What is Torque in Cars?

2023 MINI Clubman Exterior

Engine output is most often measured in horsepower and torque. While horsepower is fairly straightforward, torque is often misunderstood. What is torque in cars? Or rather, what does torque mean in a car? This guide from the service team at MINI of Warwick will explain what torque is, how torque differs from horsepower, and what is considered good torque in a car. 

Torque: Definition

What does torque mean in a car? Torque is the twisting force that’s generated when an engine is operating at full power. The pistons within an engine create torque as they move backward and forward on the crankshaft and the torque is sent to the car’s wheels via the drivetrain and transmission. The average torque generated by today’s cars and trucks can range from 100 to 400 lb-ft. 

What is Considered Good Torque in a Car?

The amount of torque that a vehicle produces directly affects its acceleration and towing power. What is considered good torque in a car? A high torque output is generally more desirable, as it enables you to get up to speed in a hurry on Cranston, RI-area highways. A higher amount of torque can deliver faster acceleration from low revs in a high gear, which can result in more efficient performance while giving you the ability to haul a boat or trailer on your next weekend getaway outside of Newport, RI.

Horsepower vs. Torque

What is torque in cars? As explained above, torque measures the rotational force of the crankshaft within your car’s engine. What is horsepower in cars? Horsepower measures the power being transferred to the wheels from the engine. Some other things to take note of when looking at horsepower vs. torque include: 

  1. How They Affect Acceleration: Through twisting force, torque gets the car rolling when you accelerate; horsepower is what maintains the speed as you cruise in and around Providence, RI. 
  2. Towing: Torque is what matters when it comes to towing. If you need to tow a camper, boat, or ATV, you’ll want a vehicle with plenty of torque to get the job done. 
  3. Vehicle Performance: Both horsepower and torque affect the speed of a vehicle. For the best possible driving experience you want to have a solid balance between the two. The fastest MINI Cooper is the MINI Clubman John Cooper Works ALL4 which can generate 301 hp with up to 331 lb-ft of torque.
  4. Fuel-Efficiency: A car with high horsepower burns fuel more quickly, while vehicles with more low-end torque will burn fuel at a slower rate. 

Learn More About Torque, Horsepower, & More from MINI of Warwick! 

Want to find out about the torque produced by a specific MINI Cooper vehicle? The team at MINI of Warwick can fill you in on all of the specs for each vehicle in our new MINI Cooper inventory. If you’d like to experience MINI Cooper performance for yourself, contact us to schedule a test drive in Warwick today! 


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