To demonstrate that turbocharged passenger cars can provide drivers with fuel-efficient performance, Garrett Engine Boosting Systems, a business unit of Honeywell, is hosting a turbo ride and drive in Detroit from May 12-15.
At the event, executives from DaimlerChrysler, General Motors and Ford Motor Co. and media members will get a chance to drive a wide variety of turbocharged vehicles and to test them against their non-turbo counterparts.
“We’re demonstrating to the U.S. marketplace that turbos give consumers great performance and increased fuel economy compared to larger, non-turbo- powered vehicles,” said Rob Gillette, president and CEO of Garrett. “Plus, turbocharged cars are incredibly fun to drive.”
Many of the turbo models that are popular in Europe for their ability to provide responsive performance without sacrificing fuel efficiency are not available in the United States.
“One percent of gasoline passenger vehicles in the U.S. are turbocharged, while in Europe the turbo gas market is 10 percent and growing. If you also look at the wide acceptance of turbo diesels in Europe, it’s clear that they are far ahead of the U.S. in taking advantage of the benefits of turbo technology.”
In simplest terms, a turbocharger is a sophisticated air pump that recaptures wasted exhaust gases and forces more air into the engine, thereby delivering more power.
Although automakers traditionally relied on turbochargers for some high-end performance cars, they are now increasingly being used to make smaller, more efficient engines to replace larger, less efficient engines. This turbo renaissance, led by Europeans automakers, is happening as automakers face increasing fuel efficiency pressures as vehicles become larger and heavier, while at the same time consumers demand more power and performance.
Turbos give increased performance, increased fuel efficiency, decreased emissions, and a strong market differentiator that helps build exciting cars and light trucks.
Automakers are using advanced Garrett turbos in everything from the 700 cc Smart car (a small, European city car) to the 6.0 liter 12-cylinder twin turbo Bentley Continental GT.
The vehicles that automakers and media will have a chance to drive include two Ford Falcons from Australia, the Euro-only Ford Focus RS, two versions of the Saab 9-3 (same engine, different turbos), the VW Parati (Brazilian wagon), two Jeep Liberties (one turbo, one without), the Volvo XC90 and three turbodiesels: the BMW 530d, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Volvo S80.
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