Turbocharged engines have taken over the car world. These are our favourites from Porsche, Ferrari, Chevy, Ford, Volvo, VW and more.

Matthew DeBord/InsiderThe Porsche 911 Turbo S has the turbo in its name.
  • Turbocharged engines have become a widespread option across many auto brands, from luxury marques to mass-market options.
  • Turbochargers used to be the province of European cars, but they’re appearing on more American nameplates. I’ve driven turbos from Porsche, Ferrari, McLaren, and Audi, but also from Ford and Chevy.
  • Here’s rundown of some favourites.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When I was a youngster, turbochargers were exotic, European fare. Americans drove big V8- and V6-powered cars. Sometimes, supercharged. But mostly, all motor.

I still love a naturally aspirated eight or six, but in today’s auto market, engines that lack forced-induction of some sort are becoming more rare than the norm.

In the past decade, the turbocharger has become ubiquitous. Why? Well, by using exhaust gases to spin a turbine and cram air into combustion chambers, you can offer higher-displacement power on a smaller motor, and pick up some MPGs in the process. Or not: You can also bolt a turbocharger or two on an already beefy motor and extract more horsepower, MPGs be damned.

I wasn’t actually sure how many turbocharged engines we’d tested in the past five or six years at Business Insider. Once I dove in, I stopped after crossing the 50-vehicle barrier.

Turbos! They’re everywhere! Here are some good ones. Actually, a whole lot of good ones:


Before we get started, the truth is that I’m a naturally-aspirated V6 man at heart. But I’ve had some dalliances with turbos — most memorably my 1998 Saab 900S.

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Me with the old Saab.

Of course, nowadays the V6 cars are in short supply, while the turbos are everywhere. Let’s begin with a run of Porches — up first is the 2020 911 Carrera 4S the classic boxer six, with twin turbochargers, making 443 horsepower with 390 pound-feet of torque.

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Porsche 911 4S (992).

Read the review.


The 2020 911 Porsche 911 Turbo S has an incredibly potent 640-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre flat-six, making 590 pound-feet of torque. The most powerful Turbo S ever, Porsche says.

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Porsche 911 Turbo S (992).

Read the review.


The 911 Carrera GTS has a 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged six-cylinder, making 450 horsepower with 405 pound-feet of torque.

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Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

Read the review.


The Targa 4S I drove a few years back had the usual turbo six, making 420-horsepower.

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Porsche 911 Targa 4S.

Read the review.


The base Carrera has a twin-turbo, 3.0-litre flat-six, making 379 horsepower with 390 pound-feet of torque.

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Porsche 911 Carrera.

Then there’s the mid-engine 718 Spyder (once known as the Boxster), with a new turbo-four that comes in two flavours. The base gets a 2.0-litre version with 300 horsepower, while the S variant gets a 2.5-litre unit with 350 ponies.

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Porsche 718 Spyder.

Read the review.


The Cayman S coupé we tested had 350 horsepower, 2.5-litre, turbocharged flat-four.

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Porsche Cayman S.

Read the review.


Panamera-wise, I most recently enjoyed a GTS Sport Turismo with a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, making 453 horsepower with 457 pound feet of torque, under the hood.

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Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo.

Read the review.


We also sampled the Turbo version of the Porsche’s first wagon. The Turbo Sport Turismo is powered by a 550-horsepower, 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine.

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Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo.

Read the review.


The Turbo S E-Hybrid is powered by a 550 horsepower, 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 along with a 136 horsepower hybrid drive unit to produce 680 total horsepower.

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Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.

Read the review.


And of course the Panamera — shown here as a 4S sedan rather than a wagon, with a 2.9-litre, 440-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 — was our 2017 Business Insider Car of the Year.

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Porsche Panamera 4S.

Read the review.


We can’t forget about Porsche’s moneymaking SUVs, however. The almighty Cayenne Turbo, for example, is motivated by a 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8, making 541 horsepower with 568 pound-feet of torque.

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Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

Read the review.


The Macan in an S-trim SUV, has a 3.0-litre turbocharged six, making 348 horsepower with 354 pound-feet of torque.

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Porsche Macan S.

Read the review.


Under the hood of the Macan GTS lies a 3.0 litre, twin-turbocharged V6. It’s the same engine found in the Macan S but with 20 additional ponies that push horsepower output to 360.

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Porsche Macan GTS.

