Thursday, October 1, 2015

The "I told you so" post

Following VW scandal, new tests uncover that Mercedes is even worse, BMW does the same...and peugeot, toyota...well ALL OF THEM.

Why? Well because like I've been saying for years, diesel is a lot worse than engines and obviously pollution.

Of course no one listened to me because the manufacturers say it is good...than I must be true.

Time now for the revenge post: I TOLD YOU! Years...decades ago.

The Diesel is now on count down...finally. Next step: false hybrids.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

VW... you are stupid... ballsy but stupid... and also right.

Shocked by the VW scandal, I decided to post this article.

I can't believe how stupid they here, how ballsy they were and ultimately how right they are.

Politicians, in their infinite stupidity think that the world will be better if the clean cars (gasoline engined) are less, and dirty cars (diesel engined) are more and more controlled by regulations that ultimately will kill the engine power making you pull it harder or buy a bigger engine.... ending in more pollution anyway.

There is a why to this: tax! More tax means more money for them... of course the idea of taxing a car that pollutes like a gasoline engine car, is to plant more trees and green areas to compensate... but that money is deviated... lets just say else where.

There is the other matter... by taxing gasoline cars, people flee to diesel ones, and that constitutes a bigger problem as diesel emissions include a lot of carbon particles... this is worse then gas, so the politicians add regulations and taxes to try to baffle the resulting pollution... no trees from taxes still, just more money.

So the game is: Make it as bad as possible and then tax on it and make fortunes.

In order to do that, every car, upon certification to a specific market will have pass a set of tests including the emissions test.

So far so good. We knew that already. The problem is that VW also knows that and ultimately thinks "I don't really care for stupid policies, and if you are making money on us, than I'll fool you".

So now for the news:
Every car that is fitted with ESP will not allow you to properly test it on a rolling dyno. The 2 front wheels spinning while the 2 rear wheels are stopped will immediately trigger EPS into thinking you are trying to accelerate on a slippery surface and dose the engine and apply the brakes... So to solve this issue every manufacturer has input into it's car's software a "test mode" that disables ESP actions.
Now if you are a manufacturer and you want to fool the emissions test, this presents an opportunity, however, if you are going to do that you must really conceal the crafts, as you will be stealing money from governments (the biggest "mafiosos" of them all)  in every car you sell from that point on.

VW did just that! they concealed a way to make their cars pollute 40 to 50 time less if a certain type of parameter was met.

This is not the problem. The problem is that if you are going down this road than you have to make it "look like a bug" in the software.

VW on the other hand coded a set of checks that produce a result...and that can be tracked.

Not that if it was a bug you would be out of trouble... it just makes it easier to explain in court, and that means that, out of the total 18billion fine, you could negotiate your way down to say... half that value!?

In the other words: your VW diesel that claims to produce x co gr/km actually produces 40 or 50 times as much. No worries, it still has that big power from a very small package and that is what you pay for actually.

So this is a big scandal not because it pollutes more, not because they are stealing from the government (and in turn helping you do the same... so now you have that instant karma feeling) but because they where stupid enough to do that in the clumsiest possible way.

Practical results form this stunt?
1 - VW will be fined... hard
2 - VW is stealing from govenrments everytime they sell a diesel car
3 - if you own a VW you have been and are stealing form your government every year when you pay your tax.
4 - VW will have to call back the cars and remap... so be careful! I have no idea how they are going to meet CO emissions while retaining the same power and consumption.
5 - VW stock is history.... sell... yesterday.

HONDA: you killed the brilliant K20A from the type-r and screwed-it-up with a turbo... instead you should have gone for full BTCC race tune to 300bhp NA and fit a jumbo catalytic converter that could be removed and replaced with a test pipe the minute one exits the sales stand. That would be legal, that would be efficient, that would still pollute less than any VW... and we would have loved it.

Test Drive - 2004 Honda Civic 1.7cdti (EP3 chassis)

This a very (very) old post that has been cooking for over 2 years.

There is a reason for this. Firs I tested the car using the standard Michelin energy tires... having driven the Type-r version my immediate impression was: this thing is all over the place! that high roof must really pull the chassis beyond it's limits.
Then, my first recommendation was: change the tires. Go for some proper rubber engineered to grip instead of fuel saving, and then I recommended the Toyo T1-R's I also recommended to increase the 195,60,R15 to a much more sensible 205,55,R15 with reinforced sidewalls to prevent tire wall smash.

The transformation was obvious... having decent road holding from the tires, the chassis actually comes to live and presents all it's magnificent design. Sure it was a bit too high but the stiffness on the tires and the grip was enough to force the chassis into full dynamics (not sure however of it's behavior if you have a transition from good tarmac into a less holding surface).

