The tables below are compilations of various car tests over the last five years (1995-1999) and contain both power and torque figures. For most engines, results from different tests are roughly equal and averages have been used for calculations.
There is no easy way to translate horse power and torque into the experience
of driving different cars/engines. Of course, the distribution of torque
over the entire revolution range is important, perhaps even more important
than the power curve. But as a very rough rule of thumb, a mid-sized car
(like Audi A4, VW Passat, or BMW 3-series) "comes alive" above 160-170
hp and 200-220 Nm. As examples, the VW Passat became markedly different
when the 2.8 litre (Audi) V6 replaced the VR6, and the BMW 323 behaves
markedly different from the 320.
One exception to using averages for calculating the table figures is the Audi/VW 1.8 litre turbo with 150 hp nominal (the "Hungarian" turbo), which comes out anywhere between 141 hp and 153 hp, and thus probably is a family of engines rather than one model. Or engines fitted with different turbos.
It is interesting to note that the VR5 is almost equal to the VR6 in terms of both power and torque. Since I have not tried the VR5, I cannot tell whether this reflects driving experience. But the Passat VR5 was priced exactly the same as the 1.8 Hungarian turbo when they were introduced in the fourth generation Passat in 1997, making the VR5 good value for money. Since both were rated 150 hp, customers were a bit confused.
The VR6 never became the killer it was set out to be in the Sharan, Alhambra, or Galaxy. It is well known for its thirst, which is remarkable since it does not have even close to its specified power or torque. Maybe the 30-valve Audi V6 engine will find its way into these models as well.
Another interesting engine is the "de-chipped" 100 kW 2.4 litre V6.
It actually has more torque than in its original 121 kW ancestor. The 100
kW was a chip "anti-trim", i.e. the physical engine is exactly the same
as the 121 kW but the control program was modified to give less power,
albeit not the reduction Audi claimed. And since the torque is better,
the engine is a very good choice. It seems the second hand market for Audi
A6 has recognized this fact and rates them about the same, even though
the 100 kW was a lot cheaper to buy first hand. To create an artificial
difference between them, the 100 kW came with much less options, such as
no 4WD and no automatic transmission.
|Audi / Volkswagen||Claimed power||Actual power||Claimed torque||Actual torque|
|1.8 / 4 cyl. (8-valve)||90 hp||90 hp||145 Nm||142 Nm|
|2.0 / 4 cyl. (8-valve)||115 hp||112 hp||166 Nm||171 Nm|
|1.8 / 4 cyl. (16-valve)||125 hp||125 hp||173 Nm||171 Nm|
|1.8 / 4 cyl. turbo||150 hp||141 - 153 hp||210 Nm||195 - 216 Nm|
|2.4 / V6 cyl. (100 kW)||136 hp||153 hp||230 Nm||229 Nm|
|2.4 / V6 cyl. (121 kW)||165 hp||166 hp||230 Nm||216 Nm|
|2.3 / VR5 cyl.||150 hp||160 hp||205 Nm||212 Nm|
|2.8 / VR6 cyl. (12-valve)||174 hp||167 hp||240 Nm||225 Nm|
|2.8 / V6 cyl. (30-valve)||193 hp||198 hp||280 Nm||255 Nm|
The table explains why the 323 feels almost like the 328 (except heavy acceleration above 100 km/h) and far from the 320. And it also explains why so many seem to dislike the E39 520 as much as they like the 523. Could it be that BMW already back in 1995 realized that the E39 when introduced would need a bit more than 170 hp to be a winner? It is, after all, a bit larger than the E34.
This also explains why it is easy to chip (reprogram the tables, really) the 323/523 up to almost 200 hp, since it is only 8-12 real hp up from the original 188-192, and get less fuel consumption as a bonus. It is rumoured that the 2.5 litre engine will soon be chipped back by BMW to its original 192 hp and once again be called 325/525. *)
This change will occur as soon as the 2.8 litre 328/528 is replaced with a 3.0 litre engine (possibly called 330/530), thus again creating the proper steps in power and money. It will not be the return of the 218 hp 8-cyl. engine from the 530 E34 of 1993-96, since it would not fit in the 3-series body (and not fit the 3-series image either, even the M3 is a true 6-cyl. machine). It could be a 24-valve Vanos version of the 6-cyl. 185 hp 530 E34 of 1988-89, but more likely, it will be a new design.
Finally, the newly introduced American built 3-series Z3 "sports car"
(based on an ordinary E36 compact chassie), was from the start - at least
in Sweden - available as Z318 (116 hp in a BMW "sports car"???) and soon Z328.
More appropriate, a ZM3 version appeared a year later. As the 3-series
evolves into E46, the Z3 is supposed to stay on the older base for a while,
even further developing e.g. the old M3 E36 engine.
|BMW||Claimed power||Actual power||Claimed torque||Actual torque|
|1.6 / 4 cyl. (316)||102 hp||102 hp||150 Nm||147 Nm|
|1.8 / 4 cyl. (318)||116 hp||115 hp||168 Nm||160 Nm|
|2.0 / 6 cyl. (320,520)||150 hp||150 hp||190 Nm||189 Nm|
|2.5 / 6 cyl. (323,523)||170 hp||182 hp||245 Nm||245 Nm|
|2.5 / 6 cyl. (325,525)||192 hp||188 hp||245 Nm||245 Nm|
|2.8 / 6 cyl. (328,528)||193 hp||193 hp||280 Nm||268 Nm|
|3.2 / 6 cyl. (M3)||321 hp||320 hp||350 Nm||359 Nm|
To see that the measurements are indeed reasonable, consider the following
factory performance table for the 3-series E36 4-door sedans. It shows
that the 325 is almost identical in performance to the 323, and that both
are quite close to the 328. The 320 is far behind in acceleration and also
lags behind in top speed. It is the entry-level 6 cyl. machine, and not
a particularly good representative of the BMW driving experience. The 323
seems the optimal value-for-money choice.
|BMW||0-50 km/h||0-80 km/h||0-100 km/h||Top speed|
|320 2.0 / 6 cyl.||3.0 s||6.5 s||9.9 s||214 km/h|
|323 2.5 / 6 cyl.||2.6 s||5.6 s||8.0 s||227 km/h|
|325 2.5 / 6 cyl.||2.6 s||5.6 s||8.0 s||233 km/h|
|328 2.8 / 6 cyl.||2.5 s||5.2 s||7.3 s||236 km/h|
|Volvo||Claimed power||Actual power||Claimed torque||Actual torque|
|2.5 / 5 cyl.||140 hp||136 hp||220 Nm||209 Nm|
|2.5 / 5 cyl.||170 hp||162 hp||220 Nm||213 Nm|
|2.5 / 5 cyl. turbo||193 hp||198 hp||270 Nm||277 Nm|
(more to be added later)
|Toyota||Claimed power||Actual power||Claimed torque||Actual torque|
|1.8 / 4 cyl. lean-burn||110 hp||107 hp||155 Nm||151 Nm|
|2.0 / 4 cyl. lean-burn||128 hp||134 hp||178 Nm||188 Nm|
(more to be added later)
*) Normally, I tend not to believe chip trims on non-turbo
engines above 5-7%. Of course, on turbos the sky is the limit, but at what
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