Rev up your engines and prepare for a journey into the thrilling world of turbocharged marvels! The unmistakable whoosh of a turbocharger has graced some of the automotive industry’s most iconic creations, spanning the spectrum from high-octane supercars to luxurious saloons and even spruced-up hatchbacks. The concept is ingeniously simple: attach a device that harnesses otherwise wasted exhaust gases to pump more air into the engine, delivering an exhilarating surge of power at a surprisingly modest cost. In the early days, turbocharged vehicles had their quirks, notably the infamous “turbo lag,” where pressing the accelerator felt like waiting for a delayed crescendo of power. Those who dared to navigate the uncharted territory of turbocharged Formula One cars in the late 1970s were akin to modern-day adventurers, mastering the art of taming these fiery beasts on the track. Leading the charge was Renault, both in the world of Formula One and in an unlikely road car adventure, leaving an indelible mark on the automotive landscape.
Now, brace yourselves for a turbocharged thrill ride as we unveil our handpicked selection of the top 10 turbocharged cars of all time! These automotive titans promise neck-snapping acceleration, catapulting you into the realm of automotive legends. So, buckle up and get ready to experience the sheer power and exhilaration that only the best turbocharged cars can deliver. With these turbocharged wonders, you’re in for a pulse-pounding adventure that will leave you grinning from ear to ear, every time you press that pedal to the metal!
Renault 5 Turbo
In automotive audacity, the Renault 5 Turbo of 1980 takes the crown as a true icon of eccentricity. Picture this: a little hatchback that transforms into a roaring beast with a turbocharged heart. (Why did the Renault 5 Turbo bring earplugs to the racetrack? Because it wanted to protect its opponents’ delicate ears from its ferocious engine roar!)
This automotive marvel debuted at the Brussels Motor Show, leaving spectators in sheer amazement. Renault had taken their humble 5 hatchback and turned it into a bulging, wide-bodied monster. However, the real magic happened beneath the surface. Nestled behind the driver and passenger seats was a Garrett T3 turbocharged engine, ready to propel this pocket rocket into the stratosphere of speed. While it may not have been the most practical choice for grocery shopping, its prowess on rough terrain and impressive rally victories, including the legendary Monte Carlo Rally, showcased its formidable capabilities. The Renault 5 Turbo remains a symbol of automotive madness, pushing the boundaries of what a hatchback could be and setting the bar for adrenaline-pumping driving experiences. So, if you’re ever fortunate enough to tame this wild beast, hold on tight and prepare for a ride like no other!
Bentley Turbo R
Picture this: a luxurious drawing room on wheels, infused with the brute force of a rip-roaring turbocharged V8 engine. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Bentley Turbo R, a masterpiece born in 1985, crafted for the sophisticated plutocrats who yearned to arrive at their opulent dinner parties with style and astonishing speed. (Why did the Bentley Turbo R attend a dinner party? Because it wanted to be the talk of the town with its turbocharged charm!)
In an era when the mere mention of “Turbo” ignited visions of improbable speed, Bentley’s Turbo R took the stage, proving that it wasn’t just a moniker; it was a statement of exhilaration. It harkened back to Bentley’s illustrious history, a brand forged on the racetracks with four glorious Le Mans victories in the late 1920s. The Turbo R, with its elegant yet imposing presence, played a pivotal role in revitalizing Bentley under Volkswagen’s ownership. Today, it stands as an enticing gateway to the world of Bentley ownership, offering a seemingly affordable entry ticket. However, do heed the cautionary note – be prepared for those annual service bills; luxury, after all, comes at a cost!
Woking’s illustrious foray into the world of Formula One gave birth to the spectacular McLaren MP4-12C, signifying the dawn of a new era for McLaren’s road car division. This iconic masterpiece, a spiritual successor to the legendary F1 hypercar designed by the visionary Gordon Murray, made its grand entrance in 1998. Under the hood roared a potent V8 engine, generously adorned with twin turbochargers, gifting the MP4-12C with the gift of awe-inspiring acceleration. (Why did the McLaren MP4-12C challenge the wind to a race? Because it knew it could ‘turbocharge’ its way to victory!) This extraordinary machine catapulted from 0 to 60 mph in a mere blink of an eye, clocking in at less than three seconds, and could effortlessly touch the astonishing top speed of 220 mph.
The McLaren MP4-12C was more than just a supercar; it was a supercar designed for everyday use, balancing understated elegance with earth-shattering speed. It redefined the boundaries of what a supercar could be, setting the stage for its impressive successors that carry forward the legacy of British automotive excellence. This is the epitome of a turbocharged British supercar saga, where each chapter continues to leave enthusiasts spellbound!