This was good news but I was out of time and so I had to leave the test... unfinished.

This last 2 months however presented themselves with an opportunity to clock some 10.000Kms on the same car. It was time to to through every type of pavement, road, condition... and check the car properly.

What a surprise. Not a good or a bad surprise but rather a mix.
Chassis wise the car is brilliant... one of the best FWD chassis, period! Grippy and very composed, the lift-off over-steer is controlled with ease and allows for some spectacular drifts...not just for show! Once you've mastered the dynamics of the car, you can keep a very fast pace on any b road. Sure you will kill the front tires fast like any FWD car, but the experience will be involving and with slim to none under-steer.
Turn in is precise and very willingly (surprisingly instantaneous).

Torque-steer however is bad news. I can clearly understand why Honda, having opted for a lower quality, inferior and ultimately cheaper rear suspension design for the new versions of the civic, decided into an improved front suspension design as it was would render anything beyond 150bhp and 200nm/torque problematic. Especially with the worse rear design, the front end would really need to be a charm.

Allow the car to slide a bit further than 20 degrees and you'll feel that the torque for the front wheels will work against you while you steer back when the car starts recovering... unpleasant and eventually dangerous in extreme circumstances. How to sort this out in your own car? kill the rubber bushings and fit some good, hard, polyurethane ones...also buy a bump-steer kit from that you are at it, fit a set of coilovers.
That is the single most weird thing about the car. And having a heavy (really heavy) diesel engine, this is more perceptible.

The Diesel engine... not bad for a 1.7 common rail with an old design. The Isuzu unit is robust and bullet proof, but is is very heavy and since it is a diesel, response is something unheard of. So that is the ONE THING that spoils the package. Had this been a RWD it would kill the chassis competence completely (much like the BMW 1 series).

Appart form that it will cruise at 120km/h at 5lts/km (no AC)... and will average 6.2lt/Km in the 10.000km I've tested with mixed city and highway , with AC (with some highway stretches going beyond the 200km/h apparent limit).

The weight of the engine is very perceptible on speed-bumps. The front of the car easily digs into the ground while coping to deal with the front end weight and still remain "decent" in comfort settings.

It is comfortable enough for long trips (over 700km in a row)...clearly not as comfortable as my V70 T5 volvo, but if you compare chassis efficiency and joy vs ride comfort, this will eclipse the volvo anyway... it will eclipse most cars actually.

So this is a good car. Pitty the engine is diesel, so a 1.8i would be better... a lot better... pitty it is so high, to the sports version is the one to go for... and of course, if you manage to source the type-r 2.0 than there is no looking back,

Comparing it with the recent chassis, the EP3 is the last great Civic to have. So unless you are 70 years old and only drive on motorways, ignore ANY civic beyond the Type-R EP3... and that includes the new "shemale" turbo type-r.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Test Drive - Mini 1.6d

Engine.... engine... this chassis asks for engineeee

The mini is a brilliant little car. It always had been and when BMW took over the new version project it managed to input all the good "drivers car" knowledge they've always had.

It is FWD (not particularly good) but truth be spoken it is a brilliant FWD.
The chassis is very composed and the rear is as live on lift-off as the front is eager to bite into corners... and being so small this means one thing: agility.

This car allows you a very high pace thought a B-road jumping from bend to bend without any sort of inertia issues. It feels a lot lighter than it actually is, but that is good.

Just like it's RWD brother the 1series BMW, this car ask... begs... for a proper engine. And unfortunately just like the BMW's I've tested, it was Diesel.

Don't get me wrong, the car is very lively during acceleration and great for motorway cruising... but when you really need response and rev range, the diesel engine doesn't allow you to properly enjoy the chassis.

My opinion?
Buy the cooper works... the old one... with the compressor. I know the turbo performs better and is less of a pain to keep healthy... but if you want to enjoy the chassis, you need response and the turbos... well the turbos will always have response issues. :)

Did the treatment pills work? Is the Auto industry back on the sanity ground?

As you probably know, my view on today's automotive industry is pretty dark.

I'm a purist and as such, Honda going hybrid and 2wd turbo is wrong, toyota going hybrid is wrong... every manufacturer going 2wd turbo is wrong... everything is wrong out there expect maybe for some enlightened souls that mostly work for lotus... and a couple other manufacturers.

The problem? First came the politicians with their stupid taxes, forcing smaller and smaller engines to be produced... then came their policemen with orders to "invoice" and the speed limit made us run highways at parking lot speeds...then came Al-Gore and his army of zombie tree-hugers that killed some of the most brilliant engines ever made...and finally came the economists and mediocre managers that turned the engineering passion into a blind pursue of profit with total disregard for design quality.

