What’s the Difference Between Horsepower and Torque?

By blogsadmin | Posted in Tips & Tricks on Thursday, September 28th, 2017 at 10:04 am
What's the Difference Between Horsepower and Torque?

What do power numbers mean? This is a question that many consumers and drivers don’t know. When confronted with these numbers people can often be overwhelmed and confused. What does horsepower mean? What does 1 horsepower equal? Do torque and horsepower do the same thing? What’s the difference between horsepower and torque? Here at J. Bertolet Volkswagen, we thought we’d help to answer those questions. 


Torque represents how much twisting force is at work and is measured by lb-foot or pound-foot. For example, let’s take a pipe. We need to turn the pipe. If the pipe is 3 feet long and we push with 30 lbs of pressure to move it, we are applying 90 lb-feet of torque (30 lbs x 3 feet) to twist the pipe. 

Torque governs a car’s lower speeds. If your car is still, it needs torque to get moving. How fast and easily your vehicle can change from being stationary to being in motion depends on much torque your vehicle has. Once you get moving, however, you’ll need horsepower for higher speeds. 

Horsepower vs Torque

Low-end Power and High-end Power


The word horsepower invokes images of horses roaring across fields, comparing its strength and speed of the animal kingdom to a revving sports car. In reality, horsepower is just a nothing word assigned to a mathematical equation for marketing purposes. 

Horsepower picks up where torque leaves off. Torque covers low-end power and horsepower covers high-end power. Torque handles initial acceleration and horsepower helps maintain a car’s highspeed acceleration. 1 horsepower (hp) is the amount of power needed to move 33,000 pounds one foot in one minute.  

Common Engine Sounds and What They Mean

How Important are Torque and Horsepower?

It should be noted that both torque and horsepower do not guarantee an enjoyable ride or vehicle. While important, power isn’t equivalent to a good car. Moreover, it’s important to recognize good torque and horsepower in relation to weight. If a car is very heavy, it will negate a very high torque and horsepower, making its high power rankings very deceptive. 

We here at J. Bertolet Volkswagen hope this has been enlightening for you. If you’re looking for more advice and answers on the automotive industry check out our website, call, or visit. We’ll be glad to have you! 

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