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Published on 27 Aug 2011 | over 6 years ago

What's the difference between horsepower and torque? What does it mean to me? An explanation of horsepower and torque, and a way of explaining it so everyone can understand what they mean. Cars with high torque are powerful and strong; cars with high horsepower are fast, but ultimately it all depends on gearing.

NOTE 1: The G force you feel when accelerating is 'proportional' to the torque curve at the wheels, not the engine torque or horsepower. The engine torque is quite meaningless by itself, because it is modified by the gearbox and final drive, but losses withstanding, it does determine what people 'feel'. Torque is a force, and hence produces thrust. Horsepower is not a force, and does not magically 'take over' at some point as some people seem to imagine. Think wheel torque!

NOTE 2: Looking back, the analogy wasn't such a good idea; what I implying is that many vehicles with high torque that are geared low tend to be heavy, so added weight affects them little, where as small engines have lower torque, but rev higher, and are used in lighter vehicles where additional weight makes a large impact.

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HP vs. TQ - F1 vs. NASCAR - youtu.be/CxK0x7AE3s8

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