• Nov 11, 2009
Try explaining turbocharging to someone who doesn't know cars, and if you do a good job, you're likely to get a reaction something along the lines of, "then why don't they put turbochargers on all cars"? Well, that's a perfectly fair question, and the answer of course is turbo lag. It's one major downside to using spools, and it's what's keeping Ferrari, for one, from implementing them immediately.

Speaking with Britain's Autocar magazine, Ferrari engine chief Jean-Jacques confirmed that the company is preparing to use turbochargers, but that it will take time to develop a new version that will mitigate the effects of turbo lag. This confirms the patent drawings that leaked out earlier this year revealing a developmental two-stage turbocharging system from Ferrari.

Of course this wouldn't be the first time Maranello would use the spools – during the turbo era in F1, the iconic F40 (and the 288 GTO before it) was powered by a twin-turbo V8. But to make it an acceptable addition to modern Ferraris, the company may go the same route as Porsche with variable-vane turbos – or it could come up with another solution entirely.

Meanwhile Ferrari has reportedly dismissed the possibility of using the Fiat Group's new MultiAir variable valve system, finding that it wouldn't work at the kinds of revs and horsepower outputs at which Ferrari engines operate. The report does confirm, however, that the dual-clutch transmission launched on the California is capable of handling the power from V12 engines, suggesting that the gearbox may be implemented across the range for future models.

[Source: Autocar]


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  • 52 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      BMW seems to have solved that issue
      • 5 Years Ago
      Turbo lag? Turbo lag's already done with. I thought it was commonly held that post 2.0T GTI turbo lag was done for? Then again, VAG was using DSG for half a decade before ferrari got around to putting it into their cars.

      Anywho, an F458 with two turbos? flat 3 second naught to sixty? count me in.
        • 5 Years Ago
        it's not that funny, vag's pretty up front about using smaller turbos to defeat lag, and the lag's gone, thus it makes sense mentioning it.

        that said, it'll be interesting to see where the 3.0T takes them, especially if we start seeing more supercharged models in the lineup.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lag isn't gone. You're thinking of the dead spot caused by the turbo being inefficient since it is at a bad spot in its compressor map.

        VW will employ a lot more effective systems at combating lag (outside of their combined supercharger/turbocharger system) as they wish to get better and better outputs without making their engines larger.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Farris

        You've got it backwards. All other things being equal, tiny turbos flow less volume of air than bigger ones. Specifically "more air to spool turbos = smaller turbos needed" is wrong. More air to spool turbos will mean you can fit much bigger turbos for tons of high end power but you can't simply affix tiny turbos to the engine and thus have no lag. Ferrari engines are screamers first of all which means tiny turbos would be maxed out at about 4000 RPM, WAY before redline. They'd be pretty useless after that RPM because they'd completely out of the sweet spot for the compressor so they'd just overheat the engine bay and oil system. You'd basically see a dyno graph start at zero HP, shoot up to a pretty small number and then plateau.

        So far the best solutions developed are twincharging (a supercharger to increase torque during lag time and more exhaust air from idle to spool the turbo quickly), variable vane turbos (turbos that can be effectively smaller than their full size then larger when airflow increases) and sequential turbo systems (with a smaller turbo to minimize lag and a larger one for high airflow duty). Also you can buy an aftermarket kit that uses nitrous to spool your turbo more quickly. None of those actually eliminate lag though, only reduce it (or more accurately the feeling of lag by adding another form of boost like a small snail, nitrous or supercharger).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hmm? No. Lag isn't even on the endangered list. You're thinking of the dead spot from a high pressure system. This can be fixed almost completely with various systems that alter the port the exhaust gas goes through before meeting the turbine vanes (dual entry/dual spool or variable vane).

        I find it very funny you point to VW when VAG is one of the companies with the least effective anti-dead spot mechanisms. They just use low pressure turbos, reducing output instead of using better systems like the Porsche variable vanes, Toyota/Mazda/GM dual entry/twin spool.

        Real lag comes from the fact that turbos are powered by exhaust gases and there aren't exhaust gases at low throttle openings (like idle) to keep the turbos spinning. So once you call for the power, you have to wait for the turbos to get back spinning again.
        • 5 Years Ago
        haha, you said VAG...
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Turbo lag? Turbo lag's already done with. I thought it was commonly held that post 2.0T GTI turbo lag was done for? "

        The problem is that Ferrari engines are high-revving screamers, and don't have a lot of power down low; that could make any turbo lag more noticeable vs. something like, say, the Ford 3.5 liter GTDI which has enough low end power to mask the time it takes for the turbos to spool up.