Read the review.


We also tested a Macan Turbo with a performance-pack extra. It takes the Macan Turbo’s 3.6-litre motor and its 400 horsepower and ups the output by 10% to 440 ponies.

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Porsche Macan Turbo with performance pack.

Read the review.


Enough with the Porsches! Moving right along, the drop-top entry-level Mustang has a dandy a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder EcoBoost turbocharged motor, making 310 horsepower with 350 pound-feet of torque.

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Ford Mustang EcoBoost.

Read the review.


In fact, Ford is all about turbos with its EcoBoost technology, which powers the $US400,000 Ford GT supercar: a 647-horsepower, 3.5-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 engine is mounted in the middle of the machine.

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Ford GT.

Read the review.


EcoBoost is under the hood of some all-important pickups, too, including the popular new Ranger, with a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine cranks out 275 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

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Ford Ranger.

Read the review.


The stupendous Raptor has a a 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 engine under the hood, cranking out 450 horsepower with 510 pound-feet of torque.

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Ford F-150 Raptor.

Read the review.


The legendary F-150 I most recently tested had a high-output variant of the 3.5-litre V6. The turbocharged mill cranks out 450 horsepower with 510 pound-feet of torque. That beats the 5.0-litre V8 engine by a notable margin (395 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque).

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Ford F-150.

Read the review.


Ford’s crosstown Detroit rival also does turbos. I was mighty impressed with this Chevy Silverado Z71, packing a Duramax diesel turbo 3.0-litre — an inline six-cylinder, making 277 horsepower and an impressive 460 foot-pounds of torque.

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Chevy Silverado Z71.

Read the review.


The base Chevy Camaro has 275-horsepower motor, turbocharged.

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Chevy Camaro.

Read the review.


Let us now praise turbocharged BMW M cars, starting with the thrilling M2 Competition. A 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged, inline six-cylinder engine makes 405 horsepower with 425 pound-feet of grabby torque. This is the same motor BMW puts in the M4, essentially, with lowered turbo output but the same torque rating.

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BMW M2.

Read the review.


Moving right along, the M3 is currently absent from the M lineup, but it is a stalwart. On my last dance, I tested a car equipped with twin-turbo six-banger under the hood that made 425 horsepower with 406 pound-feet of torque.

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BMW M3.

I also enjoyed a drop-top M4 with a twin-turbo six, making 425.

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BMW M4 Cabriolet.

The 4.4-litre, 600-horsepower, twin-turbo V8 making 553 pound-feet of juicy torque in the BMW M5 is is a hulking poleax of a motor, a masterpiece of menace — a grand mechanism for taking gasoline and transforming it into staggering velocity.

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BMW M5.

Read the review.


The M8 Competition convertible has a potent, up-tuned 617-horsepower, 4.4-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine that’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, sending the oomph to an all-wheel-drive system. (The V8 makes 600 horsepower before the Competition treatment adds an extra 17.)

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BMW M8 Competition.

Read the review.


Don’t forget the all-new BMW Z4. The 2.0-litre, twin-turbo four-cylinder in our sDrive30i trim-level tester makes 255 horsepower and an impressive 295 pound-feet of torque.

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BMW Z4 sDrive30i.

Read the review.


The Toyota Supra’s 3.0-litre, turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine makes 335 horsepower with 365 pound-feet of torque in this guise.

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Toyota Supra.

Read the review.


Why no Ferraris thus far? Easy answer: there were no turbocharged prancing horses until a short time ago. My last chariot was this 488 GTB Spider. At its heart is a 3.9-litre, twin-turbocharged V8, cranking out 661 horsepower.

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Ferrari 488 GTB Spider.

Read the review.


But my first taste of the new turbo Ferrari-ness was in a California T, now replaced by the Portofino. The distinguishing feature of this 552-horsepower grand-touring car was a twin-turbocharged V8 engine

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Ferrari California T.

Read all about it.


The Kia Stinger’s engine was so good that it helped the upstart sport sedan claim our 2018 Car of the Year trophy. The best motor option is a glorious 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6, making 365 horsepower with 376 pound-feet of yummy torque.

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Kia Stinger GT.

Read the review.


Godzilla! The immortal Nissan GT-R lays waste the asphalt with its twin-turbocharged V6 that makes 600 horsepower, with 481 pound-feet of torque (in Nismo trim).

