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Head to head: Turbocharger vs supercharger © Getty Images

Head to head: Turbocharger vs supercharger

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Jeremy Clarkson eat your heart out; BBC Science Focus Magazine puts turbochargers and superchargers head to head in a true battle of the engines!

TurbochargerVSSupercharger
150,000-280,000rpmCOMPRESSOR SPEED30,000rpm
70kPaBOOST PRESSURE100kPa
60-75kWEXTRA POWER40-130kW
106dBNOISE116dB
£2,400COST£3,000

Both increase engine power by compressing the intake air. This allows more fuel to be burned for each piston stroke. A supercharger uses a turbine driven by the engine, which uses some engine power. Turbos are powered by the otherwise wasted exhaust gas pressure. They are more efficient but more complex, and are less responsive when you accelerate.

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