        "Then again, VAG was using DSG for half a decade before ferrari got around to putting it into their cars."

        and motorcycles were using them for decades before anyone got around to putting them into cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Jim , Porsche was using dual clutch in their racing cars decades before VAG.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just not a fan of turbos. Lag and extra and needless complexity, in a car that's already stupidly complex. Ugh...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Turbos aren't in all cars because they cost money that people would rather spend on Nav systems and headrest DVDs *or* have to spend on 18 airbags.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Adam, everything you said falls in line with what I was saying.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Contradictory! My car has both a Turbo AND a Nav system. Does this rip a hole in the space-time continuu?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @fixitfixitstop
        Every design has drawbacks, including turbos. Lag really isn't much of an issue for turbos anymore if you properly size them, but heat always is an issue, as is detonation which typically requires more expensive premium gasoline. Additionally Turbos require more components (intake pipes, intercoolers, wastegate actuators, etc etc etc) which kill margin. If a manufacturer's cost to add a turbo was a meager $1,000/car that's a pretty expensive hit on the bottom line when you move 100,000 units, you have to sell a heck of a lot more cars to justify that extra cost.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What about downshifting? Turbo lag is overrated, especially factory turbo cars. And for someone like Ferrari who is already using a fairly large displacement I don't see the problem. It's not like they are going to lose bottom end power or response, they're just going to gain power up top.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hybrid with a turbo = Fisker Karma
      • 5 Years Ago
      There was some talk of "electronic assist turbos" in the GT-R development that sounded promising. Basically they put a brushless electric motor between the intake and exhaust housing that would spin the connecting shaft. However, since it wasn't implemented on the R35 GT-R I assume there was some unforseen difficulty that kept that from making production.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Jim
        My understanding of the design was the electric motor was there just to spool the shaft to get it moving when you first tipped in the throttle before the exhaust started to move, not add any benefit once the exhaust was moving. My assumption is they were satisfied with larger displacement (3.8L) and smaller turbos instead. But again I only read a few paragraphs on the design so it's hard to say if it would work or not.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I cannot comprehend how this will be effective. It takes a lot of HP to spin those turbos up, especially if you want to do it quickly. So if you want an electric motor to do it, it's gonna be big. Look at the size of your secondary AIR injection pump and you're just getting into the ballpark. You know, the doodad with a 60A fuse in your fuse panel. Now you're going to have two of them? That's a lot of space and cost taken up.

        Shorter version:
        The WRC doesn't even use this type of a system and cost isn't a big issue there. How is it going to work for the average Joe?
        • 5 Years Ago
        hoya:
        That's a different button.

        The WRC cars use a system where they keep an exhaust valve open during combustion on one of the cylinders periodically at low throttle openings. This causes high speed gas to flow out and over the turbocharger turbine (which you can think of as a windmill), it robs the car of power (by not using that power to push the piston down, it is pulled down by the inertia of the flywheel), but in those races, low throttle openings basically mean you are decelerating to a corner and so you don't need that power much.

        This system cannot pass emissions and it's loud. But it does work.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Whoops, and thanks for the info LS2LS7.

        I got that one way wrong. I just figured that it was a variation of what you'd do in a turbo street car in order to have boost at launch.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I imagine heat was a huge stumbling block; further, I can't imagine there's a brushless motor that would be small enough to package yet still bring some benefit. There is a hell of a lot more energy in the exhaust stream to spin that turbo than you could get from a small electric motor.
        • 5 Years Ago
        hoyaCS08:

        I might be mistaken, but I think the system you are talking about the WRC guys using is basically an automated loading system. Something like this:
        1. Brakes on full
        2. Gas on (maybe with some clutch slippage to keep you from overcoming the brakes)

        It's similar to brake torquing. You need load on the engine to generate significant enough exhaust gas flow to spin the turbo(s).
        • 5 Years Ago
        LS7 - what system does the WRC use? I've seen the drivers press a button just prior to launching on a stage, with commentary that they are "pre-spooling the turbo" for the launch. Is this some kind of electric motor setup?

