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Top 10: Turbocharged classics

The principle of turbocharging hasn’t changed massively over the years, although fuel-injection tended to replace carburettors through the 1980s. And these days you get innovations like low-pressure turbos, bringing smoother acceleration through a broader rev range, as well as twin-turbos for even more ‘grunt’.

The good news when buying a classic turbo motor is that turbochargers are generally reliable these days, and even relatively elderly examples can still give good service – depending on their mileage and service history. It’s essential that any turbocharged car has had oil changes at the correct intervals, and that high-performance or synthetic engine oil has been used. And remember, after a fast run, don't swtich off without letting the car idle for 30 seconds or so! 

But enough of the practicalities, as there are some fantastically exciting turbocharged classic choices out there these days. It’s just a question of which one tempts you the most.

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With its wedge-like shape, dramatic wheel arch ‘slashes’, bubble-top headlamps and race-type filler cap, the Fiat Coupe was a typically distinctive design from Chris Bangle. Choose the 16v Turbo version though, and you got equally outrageous performance thanks to a 187bhp output.

Things improved further in 1996 when the 16v engine was replaced by a new 20v five-cylinder unit, offering 217bhp. This meant even more storming performance, with 60mph from rest in little over six seconds, while front-drive torque steer was kept in check via a limited slip diff 


Pug RCZ    on 11 April 2018

That 12 seconds should, I think, be 6.0 seconds.

John of Gloster    on 12 April 2018

Two HUGE omissions from that list.

How about the always under estimated MG Montego and MG Maestro Turbos? Yes, under rated particularly by the car consumers, not to be confused with car enthusiasts, in their country of origin. More highly regarded in other parts of the world though. Righty so.

Grego    on 12 April 2018

MG Maestro Turbo, the fastest FWD car car at the time (1989) I owned one for 5 years and in that time only one car got past me and that was a Rover 620 Turbo, possibly the most underrated car ever

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