11 Most Interesting Turbocharged Cars

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The Porsche Turbo Carrera is one of the most interesting turbocharged cars to have been produced. Also referred to as the Turbo Carrera or 911 Turbo, the vehicle is one of the most iconic from the 1970s and is the vehicle that is thought of when car enthusiasts discuss turbocharged cars.

"Unbelievable" - Wiesbaden, Germany

When Porsche designed the Carrera, the company decided to pair the new turbocharger with the K-Jetronic-electronic fuel injection system that was also newly created by Bosch at the time. This combination made the vehicle one of the first turbos that was capable of driving around town in addition to racing on the track. The Carrera of the time was powered by a 3.0 liter v6 rated at 234 horsepower. Although a far cry from the 530 horsepower the 2009 GT2 features today, the 911 Turbo was one of the first of its kind in the turbocharged auto field.

2. FERRARI 288 GTO (1984) AND FERRARI F40 (1987)

The Ferrari brand has classically been “anti-turbocharging” during the company’s history. The two exceptions are the 288 GTO (1984) and F40 (1987) that were created by the company. The 288 GTO was originally created as a road racing car. The 288 GTO featured a smaller V8 (2.8 liter) with a pair of IHI turbochargers, and an engine that was installed with a north-south orientation in the vehicle, and a redesigned body shell for the vehicle.

IMG 1225

The end result was a turbo rated at 400 horsepower that could go a max speed of 189 MPH and a zero to 60 rating of 4 seconds. For the 40th anniversary of the company, the F40 was created using the 2.9 liter turbo charged engine, rated at 471 horsepower. The F40 had a maximum speed of just over 200 MPH and a zero to 60 time close to three seconds. The model was the first auto made for production to be certified to reach a top speed of 200 MPH.

3. SAAB 99 TURBO (1978)

The Saab 99 Turbo was one of the first turbocharged cars created that could be enjoyed by the mainstream. Created in 1978, the Saab 99 Turbo was released using a mechanical Bosch fuel injection system alongside the turbocharged engine. Saab chose to use a small Garrett T3 turbo to avoid overwhelming the existing engine in the vehicle. The T3 turbo was capable of producing thrust at low RPMs, and this combination resulted in an extremely smooth drive with a respectable 135 horsepower output.

Saab 99 Turbo

By modern numbers the horsepower output is not high, but compared to equivalent automobiles of the time it was fairly impressive. Saab only produced the vehicle for a year before replacing it with the Saab 900 that had a slightly longer wheelbase; however, the 99 Turbo was the original which provided the foundation of the many turbocharged vehicles produced by the company since that time.

4. MERCEDES-BENZ 300SD (1978)

Mercedes Benz 300SD Turbo Diesel

The Mercedes-Benz 300SD is credited with launching a “mini-revolution” when it comes to turbocharged cars in the late 1970s. Prior to the company’s release of the 300SD, there had been widespread use of turbocharging engines on more industrial-sized diesel vehicles. The general assumption across industry was that the current diesels used in consumer automobiles would not be able to withstand the added stress of being turbocharged.

Mercedes took a hard look at the engineering and through carefully controlling the combustion process of their 3.0 liter inline five by using precise fuel metering and fuel injection, they were able to create a turbo version of the engine to use in the 300SD. This engine was capable of 110 horsepower, stayed quiet, and also included a refined wastegate control of the turbo. The engine was a huge success, and this design has become the basis from which all light-duty diesel engines have been based on since 1978.


The twin-turbocharged Toyota Supra that was produced between 1994 and 1998 created an entire generation of fans of the vehicle. The Supra Turbo continues to be the quickest car that the company has produced for sale in the United States, and one can still find these models being driven, raced, and upgraded on the streets today.

JZA80 Supra

The 1994 model of the Turbo was the fourth generation of the Supra, and featured a 3.0 liter DOHC and inline V6 with 24 valves that was capable of making 320 horsepower with the turbo version of the engine installed (compared to the 220 HP version of the engine). The Supra Turbo is credited (along with the Mazda RX-7) with being one of the first cars to feature sequential turbocharging. It was not uncommon for owners who liked to drag race their Supra Turbos to upgrade the vehicles to seeing more than 1000 horsepower on the track.

