Cars That Have More Than Two Turbochargers
When twin-turbos are not enough. These cars pack engines with more than two turbochargesby Dim Angelov, on
For better or worse, forced induction is becoming more and more common among internal combustion engines. This almost exclusively means turbochargers, although superchargers are not entirely phased out yet. High-performance cars in particular come with two turbochargers, which seems to be the standard. There are, however, a few exceptions that boast more than two turbochargers, and here they are.
Starting off with a quartet of Bavarian luxury models, we have the F10-generation BMW 5 Series, F01-generation 7 Series facelift, E70 X5, and E71 X6 models with designation 50d. What they all have in common is the N57D30C powerplant. The 3.0-liter tri-turbo diesel packs 381 horsepower at 4,000 to 4,400 RPM and 546 pound-feet (740 Nm) at 2,000 to 3,000 RPM.
The engine’s trio of turbochargers works sequentially, with a small one producing torque right after idle. A second turbocharger gives power at low to mid-range RPMs while the third one produces power at the higher rev range. The common-rail turbodiesel also features direct fuel injection and can return up to 45 MPG. Depending on which of the four models it’s in, 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) is possible in 4.5 seconds (M550d) to 5.1 seconds (X5 M50d).
|Engine||3.0-liter tri-turbo diesel|
|Power||381 HP @ 4,000 RPM|
|Torque||546 LB-FT @ 2,000 - 3,000 RPM|
|0 to 60 mph||4.5 seconds (5.1 seconds)|
Audi also has its own tri-turbo engine and it’s also a diesel. Audi’s 4.0-liter V-8 tri-turbodiesel was first featured on the 2017 Audi SQ7 and 2017 Audi A8. In 2019, the SQ8 also received the tri-turbo unit. In factory trim, the V-8 TDI makes 435 horsepower at 3,750 to 4,750 RPM and 664 pound-feet (900 Nm) at 1,250 to 3,250 RPM. In the Audi A8 60 TDI, the engine is part of a mild-hybrid system.
Audi’s V-8 unit works quite differently from BMW’s tri-turbo inline-six. For the most part, the 4.0-liter TDI works like a conventional twin-turbo V-8. However, there is also a third, electric turbocharger with its own, separate 48-Volt system that provides support for the “twins”. Depending on which model it’s in, the 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint takes between 4.2 and 4.6 seconds.
|Engine||4.0-liter V-8 TDI|
|Power||435 HP @ 3,750 - 4,750 RPM|
|Torque||664 LB-FT @ 1,250 - 3,250 RPM|
|0 to 60 mph||4.2 seconds (4.6 seconds)|
Bentley’s first SUV debuted in 2017 and was immediately offered in a few different flavors. One of them is a V-8 turbodiesel. In fact, because the British luxury carmaker is owned by Volkswagen-Audi Group, the Bentayga shares the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 with a third electric turbocharger, from earlier. The engine makes exactly the same 435 horsepower at 3,750 to 4,750 RPM and 664 pound-feet (1,250 to 3,250 RPM) as in the Audi models.
Unlike the Audi models, in which the engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic, the Bentley features a seven-speed unit. Unlike the Audi A8, the Bentayga does not feature mild-hybrid technology. With the 4.0-liter tri-turbo V-8, the Bentayga can sprint to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.6 seconds. The Bentayga facelift (2020-) replaces the 4.0-liter turbodiesel with a 3.0-liter, turbodiesel plug-in hybrid.
|Engine||4.0-liter tri-turbo V-8|
|Power||435 HP @ 3,750 - 4,750 RPM|
|Torque||664 LB-FT @ 1,250 - 3,250 RPM|
|0 to 60 mph||4.6 seconds|
Bugatti Veyron, Chiron, and their derivatives
Bugatti was the first manufacturer to offer a quad-turbo engine in its cars. The introduced in 2005 Bugatti Veyron was powered by a massive 8.0-liter W-16 engine with four parallel turbochargers. This means that each turbocharger is responsible for forcing air into a quarter of cylinders. The Veyron’s production ended in 2015 with just 450 examples made. Its successor, the Bugatti Chiron was produced in 500 examples, which makes it more common.
