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Diesel Torque versus Petrol Power

Updated on March 29, 2017

When buying a car, at first you must know what you are searching for in a car, the use, how many km you drive a year, how much you may want to spend on the car. Years ago the diesel cars were bought mainly because they did not use much fuel, while those cars with petrol were faster and cheaper. Along the years, things have changed and differences today have nearly disappeared.

Which are the advantages of the diesel engine?

At first you should know that diesel has a higher efficiency when burning than petrol does. This means that for the same amount of fuel it produces more power. This also means lower consumption in general than the petrol. Almost every diesel engine that is built today, is equipped with turbo. When it combines with the qualities of diesel as a fuel, you have more torque at lower revs. Torque is useful in the traffic lights so you will have a good start from the standstill, but it is important mainly for overtaking when you often need torque over horse power, which gives you a more comfortable cruise because you do not need to change gear constantly. You will also pay less taxes because the diesel engines emit less gr/km CO2. in many years there have been a lot of diesel cars but the most successful are the Mercedes Benz 260D from the 1936 and 180D (2.0 55hp), Peugeot 204BD (1.3 46 hp), Mercedes 300 SD (3.0 115 hp the first turbocharged diesel engine). Audi 100 was the first car to use turbocharged diesel engine with electronic injection followed by Alfa Romeo 156 in 1997 wich was the first car in the world to use the common rail technology (first developed but Magneti Marelli in collaboration with Fiat and then sold to Bosch). The most used diesel in our day are the Volkswagen 1.9 TDI which has proved to be one of the most economic and reliable engine in the world, 2.0 TDI Volkswagen, 2.2 CDI and 3.0 CDI Mercedes Benz, BMW 2.0d and 3.0d, Fiat 1.3-1.6 Multijet, Peugeot-Citroen 1.6 HDI.

The advantages of cars that use petrol as fuel. Petrol is a kind of fuel that burns in lower compression than diesel does, so it creates less uncomfortable noises or vibrations. Engines that use petrol cost less to be manufactured, so even the general cost of the car is lower than the cars which use diesel engine. These kind of engines weigh less and this results in better handling because there is less weight at the front end. The latest technology have made the petrol engines more efficient than their relatives of some years ago by adding turbocharger, and in the mean time reducing displacement, improving the injectors, cylinders, cooling systems, etc. In America there’s a quote: “there is not a replacement for displacement,” but as it seems the constructors don’t think the same way. At least in theory. All this had lead to the fact that the modern petrol engine consumptions can be comparable with the oil burner. During acceleration some even make e pleasant noise. Generally they are faster than diesel engine, but to take full advantage of their power you need to rev it hard, affecting the consumption in a negative way. If you are a person who enjoys driving, it can be fun, but most of the time you are driving in the city traffic or a highway. The petrol engine unlike the diesel wich are all turbocharged can be turbocharged, supercharged or naturally aspirated. In city cars naturally aspirated are the most common but it doesn't mean that naturally aspirated engine are related to cheaper cars. Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche also use atmosferic engine. They have lower output that the force induction engine but give better throttle response and can rev at a higher limit. They also sound better especially above 4000 rpm. The turbocharged engine don't have the same response but give a lot more torque at lower revs. Some of the best petrol engine in modern cars are the BMW 2.0 wich is used in 320i, 328i, 520i, Volkswagen 2.0 TFSI in Golf GTI, Audi A3, A4, Fiat 1.4 MultiAir used in Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Fiat 500L, Mercedes Benz 2.0 C250, Ford Fiesta, Focus, C Max 1.0 EcoBoost, Peugeot-Citroen 1.6 THP in 308 and DS3 respectively, Opel new Corsa 1.0, Mini Cooper 1.5 (also used by BMW).

Which one do your prefer most?

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If you do a lot of kilometers per year it is more convenient to choose a diesel engine versus a petrol engine, because the fuel saving would be considerable, and when the engine stays at lower revs doesn’t make a stressful noise. If you use the car for short trips, the consumption of petrol would be irrelevant versus diesel and you will pay a considerable amount of less cash when you will buy it. The consumption is dependable on many factors like technology, engine displacement, car’s weight, the way you drive it, but if we consider the hatchback in the same conditions with the same driver, with around 100 horse power in diesel form it can return an average of 7-7.5 in the city ; the same car with nearly 100 horse power but in a petrol engine can return an average of 8-8.5. In the highway the differences are more noticeable. With a medium speed of 100km/h, the diesel engine will consume between 4-5l/100km. The petrol engine will consume among 6-6.5 l/100km.

In the end you have to choose yourself which engine is in your preferences, but taking into account that the differences are quite small, the logical choice would be the diesel engine. However, for those who do not drive much, but like to drive, the best choice would be a turbocharged engine in petrol form maybe between 1600-2000 cc with around 120-180 horse power. In my opinion there are a lot of cars which can fill your needs but I would recommend you a Ford Focus with 1.6 Ecoboost engine, Volkswagen Golf MK V GTI 2.0 TFSI, Seat Ibiza Cupra 1.4, Citroen DS3 1.6 THP, BMW 320i, Honda Civic Type R Vtec, or a used Mini Cooper S with the supercharger 1.6 in manual form.

© 2015 Enchel


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      Seth 6 months ago

      I like this car very much