What Does a Car’s Torque Mean?

Gas PedalMost drivers know that horsepower is a good standard to judge how fast a car is but what about torque? What does a car’s torque mean? That’s a question many drivers interested in performance vehicles find themselves asking and the answer can get rather complicated. Fortunately, we at Gossett VW Porsche have a simplified answer of what a car’s torque actually means.

Put simply, power is how fast something can reach a certain point while torque is the ability to do work. That remains true in modern cars. Horsepower determines how fast a car can reach a certain speed while torque is how fast the car can actually accelerate.

The torque listed on a vehicle specification page is how much torque the engine can produce. That isn’t necessarily how much torque reaches the wheels. Either way, higher torque means faster acceleration.

Larger engines produce more torque due to the amount of air flowing into the engine. That air is combined with fuel and compressed in a combustion chamber to produce horsepower and torque. Trucks are a perfect example of how torque works. Since most trucks are designed to tow, they need more torque to accelerate while pulling heavy loads. Thanks to their larger engines, trucks are capable of gaining speed even though they may be pulling thousands of pounds.

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