The Extinction of the Naturally Aspirated Engine

The automotive industry has seen many changes over the years—from new technologies to new designs. One of the most recent changes has been the extinction of the naturally aspirated engine. For many car enthusiasts, this is a sad development as it means the end of a certain type of driving experience. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what a naturally aspirated engine is, why it’s disappearing, and what the future holds for auto aficionados.

What is a naturally aspirated engine?

A naturally aspirated engine is an internal combustion engine that relies on atmospheric pressure to draw air into the engine’s cylinders. 

The air is mixed with fuel, and the resulting mixture is ignited to create power. This is in contrast to a forced induction engine, which uses a turbocharger or supercharger to force more air into the engine. 

So, why are naturally aspirated engines disappearing? 

The main reason is that they are less fuel-efficient than forced induction engines. 

With fuel economy regulations becoming stricter every year, automakers are turning to turbocharging and supercharging to help their engines produce more power while using less fuel. This is especially true in Europe, where emissions regulations are very strict. 

In addition, advances in the turbocharger and supercharger technology have made them more reliable and less expensive, which makes them more attractive to automakers. 

To say that the naturally aspirated engine is disappearing is not an entirely true statement. While yes, indeed, we are seeing a heavy trend of forced induction engines being put in everyday vehicles and supercars. An even newer trend is assisting gas-powered engines with electric motors that provide more power and significantly greater fuel efficiency. We can especially see this trend in sports and supercars.

For example, the all-new Corvette E-Ray uses a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 to power the rear wheels, like in a traditional Corvette. But in addition, it also has an all-electric motor that powers the front wheels, making it the very first all-wheel drive Corvette ever made. This new direction was a complete shock to the purist Corvette community.

Chevrolet is not the first or the only car manufacturer to take advantage of this technology. BMW, Porsche, McLaren, Ferrari, and many more have all utilized this combination of powertrains to create hybrid platforms in the sports and supercar world. 

Hybrid technology has been around for a while. Toyota Prius is the first ever mass-produced hybrid car introduced to the American market in 2000.

With the emergence of forced induction and hybrid powertrains, it does not make a lot of sense to make inefficient, old-school, naturally aspirated engines. However, Lamborghini has been one of the few manufacturers to stick to their roots and keep producing large displacement, high revving, screaming V10 and V12 engines that they have been known for, for many years.

Unfortunately, all great things must come to an end. Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Lamborghini, has stated that 2022 will be the last year you can purchase a brand new naturally aspirated Lamborghini ever again. 

The company has announced they are moving to strictly hybrid-powered vehicles and looking to transition to full electric in the coming years. The era of pure, unfiltered engine noise and screaming, high-revving engines is bidding goodbye, which is unfortunate to many motorsports enthusiasts.

Another reason for the disappearance of naturally aspirated engines is the changing preferences of the average consumer. 

Many car buyers are more interested in technology and fuel efficiency than the raw power and sound of a naturally aspirated engine. They may not even notice the difference between a naturally aspirated engine and a forced induction engine, and they may be more interested in other features, such as safety technology and infotainment systems. 

What does the future hold for car enthusiasts who love naturally aspirated engines? 

Unfortunately, it seems that the trend toward forced induction engines, hybrid powertrains and full electric vehicles is here to stay. 

However, there are a few automakers who stick to their heritage for as long as they can and keep making those pure enthusiast machines, like the all-new Porsche 911 GT3 and the Corvette ZO6, will keep producing their incredible naturally aspirated engines, at least in the next couple years. Otherwise, enthusiasts will have to turn to the used car markets.

Wrapping up

In conclusion, the extinction of the naturally aspirated engine is a sad development for car enthusiasts who love the raw power and sound of these engines. However, it is a sign of the changing times, as automakers and consumers focus more on fuel efficiency and technology. 

While the trend towards forced induction engines and electrified vehicles is likely to continue, there are still opportunities for enthusiasts to enjoy the driving experience of a naturally aspirated engine. 

Whether in a high-end sports car or an older model, the sound and feel of a naturally aspirated engine will surely provide a thrilling ride for years to come. The changing technology will offer brand-new experiences to enthusiasts all around the world.

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