Ferrari's engines have delivered urgency and drama in lockstep with revs, creating a festival of sound and fury as they raced toward a stratospheric redline. Ferrari engines love to rev, which is one of the main reasons we love Ferraris.

Once there's a turbo impeller muffling the screaming glory of that prancing horse, you're talking about an entirely different animal. Engines with turbos big enough to provide boost throughout their operating range produce peak torque at low revs and then gradually run out of steam, like turbodiesels do. To combat that, gas-powertrain engineers artificially create broad torque plateaus by limiting boost at lower engine speeds. That electronic trickery helps the engine more closely emulate a naturally aspirated one, but even that isn't enough for Ferrari. The California T's computer also looks at gear position and limits max boost in lower gears to encourage its driver to revel in the revs.
Even so, clever programming can't fix the problem that has afflicted turbochargers since the technology was invented: lag. Ferrari claims the California's new turbo engine has "zero turbo lag" and "instantaneous response," then defines response time as "less than one second." Really? In a car that can hit 60 mph in three seconds, one second is anything but instantaneous.
Immediate, predictable response is a requirement in any driver's car. Naturally aspirated engines react without delay to throttle inputs, but a turbo engine is vastly more complicated. It has two torque curves—one when it's off-boost and one when the turbo is at full puff. The transition between the first curve and the second is what we call lag—and both how long it takes and how abruptly it occurs change continually.

Despite the claims of marketers everywhere, lag can't be eliminated. The holy grail for engineers of turbo engines—from the 1962 Oldsmobile Jetfire to today's boosted cars—has been to manage the lag so that it's unobtrusive in normal driving. Some engines do this better than others. But when we're talking about Ferraris, who cares about normal driving? When you're approaching the handling limit of a well-balanced car, you need precise control of engine output. You may need a quick jolt of torque to induce oversteer or to gradually increase power to keep the car at its limit in a corner. These adjustments need to happen the instant you request them and in direct correlation to pedal input.

A naturally aspirated engine's output is determined by the position of the pedal and the engine speed, period. Turbos change that into a complicated matrix with far too many variables for a driver to keep track of. At best, turbo lag is a handicap. At worst, it turns neutral, throttle-adjustable cars into insolent, uncontrollable, four-wheeled bastards.

Over the past 20 years, Ferraris have morphed from oil-spewing headaches into some of the best driver's cars money can buy. Drive a 458 Speciale or an F12 in anger, and by comparison almost every other car will feel removed, recalcitrant. Modern Ferraris do what you ask, when you ask, how you ask. They are pretty much perfect. Although their forthcoming turbocharged replacements will almost certainly be faster, I fear they will be undrivable without assistance from an onboard supercomputer.

To what end? There won't be any environmental benefits, because Ferrari's contribution to worldwide automotive CO2 emissions is already effectively zero. (Toyota sells about as many daily-driver Priuses in a week as Ferrari sells special-occasion sports cars in a year.) It's sad that the marque feels compelled by government policy to bolt turbos on to their lovely engines, when it won't make a whit of difference to air quality.

And it's doubly sad that we all know it will change the way Ferraris drive.

So while I was genuinely ready to cheer Ferrari for that momentary showing of honesty, I'm still waiting to hear some auto-company executive unabashedly tell the whole truth: "We don't like turbos," the speech will begin, "and so we're not going to use them."

My applause may have to wait.
Source: http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-cult...turbocharging/
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      01-08-2015, 05:51 PM   #2
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I am not really an expert in car engineering so I will just say this: I LOVE screaming high revvying engines!!!!!!!!! Even high revvying honda VTEC engines.. I know people make fun of the "vtec kicked in yo", but you have no idea how fun driving one of those is. i still have 02 rsx type s and planning to eventually tune and "modernize" my baby to a good level, including raising the redline even more from 8000. Learned how to drive manual and even some racing techniques on it and i just cannot get rid of my baby lol. Also had 2010 civic si with 8000 redline.

Kinda went off topic here somehow, sorry!!!
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      01-08-2015, 06:24 PM   #3
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NA > Turbo. Any day.
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      01-08-2015, 08:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FC4 View Post
NA > Turbo. Any day.
Yep. Simple and to the point.

I for one have been disheartened by this trend of turboing cars. I am curious to see how the 458 replacement will be. In the end damn the CO2 regulations crap. Small volume marquis like Ferrari should be exempt. Beside's aren't the CO2 regulations an average put upon an entire entity, which in this case would be FIAT since they own Ferrari.

Makes no sense, nonetheless it is sad for us NA diehard that even high performance exotics have gone the forced induction route.
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      01-08-2015, 10:52 PM   #5
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There's nothing like a high-revving, free-breathing naturally aspirated engine. Nothing at all.

It's sad that their days are coming to an end. To that point, I'm really curious about the upcoming Mustang GT350. That engine seems pretty damn incredible.
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      01-09-2015, 04:27 AM   #6
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Seriously, screw emissions. It's not like the THOUSANDS of na ferraris on the road are going to even register compared to the millions of other cars and sulfur spewing ships, coal power plants etc.
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      01-09-2015, 05:14 AM   #7
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Overall screw CO2 emissions, that is BS and like many other things just shady business.
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      01-09-2015, 09:27 AM   #8
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I've never owned a turbo car. All NA, and I actually have been very happy with the balance of the N52 in my 128. Its power is plenty enough for my life and its raw in its own. Too bad the NA is no more.