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Nissan GT-R.

Watch the Rear Review.


The Acura NSX was our 2016 Car of the Year. The engine is about as large as a suitcase and includes a pair of turbochargers. And yet, coupled with the NSX’s trio of electric motors, it contributes to a hybrid drivetrain that serves up 573 horsepower.

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Acura NSX.

Read the review.


McLaren makes what is arguably the finest small turbocharged V8s on the planet. At the heart of the staggering 720S is a new 710-horsepower, 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine.

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McLaren 720S.

Read the review.


And we also reviewed a 675LT and its purpose-built 3.8-litre V8, with twin turbochargers: 666 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.

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McLaren 675LT.

Read the review.


The incredible Polestar 1! Volvo’s new brand has created the best China-made car I’ve ever driven. The 2.0-litre inline four is turbocharged and supercharged, cranking out 326 horsepower before a pair of battery packs (34 kilowatt hours total) and two electric motors take that to 619 horsepower.

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Polestar 1.

Read the review.


While we’re on Volvos, let’s discuss the XC40. Power is supplied by a 2.0-litre, 248-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. With 258 pound-feet of torque, it offers good pop.

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Volvo XC40.

Read the review.


Our Volvo XC60 tester came with an offbeat drivetrain: the T8, which combines a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder motor with a supercharger and a hybrid system. The triple-threat takes the power output to 400 horsepower with 472 pound-feet of torque.

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Volvo XC60.

Read the review.


Our 2015 Car of the Year, the XC90, now has an available a 320-horsepower turbocharged T6 engine; and a 254-horsepower T5 option. A hybrid version offers 400 horsepower.

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Volvo XC90.

Read the review.


The wonderful Buick Regal TourX has been discontinued, sadly, but I’ll always remember its 250-horsepower, turbocharged four-banger.

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Buick Regal TourX,

Read the review.


MINI time! Here’s the Countryman Cooper S, with a 189-horsepower, 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

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MINI Countryman.

Read the review.


The MINI Clubman JCW has nearly 230-horsepower turbo motor blasts the JCW Clubman from zero to 60 mph in scooch under 7 seconds.

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MINI Clubman JCW.

Read the review.


The MINI Cooper John Cooper Works and its 228-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine completely terrified me.

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MINI Cooper John Cooper Works.

Read the review.


And a groovy MINI Cooper S cabriolet had a 189-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. It offered a tasty 207 pound-feet of torque.

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MINI Cooper S Cabriolet.

Read the review.


The Smart ForTwo has a punchy little motor, a three-cylinder powerplant displacing just under a litre, with a turbocharger that enables 89 horsepower, managed by a twin-clutch, six-speed automatic transmission. It’s a hoot to drive.

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Smart ForTwo.

Read the review.


Want a Subaru? Then you’re looking at piloting something like the great Outback Touring XT, with a snappy 2.4-litre, turbocharged, 260-horsepower engine.

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Subaru Outback Touring XT.

Read the review.


The Ascent is Subaru’s first successful foray into making proper SUVs. All versions of the Ascent come with a new 2.4-litre, turbocharged, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine. The “flat” or “boxer” turbo four produces a stout 260 horsepower.

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Subaru Ascent.

Read the review.


And, at long last, how about a VW? The Golf R has an outstanding 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, making 288 horsepower with 285 pound-feet of torque.

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VW Golf R.

Read the review.


And say goodbye to the legend! The VW Beetle is in its final edition, with a 2.0-litre, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that makes 174 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.

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VW Beetle.

Read the review.


The Audi RS 5 Sportback is a truly splendid set of wheels. The V8 I richly enjoyed in the RS 5 coupé has been replaced in the revamped version of that car and in my RS 5 Sportback by a 2.9-litre, twin-turbo V6, making 444 horsepower with 443-pound-feet of torque.

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Audi RS5 Coupe.

Read the review.


When we tested the Audi A4, we decided the sedan was basically perfect. Under the hood is a 2.0-litre, 252-horsepower, turbocharged, inline-four-cylinder engine.

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Audi A4.

Read the review.


And the A4’s very big brother, the Q7 SUV, is a top-of-the head for luxury ‘utes. The base Q7 is powered by a VW-Group 2.0 litre, 252 horsepower, turbocharged, inline-four cylinder.

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Audi Q7.

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