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Will triple turbo engines be the future?

By FaezClutchless on 07 Feb 2012

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The turbocharging of engines in modern cars today is getting pretty common. You can see all sorts of forced induction set-ups, from a small-sized single turbo and up to a twin-turbo set-up. But a triple turbo set-up is something new and two German automakers are venturing into that foray.

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The rumours of BMWs triple turbo engines have been going around for the whole of last year and it looks like they were true since BMW has announced a slew of vehicles within their BMW M Performance range. They include M550d xDrive sedan and also a touring version, X5 M50d and the X6 M50d. You might have guessed that the letter d signifies diesel.

All the abovementioned cars will feature a new M Performance TwinPower triple turbocharger engine. It will be a 3.0 litre six cylinder turbodiesel which generates around 381bhp and 740Nm of torque. 0-100km/h timing will be around 4.7 seconds and will have a electronically limited top speed of 250km/h. BMW didnt say much about how the set-up looks like or how the third turbo will play a part in the set-up.

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Just days after BMWs announcement, a patent application for a triple turbocharger set-up by Porsche was revealed. It is said that this set-up will be used on the new Porsche 911 Turbo. It is clear that Porsche is seeking to increase the overall power, low-end response and efficiency of the 911 (991) series.

Porsche has used a twin turbo set-up since the 911 (993) series and that improved the cars performance since the older Turbo models display an extreme turbo lag characteristic. Since both the 911 (991) and the engine are still in the developmental stage, nothing much is known about them. What is expected is a higher power output from the new engine, somewhere in the region of 550bhp for the base Turbo model.

Technically, a twin turbo set-up is better compared to a single large turbo. One turbo will spool quickly to offer better low end response and the other one will provide power at the higher end. This will eliminate the dreaded turbo lag which many single turbo car owners are familiar with.

But how will a triple turbo set-up function? For that we will have to wait and see how it turns out.

Photo credit: Motor Authority and Motor Trend

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Written by FaezClutchless
Some say that his blood is actually RON98 petrol and some say that his right foot weighs over 20kg. But all that we know about Faez is that he loves to drive and is a JDM enthusiast.

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Mecontle Feb 07 2012 11:17 PM
is there any exhaust gas left for reload?
Happily1986 Feb 08 2012 01:00 AM
the Veyron has 4 turbos isn't it? it is merely the application which is novel since noone has taken 3 turbos to slap on the engine. still, multi turbo powerplants are not new, thats my point.
FaezClutchless Feb 08 2012 05:08 PM
@Happily1986: Yes, you are correct about the Veyron having 4 turbos. The Veyron's engine is a W16 which is equivalent to two V8s. Each turbo is set for each bank of cylinders and that is why the engineers are able to place four turbos.

When I asked the question about how will triple turbos function, I basically was wondering on how three turbos would function on an inline engine since most of the time nowadays we only see twin turbos. Generally, one turbo for the lower-end and the other one for mid and higher end.

Fixing three turbos on an engine is new for stock engines although aftermarket tuners have done it. I've seen three turbos on a Mazda 20B engine and it is ideal since it thas three rotors. One turbo for each rotor.

Thank you for your comments.
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