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What are horsepower and torque? – Behind a Desk

When talking about a car's engine, two figures often take center stage, and those two are horsepower and torque.

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Horsepower and torque, two important metrics that can tell you how good a car’s engine performs. Higher usually means better, but what do these figures actually mean and what can you expect when an engine features high horsepower or torque figures? In this episode of Behind a Desk, Caco explains as best he can in order to educate you on these two very important and potentially exciting numbers normally found on car spec sheets. 

The most common word that’s thrown around when detailing the engine’s capability is horsepower. Ths imperial unit is used in the Philippine automotive industry alongside similar metrics like PS, but for many manufacturers and OEMs, they use horsepower or ‘hp.’

So what is horsepower? In a nutshell, it is a metric that indicates how fast work is done or accomplished. The higher the figure, the more capable an engine is in order to achieve higher speeds. Ignoring weight and other factors like the transmission’s gearing, a car with more horsepower will be able to get up to speed quicker than a car with less. 

Torque is the force from the engine crankshaft. It’s a rotating force whose measurement indicated the engine’s potential for work. An engine with a high torque figure can overcome weight easier and can be further enhanced with good gearing. 

While we love our specs, there are certain exceptions to this rule. A car’s acceleration and real-world performance boil down to many factors such as weight. It also doesn’t matter where you make your power if your engine isn’t properly tuned to make power and torque from the start of its RPM range all the way to its end. 

Still, all things considered, these two metrics are some of the more important aspects to learn when browsing spec sheets and making informed purchasing decisions. A car’s engine is a vital component that should not be overlooked, so choose accordingly. 

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