        Since they only use it on the start, and are pretty much at the top of the rev range for the rest of the stage, I imagine this mitigates the heat/power concerns you mention above.
      • 5 Years Ago
      3 TURBOS!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Haha, +1.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Turbolytes!!!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is interesting considering Ferrari's parent company FIAT is linked with Chrysler now. Chrysler was the first to use variable vane technology to defeat turbo lag in a production car:

        http://www.allpar.com/model/csx.html

        "The 1989 CSX-VNT was again based on the Shadow ES, but with a list of changes that was Shelby's most comprehensive to date. The engine was based on the previous year's 2.2 Turbo II, but was upgraded to what Chrysler called the Turbo IV through the world's first production use of a Variable Nozzle Turbo, or VNT.

        Based on Formula 1 technology, the Garrett turbo utilized moving vanes to manage the amount and speed of exhaust gasses passing through the turbine, causing it to act like a small turbo that "spools up" to boost quickly at low engine rpm, thereby reducing 'turbo lag'. At higher engine RPM, the vanes opened to allow more volume to pass (albeit at a lower airspeed), changing it into a bigger turbo and eliminating the need for a wastegate because the boost level could be controlled by computer management of the VNT vanes."
      • 5 Years Ago
      Turbo 418? Sounds like a low[er]-cost enzo replacement...
      • 5 Years Ago
      twin-charge the engines. bye lag.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll bet they're going for something similar to the new Honeywell designed "sequential turbos on a single shaft" unit found in the new Ford Scorpion diesel. If they were to implement one of these on each exhaust manifold, they would have an easily packaged "quasi-quadturbo" setup that could easily bring 400+ lbs/ft from 1,500 to 7-8,000. Much less complex than Porsche's VGT, too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The system is comprised of two small turbos and a Honeywell patented
        sequential control technology. A VNT(TM) turbo provides boost at low engine
        speeds, maximizing driveability and fuel economy, while the second
        free-floating turbo is activated in parallel at high engine speeds to deliver
        best-in-class peak power. A Honeywell patented sequential control valve
        ensures a smooth transition." *Single-Sequential turbo system*
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry, but no. Twin scroll design is characterized by divided flow on the EXHAUST side. This new design piggy-backs two compressor housing on a single shaft with a longer compressor wheel. Sequential turbos, here, read up...
        http://www.autoblog.com/2009/08/31/beware-the-scorpion-2011-ford-super-duty-gets-all-new-6-7-liter/
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, this has variable vanes on the exhaust side. On the intake side, it's just double-sided. There's nothing sequential or faux-sequential about it, it just offers more compressor vanes than it otherwise would without a wider or larger diameter compressor.

        So you're right, I mis-described it. But it's not in any way sequential, the exhaust is straight variable vane and both sides of the compressor side are always active at all speeds.
        • 5 Years Ago
        *Single-Sequential turbo system* Ford's own words, Honeywell's own words, Reuters own words, and the words of about 100 other reputable links that come up on Google.
        Words, aside. Understand the theory and execution of the term sequential in this application...
        The compressor side is casted as 2 TWO individual compressors, each with their own discharge port, effectively creating two separate compressors that share a common shaft with the turbine side. These compressors will have different efficiency maps relative to other, thus the system can be defined as sequential.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Having owned an A3 with turbo, and having gotten rid of it (while owning 7 Italian cars - 2 Ferraris), one of the reasons I ditched it was the turbo. It wasn't lag. It was all the torque coming in at just under 2000 rpms. What was great for drag racing on the street was just terrible when faced with a twisty road or auto cross. The inside drive wheel was forever being overwhelmed and thumping way despite electronic limited slip. It just wasn't any fun. Granted, a mechanical limited slip might have helped some, but Ferrari isn't using those any more either. A staged turbo with gradual boost might be the ticket. But that will likely be mitigated with electronics (which will be flaky with age). And since I'm a stick shift junkie it's probably all moot now anyway. They'll just add more electronics between car and user. Ferrari builds cars for F1 wannabes (not even that - they don't have turbos or DSG) nowadays.

      Sorry to come away sounding bitter, I inspect the 458 and love how it looks, but can't get past the automatic. Guess it's time to see what Lamborghini offers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lamborghini still alive? or you meant Volkswagen-frankfruten with Lambo shell?
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