Saab 99 Turbo
In the realm of automotive innovation, the super-rational Swedes at Saab embarked on a remarkable journey that would forever change the landscape of turbocharged cars. Drawing upon their rich aeronautical experience, Saab engineers perfected the turbocharger for motoring applications. This technological marvel found its home in the sleek and elegant 1970s Saab 99, proving beyond doubt that turbocharging had the potential for mass production in the car industry. (Why did the Saab 99 Turbo become the life of the automotive party? Because it brought the “endless surge” of strong acceleration!) At its core was a potent 16-valve engine, a remarkable creation produced under license from Britain’s Triumph. This achievement was so remarkable that Triumph themselves might have pondered why they hadn’t ventured into turbocharging, especially when automotive journalists couldn’t stop praising the 99 Turbo’s seemingly never-ending surge of powerful acceleration.
The Saab 99 Turbo became an emblem of Swedish precision and engineering ingenuity. It stood as a testament to the transformative power of innovation, forever altering the trajectory of turbocharging in the automotive world. Thanks to Saab’s pioneering spirit, the turbocharger became not just a concept, but a reality that would thrill car enthusiasts for generations to come. This was the moment when the Swedes put the “turbo” in turbocharging, and the rest, as they say, is automotive history!
Porsche 930 Turbo
In the world of automotive legends, Porsche created quite a stir when they decided to infuse a turbocharger into the heart of their revered rear-mounted 911 flat six, marking the birth of the iconic 930 generation. (Why did Porsche’s decision to turbocharge the 911 make purists sweat? Because it turned tradition on its head!) To the purists’ astonishment, behind the steering wheel, the turbocharger proved to be a stroke of genius. Its true potential shone, especially when the 930 turbocharged version took to the racetrack with aplomb, competing in prestigious events like the Le Mans 24-hour race. This wasn’t just about racing; it was about transforming on-the-road acceleration. The doubters were silenced, and traditionalists had to concede that Porsche’s turbocharging decision was a game-changer. As time rolled on, nearly every 911 model that followed proudly sported a turbocharger, marking the beginning of a new era in automotive excellence.
The Porsche 930 Turbo stands as a testament to Porsche’s unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of performance and engineering. It wasn’t just a sports car; it was an evolution, a legacy that reshaped the future of the 911 lineage. With turbocharged power coursing through its veins, the 930 Turbo left a lasting mark in automotive history, forever etching its name as a true icon in the annals of car enthusiast lore. This was the moment when the rear-mounted turbocharger became a symphony of power for Porsche, and the rest, as they say, is turbocharged history!
Imagine taking an everyday rep-mobile and turning it into a roaring beast on wheels. Vauxhall achieved precisely that when they decided to inject some excitement into their otherwise unassuming Carlton model. (What do you get when you combine a mundane sedan with Lotus engineering? The Lotus Carlton, an automotive wolf in sheep’s clothing!) Seeking a touch of the spotlight, Vauxhall enlisted the help of Lotus, who wasted no time in transforming this unremarkable sedan into something extraordinary. First, they cranked up the engine’s power, and then, like a magician revealing a trick, they introduced a pair of Garrett T25 turbochargers. The result? A jaw-dropping, heart-pounding, stealthy saloon that blended seamlessly with traffic but possessed the uncanny ability to unleash a mind-boggling top speed of 177 mph. It didn’t take long for the Lotus Carlton to capture the imagination of speed enthusiasts, and it quickly gained notoriety as a preferred choice for getaways, much to the dismay of law enforcement agencies. (You know you’ve made it when your getaway car becomes the talk of Parliament!) With just a limited production run of 320 units, the Lotus Carlton is a true automotive classic, cherished by enthusiasts around the world.
The Lotus Carlton stands as a testament to the magic that can happen when a routine car receives the Midas touch from the folks at Lotus. It’s a shining example of how the mundane can be transformed into the extraordinary, leaving an indelible mark in the annals of automotive history. Today, it continues to enjoy a cult following among car enthusiasts, a symbol of the era when a British sedan dared to challenge the supercars of its time and emerged victorious. So, if you ever find yourself behind the wheel of a Lotus Carlton, remember, you’re not just driving a car; you’re driving a legend. And when you’re on the road, be sure to keep an eye out for any law enforcement – they might still be wondering how a humble Carlton became a supercar killer!
