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These are some of the most iconic twin-turbo engines ever made

2020-05-17 04:30

Robin Classen

RAPID SUV: Mercedes-AMG thinks giving the GLC a 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 engine is a good idea. It makes 375kW in the 'S' model. Image: Supplied

Forced induction has become a popular method of tuning by manufacturers to achieve almost instant power in their performance cars.

The convention configuration is the fitment of a single turbocharger but there are a number of cars that benefit from the use twin-turbocharging.

Whoosh, whoosh

Besides increasing power exponentially, the aim of having two turbochargers is to build up boost from the lower rev range while the usually bigger, second turbo takes over and builds more boost as the revs rise.


Which other twin-turbo engines should be on this list? Email us.

Because space is limited in a twin-turbo setup, the stock turbo's are normally found further down the engine. If you think two turbochargers are overkill, the Bugatti Veyron makes use of four - so imagine how that engine bay must look.

You might have heard of the term bi-turbos; while it also incorporates the use of two turbo's, the only difference is that it consists of turbochargers of the same size for a more linear power delivery.

READ | Meet Smokey Nagata - the man behind the legendary twin-turbo V12 Toyota Supra build

Brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW use the terms bi-turbo or TwinPowerTurbo but that is just to market it without having to keep saying twin-turbo like everyone else. Different name but it follows the same blueprint.

Image: Quickpi

In Robin's opinion, below are a number of popular twin-turbo engine examples:

1. RB26DETT - R34 Nissan Skyline GTR
This list just wouldn't be complete without the legendary heart of the Nissan Skyline GTR. Many tuners and enthusiasts around the world hold the 6-cylinder engine in high regard because of its tuneability.

The twin-turbocharged 2.6-litre engine is rated at 206kW but there is also a N1 version that saw internal improvements, but none in power, that was used in motorsport applications.

2. 2JZGTE - MK4 Toyota Supra

2JZ engine in a tractor

2JZ engine in a tractor build. - Image: YouTube/Life OD

Where the Skyline is, the Supra is never far away. In this case though the engines are evenly matched, especially in motorsport. The 2JZ-GTE of the fourth-generation Supra is a tuner's dream and makes any list, including this one.

It makes the same power as the RB26 due to Japan's gentlemen's agreement at the time of production but many petrolheads argue it is superior because it can handle as much as 500kW on stock internals with minimal tuning.

3. F120A - Ferrari F40
Ferrari really broke the mould and then put it together in their vision with the introduction of the F40 back in 87. This was largely down to what was under its skin.

It made use of a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre, V8 engine that made 352kW, although there was also another version for the US market that made slightly more power.

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Image: Ferrari

4. AM 472 - Maserati Biturbo
There are a number of versions on this engine in both carburetor and fuel injected form with a starting displacement of 2.0-litre and going all the way up to 2.8-litre.

The Biturbo made use of a 2.0-litre, V6 engine that made around 138 to 141kW depending on the market. The engine is not much-talked about but because of that, it stakes its claim on this list.

5. 959.50 - Porsche 959
This twin-turbo beauty found its home in the back of the super-rare Porsche 959. Power is rated at 331kW which was sent to all four wheels in the 959.

Each turbo was placed on either side of the engine, not like the Japanese were doing by placing them next to one another.

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