Will Turbos Change the Auto Industry for the Worse?


The cars of the future won’t fly. They will be road-going turbocharged gas-powered cars.

Well, in the immediate future, anyway.

As government restrictions on emissions and fuel economy get more stringent, automakers continue to accommodate by implementing turbochargers on vehicles that are traditionally naturally aspirated.

Turbos in the past have been used mostly in sports cars and performance cars, but today even cars that built their names far from the realms of forced induction are succumbing to the lure of the turbo. Everything from the modern Ford Mustang to the Ford F-150 uses it.

The Porsche 911 has had a high-end turbo version, aptly named the 911 Turbo, for many years. Now word is out that Porsche will use forced induction on nearly all 911 trims.

Will the effort to make all 911s special end up making none of them special?

Even worse, turbocharging could be a temporary solution until electric cars take over the world.

Check out this segment from a Top Gear story interviewing Porsche’s engineering chief Wolfgang Hatz,

“Emissions are important for us,”said Hatz,”And we will reduce faster than the industry. Every new model will have lower CO2 than before. There aren’t so many technologies to do it. If you look at euro per g/km then it’s turbo. Then at the end of the decade electrification has to be the next huge step.” Does that mean a hybrid for the all-new 911? “Yes.” With expertise from the 918 and 919 racer, Porsche is in a good position.

Yes, car fans, the days of buying a new naturally aspirated 911 are almost over and it’s entirely possible that an electric 911 is coming down the pipe.

Blasphemy, right?

Car and Driver said,

At the bottom end, the Carrera will feature a 2.7-liter turbo flat-six, down from 3.4 naturally aspirated liters in the current model.

Part of the allure of the 911 is the distinct sound of the flat six winding up. There’s just nothing better. We may be entering a future where the only way to experience that is on the used market.

I have to wonder if Porsche, or any other automaker, would be making use of turbos and marching toward an electric future if it wasn’t for government regulations. We’re getting some cool new technology, but it might come at the cost of the cars that made the industry great.

In your opinion, what car would be ruined if it were only available with a small-displacement turbo?


Used Ford Mustang
Used Ford F-150
Used Porsche 911

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