When it comes to pushing the boundaries of supercars, Bugatti is known for taking things to the extreme, and the Bugatti Veyron is a testament to their relentless pursuit of automotive excellence. (If you thought supercars were mundane, think again!) The Veyron made an unforgettable entrance into the world of hypercars, boasting a jaw-dropping top speed of 250 mph. But what truly set this magnificent machine apart was the engineering marvel nestled within – a colossal 8-liter W16 engine, positioned right in the middle and armed with a formidable quartet of turbochargers. (Four turbos – because why settle for less when you’re aiming for the stars?) As driver and passenger luxuriated in the lap of automotive opulence, it was the turbochargers that toiled relentlessly to deliver the mind-bending performance that left the world in awe. (Who needs a magic carpet when you have four turbos?)
The Bugatti Veyron stands as a testament to what happens when the limits of engineering are stretched to the max. It’s a car that defies convention and challenges what’s possible in the realm of speed and power. As for whether we’ll ever witness its equal in the future, well, that remains a tantalizing question. But one thing’s for sure – the Bugatti Veyron will forever hold a special place in the hearts of automotive enthusiasts as a symbol of audacious innovation and unrelenting performance. (Because, after all, who wouldn’t want a car that could outrun a cheetah while offering the comfort of a luxury hotel suite?) So, while the future may hold surprises, one thing is certain – the Bugatti Veyron will forever reign as a turbocharged titan in the annals of automotive history.
BMW 2002 Turbo
When it comes to iconic classics, the BMW 2002 Turbo deserves a place of honor. This delightful two-door sports saloon not only captured the hearts of automotive enthusiasts but also secured its spot in the future classic hall of fame, all thanks to the thrilling Turbo version. From the moment you laid eyes on it, the unmistakable side striping proudly declared its turbocharged prowess. (Because why be subtle when you can shout “turbo” from the rooftops?) The bodykit, deemed essential to handle the surge of performance, gave the Turbo a distinct edge over its more conventional 2002 siblings. But what truly set this car apart was the exhilarating acceleration that could rival some sports cars of the era. (Who said sports saloons couldn’t have a need for speed?)
Let’s talk about turbo-lag – that little quirk of early turbocharged production cars. It was as if the car had a secret timer, and keen drivers quickly learned to anticipate their need for extra power well in advance. (Turbo-lag: turning every drive into a game of “predict when the boost will kick in.”) But despite this amusing peculiarity, the BMW 2002 Turbo remains a timeless classic that embodies the perfect fusion of style and performance. So, whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or just starting your journey into the world of classic cars, the BMW 2002 Turbo promises an unforgettable ride that will leave you with a grin as wide as its turbocharger can spool up!
In the thrilling world of rallying, the Audi Quattro emerged as a true legend in the 1980s, leaving its tire tracks all over the competition. However, this remarkable coupé was more than just a four-wheel drive powerhouse; it was a pioneer that showcased Audi’s commitment to “vorsprung durch technik” – progress through technology. Turbocharging played a vital role in this high-performance marvel, creating a symphony of power and precision that set it apart from the rest. (Because let’s face it, who doesn’t love a little turbocharged symphony under the hood?)
The Audi Quattro holds the prestigious title of being the world’s first four-wheel drive front-engined turbocharged production car, and that distinction alone makes it a highly coveted gem for enthusiasts today. So, whether you’re an Audi aficionado or simply appreciate the perfect marriage of cutting-edge technology and blistering performance, the Audi Quattro remains a timeless icon that continues to leave a lasting impression on the world of automotive excellence. (Just remember, when you hear that turbo spooling up, you’re in for a ride that’s nothing short of legendary!)
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
At first glance, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution might deceive you with its unassuming appearance, but underneath that deceptively calm exterior lies a turbocharged monster born on the rally tracks. Fondly known as the “Evo” among enthusiasts, this beast earned its stripes by clinching multiple World Rally Championships, thanks to the legendary Finnish ace, Tommi Mäkinen. But the rally dominance didn’t stop there; Britain’s very own Richard Burns also played a pivotal role in securing a Constructors Championship for the marque. (Just remember, driving an Evo doesn’t automatically grant you the skills of these rally legends!)
While numerous road versions of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution were unleashed, some found themselves in rather unfortunate situations – planted firmly in hedges – as overeager drivers attempted to channel their inner Mäkinen. But let’s be honest, unleashing the power of this turbocharged titan on public roads requires a healthy dose of restraint and respect for its rally-bred heritage. So, if you’re seeking the thrill of a rally-derived masterpiece that’s equally at home on the streets, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution should be right at the top of your wish list. (And remember, it’s okay to leave the hedges unexplored!)