6. VOLVO 240 TURBO WAGON (1982)

Volvo 240 Turbo

At first glance, the Volvo 240 Turbo Wagon from 1982 does not necessarily appear interesting to car aficionados today. At the time; however, the auto did more to bring turbocharged engines into cars driven by the middle class than any other turbocharged vehicle of this era. The 240 Turbo Wagon was introduced in both two and four door models in 1982 and featured a 2.1 liter V4 with a turbocharger that increased the Wagon’s horsepower to 127 HP which was a significant improvement over previous editions of the vehicle. The car would eventually become known as the first “Kid Friendly” turbocharged auto on the market and by 1985 the engine size and output eventually grew to 2.3 liters and 162 HP.


Lancer Evolution VII

Although the Mitsubishi Lancer was first produced in 1973, the Lancer Evolution was created for the company to compete in the World Rally Championship in 1992. In order to have a good showing, the company added a four-wheel drive to the auto as well as a 2.0 liter V4 turbocharged engine to create the Evolution. The supped up engine was able to achieve 244 horsepower, and was only sold in Japan during this timeframe. It would take the company until 2003 for the car to be exported in the United States. The current generation of the auto, Evolution X, is also a turbocharged vehicle and has an even better performance rating than the company’s original turbo model.


Silver Ford Mustang SVO

In 1979 Ford did something unique with the Mustang brand, they released the Ford Mustang Turbo. The vehicle featured a turbo Four which was based on a 2.3 liter overhead cam V4 which used a two-barrel Holley carburetor to produce 140 horsepower. At the time, this was the same horsepower rating as Ford’s 5.0 liter, V-8 engine, so the turbo became pretty popular with those who were looking to save some money on gas during the Oil Crisis. The Mustang Turbo had a number of issues with reliability and lag time, so it was taken off of the market in 1981 for two years for the company to redesign the engine. The 1983 model saw the adoption of electronic fuel injection with the drivability being significantly improved.


2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Hyundai is relatively new to the turbocharged car field. The Hyundai Veloster Turbo is a three door turbo that is just fun to drive. The car features a 1.6 liter, 4 cylinder GDI DOHC 4 cylinder engine and sees a whopping 201 horsepower. Coupled with decent fuel economy with getting 24 MPG city and 31 MPG highway, and a low overall price, it’s easy to see why the auto has become so popular with consumers. The auto’s torque is rated at 195 lb-ft which is no slouch when compared to turbocharged cars of equivalent size, and makes aficionados wonder what Hyundai will do to follow-up the current model of the vehicle.



Buick first made the decision to start experimenting with turbocharged vehicles when the company was selected to build a pace car for the 1976 Indianapolis 500. Instead of using one of the company’s well-known, larger engines, they designed a turbocharged version of their 3.8 liter V6 to power the car. After some experimentation, the company debuted the fuel-injected Buick turbo Six in the Regal T-Type. The engine was rated at 200 horsepower and could go from zero to 60 in approximately 8 seconds. The Grand National Turbo eventually took over as the more popular turbo-charged car and became popular with those who liked to modify engines to see horsepower ratings in excess of 1,000 HP.


Geneva Auto Show '05: Bugatti

The 2005 Bugatti Veyron is one of the most interesting turbocharged cars ever produced. The vehicle costs in excess of a million dollars USD, and has a total of 10 radiators along with just about any technology gadget one can think of. The car is driven by the W16 engine rated at 987 horsepower. The W16 is similar to two V8s powering a common crankshaft but consisting of 64 valves in the engine cylinder heads and is an 8.0 liter engine. The car then feeds the engine with four turbochargers and gets to 60 MPH from all stop in less than three seconds. The top overall speed of the Bugatti Veyron is 253 MPH making it one of the fastest turbocharged cars not made solely for the raceway.




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