In its weakest form, the quad-turbo W-16 produces 1,001 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 922 pound-feet (1,250 Nm) at 2,200 to 5,500 RPM. If you think that’s bonkers, there is a derivative of the Chiron (one of the few) called the Bugatti Bolide, of which only 40 exist. There, the 8.0-liter quad-turbo W-16 packs 1,850 horsepower at 7,000 RPM and 1,365 pound-feet (1,850 Nm) at 2,000 to 7,025 RPM.
|Power||1,001 HP @ 6,000 RPM|
|Torque||922 LB-FT @ 2,200 - 5,500 RPM|
BMW M550d /750d/ X5, X6 & X7 M50d
Yet another group of Bavarian luxury models (five, this time), equipped with more than two turbochargers. The same 3.0-liter, N57, inline-six turbodiesel evolved over the years and got another turbocharger, making BMW the second manufacturer to offer a quad-turbo engine, after Bugatti. The quad-turbo version of the engine first appeared in 2017, on the BMW G30 M550d. A year later, it was also offered on the BMW 750d (G11 facelift), X5 G05, and X6 G06 models.
The quad-turbo setup works as two pairs of sequential turbos, with each pair providing a boost for every three cylinders. Initially, only one turbo from each pair spins, providing low-end torque while the secondary turbos kick in later in the rev range. The result is 400 horsepower at 4,000 to 4,400 RPM and 560 pound-feet (760 Nm) at 2,000 to 3,000 RPM). In the M550d, this is enough for a 4.2-second sprint to 60 mph (97 km/h) while the three-row X7 M50d manages a 5.1-second sprint to 60 mph.
|Engine||3.0-liter, inline-six turbodiesel|
|Power||400 HP @ 4,000 - 4,400 RPM|
|Torque||560 LB-FT @ 2,000 - 3,000 RPM|
|0 to 60 mph||4.2 seconds (5.1 seconds)|
Remember when we said Bugatti was the first manufacturer to make a car with four turbochargers? This was it. The Bugatti EB110 debuted in 1991 and commemorated 110 years of Bugatti founder, Ettore Bugatti’s birth. With only 139 units produced the EB110 is much rarer than the more modern Veyron and Chiron models. The EB110 was designed by Marcello Gandini and came in two flavors – GT and SS. They both feature the same 3.5-liter quad-turbo V-12 that was built in-house.
In the EB110 GT, the engine produces 560 horsepower at 8,000 RPM and 451 pound-feet (611 Nm) at 3,750 RPM – enough for a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint in 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 211 mph (340 km/h). The EB110 SS, meanwhile, packs 620 horsepower and 450 pound-feet (610 Nm) while sprinting to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds on its way to 217.5 mph (351 km/h) top speed. Regardless of the version, power goes to all four wheels through a six-speed manual. For a brief period, Bugatti EB110 was the fastest production car in the world.
|Engine||3.5-liter quad-turbo V-12|
|Power||560 HP @ 8,000 RPM|
|Torque||451 LB-FT @ 3,750 RPM|
|0 to 60 mph||3.4 seconds|
|Top Speed||211 mph|
Honorable mention: Chrysler ME Four-Twelve
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Chrysler had some insane concepts. The top of the cherry, however, has to be the Chrysler ME Four-Twelve. The car was introduced in 2004 and the name stood for “Mid-Engine, Four turbochargers, and Twelve cylinders” (ME 4-12). The engine itself was a 6.0-liter M120 Mercedes-Benz V-12.
With the quad-turbo setup (and premium fuel), the engine was capable of 850 horsepower at 5,750 RPM and 850 pound-feet (1,150 Nm) at 2,500 RPM and 4,500 RPM, which were sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The car also weighed 2,880 pounds (1,310 kg). Other impressive figures include a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 2.9 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 10.6 seconds at 136 mph (219 km/h), and a top speed of 248 mph (399 km/h).
|Engine||6.0-liter M120 Mercedes-Benz V-12|
|Power||850 HP @ 5,750 RPM|
|Torque||850 LB-FT @ 2,500 - 4,500 RPM|
|0 to 60 mph||2.9 seconds|
|Top Speed||248 mph|
|Quarter-mile||10.6 seconds @ 136 mph|
Honorable mention 2: Ford GT90
Another awesome car from the 1990s, which sadly remained a concept, is the Ford GT90, Introduced in 1995, it was the latest attempt at a spiritual successor to the GT40. The car featured a lot of triangular forms, but more importantly, its 5.9-liter V-8 had four turbochargers. The powerplant was loosely based on the Ford modular architecture and was good for 720 horsepower and 660 pound-feet (895 Nm).
Power was sent to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual with what has to be some very long gear ratios. The 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint took 3.1 seconds while the quarter-mile was completed in 10.9 seconds at 140 mph (225 km/h). The car was, reportedly, capable of 253 mph (407 km/h). Thanks to the extensive use of aluminum and carbon fiber, the GT90 had a weight of 3,199 pounds (1,451 kg).
|0 to 60 mph||3.1 seconds|
|Top Speed||253 mph|
|Quarter-mile||10.9 seconds @ 140 mph|