Such a shame.
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      01-09-2015, 10:49 AM   #9
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As an engineer and a 335i owner I am going to disagree with this a little. You can have just as much power on tap and ready if you simply adjust how you drive the car. Yes, if you try and floor it at 40mph in 6th gear you are going to face turbo lag, it is simple physics. You can avoid this, however, by putting the car in 3rd gear before you need to accelerate. It requires more forethought and preparation but it is not the end of the world. Add to this that BMW has done some great things to reduce the effect of turbo spool (small twins, twin-scrolls) and you can see how it is possible to have the best of both worlds. Hell, look at what Porsche is doing with their turbos. Variable vane turbines can offer NA like response but turbocharged output.

Also, I would challenge the assertion that these cars are driven hard all the time. I would love to see some statistics on how often the cars are in boost vs how often they are not. If the car was only on the track then emissions would not matter. These cars are meant to be driven on the roads where you can't be at 100% output much of the time. Pissing and moaning about how it could be that little bit quicker responding when you would only use that ability .001% of the time is so silly IMHO.
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      01-09-2015, 11:36 AM   #10
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Interesting article, agree 100%.
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      01-09-2015, 11:42 AM   #11
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I love turbocharged engines, I vastly prefer the sounds they make over an NA motor (F1 engines NOT included!!). Boost is just awesome, I'll never forget the feeling of that T-88 in my MKIV Supra. Great googly moogly.

I really wish my Z4M had the N54 in it. I miss all the whooshing and hissing of my 135i.
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      01-09-2015, 12:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grimlock View Post
Seriously, screw emissions. It's not like the THOUSANDS of na ferraris on the road are going to even register compared to the millions of other cars and sulfur spewing ships, coal power plants etc.
Yeah right. It's not like my own, single car is going to register, so I should have a free pass as well. Oh, wait.
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      01-09-2015, 01:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickyC View Post
I love turbocharged engines, I vastly prefer the sounds they make over an NA motor (F1 engines NOT included!!). Boost is just awesome, I'll never forget the feeling of that T-88 in my MKIV Supra. Great googly moogly.

I really wish my Z4M had the N54 in it. I miss all the whooshing and hissing of my 135i.
X2. I much prefer modern boosted engines to NA ones. I won't miss NA engines at all once they're all but gone. One of my buddies who owns an SS Camaro was making a joke last year about my K04'd A3 whipping his ass "after my turbo spooled". I laughed, not because my car could kick his slowest 400-HP-car-ever's ass, but because my car had about ZERO turbo lag and I had NO idea what he was referring to concerning power delivery in my car.
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      01-09-2015, 03:14 PM   #14
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I'm a fan of both NA and turbo motors. Turbos are great for effortless straight line acceleration (as stated in the OP) and NA is great for road courses and winding backroads where precise throttle control and predictable torque output is preferred.

It's not always about being the fastest but the drama and delivery of the power; Ferrari is all about theater/drama.
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      01-09-2015, 03:17 PM   #15
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I guess I'll be one of the few here who would take a FI car over a NA.

I have driven 400HP V8 NA cars for extensive times but I would still take a 350HP i6 FI car any day. The low end torque just feels amazing.
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      01-09-2015, 03:19 PM   #16
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EV is even better than turbo.
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      01-09-2015, 03:49 PM   #17
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NA power all the way, when it comes to performance cars. I much prefer a GT3 over a Turbo or a Boss 302 over a GT500 or Z28 over ZL1...etc. Like the article said turbo engines will never be able to replicate the power delivery of a NA engine. For the track there is no substitute. If I was into straight line speed and street racing, I would be more interested in forced induction. For daily driving and larger street cars, the big TTV8's are very nice. When I move too a mid sized car eventually, S6 be will near the top of the list.

Last edited by hellrotm; 01-09-2015 at 03:58 PM..
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      01-09-2015, 04:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
From the article..."We don't like turbos," the speech will begin, "and so we're not going to use them."
Sounds like Lamborghini to me...
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      01-18-2015, 07:40 PM   #19
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Why Ferrari engineers don't like turbos

Interesting read!

http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-cult...=_hpTrnsprtr_5
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      01-18-2015, 10:37 PM   #20
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....though more than a little 'harrumph' and curmudgeon-y.....
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      01-18-2015, 10:54 PM   #21
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I can't concur, I get the same mpg as I did in my e92. I flog it all the time but that's what an m car should do. Why couldn't bmw keep the m3 naturally aspirated. Yes cost as well. I Love my f80 but I agree turbos are a false mpg elevation
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      01-18-2015, 11:32 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8600RPM View Post
I can't concur, I get the same mpg as I did in my e92. I flog it all the time but that's what an m car should do. Why couldn't bmw keep the m3 naturally aspirated. Yes cost as well. I Love my f80 but I agree turbos are a false mpg elevation
Turbo engines have never been known to be frugal when you use the power but they do generate less emissions at government testing and that's what it's all about in Europe. In the US it seems to be more about mpg, hence the NA is still alive and rather well in high performance cars over here. It sucks but the majority of voters don't give rats ass about if a few lucky enthusiasts can't have their sweet sounding NA engines in their luxury toys.
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