These last years, we saw Toyota kill the Supra, Mazda kill the RX7, Honda kill the NSX...and the S2000... and the Civic Type-r...and the integra Type-r, BMW killed the glorious NA in-line six of the M3, Saab... well no more Saab and I could continue with the kill list on to the trash produced list starting with all and any hybrid with a battery bigger than a standard car battery.

In truth, we have gone back years in engineering terms. I find my self worried, because I'm now buying cars from no later than 2006... and eventually as the years go by and I need to replace them, I might find my self out of options.

Well It seems from this last week that there might be a salvation in the industry after all.
Behind all that madness and stupidity that produces hybrid crap and cars that are as dull as the advertising stating it pollutes less than your farts, some engineers might actually have survived.

So out of those manufacturers that where extremely hill, Honda make the top of the list. With extra needed care as the "return" they attempted was a copy of the recipe from Renault and VW... stating that such a level of desperation could mean "terminal case".... but I guess that some miracle drug treatment worked and a couple of engineers actually survived. They went to the surviving BIKE department, grabbed a proper NA stratospheric revving engine and put it into a car, then the materials and minimalist design, then the disk brakes and controls... and the result, is a brilliant drivers car.

The Honda 2&4 project is an extreme vision of the same genesis I had with my S2000rr concept...and I love it.

Finally, after years stating that Honda was dead to me, I can say that there is a sign of recovery. There might be resurrection after all.

The other manufacturer is a less complicated case. I mean they did got the Turbo on FWD disease (they got that big) but at least they know what is the proper usage for a cars battery.

FORD was BIG. They has the RS Cosworth... they had 2, the Sierra and the Escort... and for the enthusiast that doesn't want to go sideways, they had the FWD, non turbo XR3i... and they had the brilliant fiestas. Then some designer smoked really bad weed and they entered the "new edge design"! Horrible cars to say the least, but at least the chassis design team where working as good as ever and the ugly cars performed brilliantly... and enginewise... well they turned to Yamaha for those... I mean no argues there.

But then the Escort was gone and the Focus needed to show that it was a true successor (not an easy task).
We waited and Ford unveiled the Focus ST... is this the new Cosworth? let me see... no! it FWD YUCK!
Then came the news that the REAL beast was underway and that the RS would have the T5 volvo engine... this was promissing... and when it came out it was... FWD!?!?!? TURBO?!?!?! Why oh why would FORD put a beast of an 5 cylinder TURBO engine on a FWD car??? And as expected the differential Quaife put there and try to solve the impossible,  generated very violent torque steer. Not just bad... stupid!

And Fords performance car became the much better handling and less power through the front wheels Fiesta!

Then FORD knew about the rehabilitation clinic HONDA had just entered and tried some of the same medicine... and voila!
The all new Ford FOCUS RS 2016 is a 2.3 turbo, BUT it is, as every turbo should, AWD!
Not just that, they beefed it up with active diffs and the computer that controls them has a "drift" mode :) and just to put the cherry on top of the cake, do you know who they used to tune the "Drift mode"?
Ken Block! I mean the guy doesn't drive competitively in rally, but give him a junkyard, unlimited set of tires and replacement cars and time, and he will manage to drive sideways the entire time, even indoors... between pillars... and container towers.... and inside airplanes...under a jumping bike...while in the air...and talking to James May!

Ken Block may not be king of rally but he sure is king of gymkhana ... and having set the RS drift mode, fun is assured :)

Well done Ford... and welcome please continue to take the medication before you create a 500bhp 2.0 triturbo FWD Ka, ok? ok.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Test Drive - Audi A4 Avant 2.0TDI 170bhp B8 chassis

I'm just reviewing the engine on this unit as the remaining features are exactly like the 140bhp review.

The engine: Not so bad. Unlike the dull, lifeless 140 common rail, this feels a lot beefier.
It is still round enough and able to sustain power for a good usable 2500rpm.
It has a duality of character to it... don't push beyond 2500rpm and it will consume very little fuel to maintain speed... step on it, on the other hand and you will start wondering if this is diesel or gasoline... not because of the power but rather the consumption.
Not brilliant (it's a diesel... not much to expect from it) but it is very decent.

It is fair and for motorway cursing it is economic...if in doubt between the 140 or the 170... go for the 170... no question about the 2,0TSFI, revo-it and you are better off.. but if you really are looking for a chassis that corners with you, instead of against you...(and don't mind the ugly looks and bad plastics...did I say ugly?) buy the megane and save a tone of money.

Test Drive - Audi A4 Avant 2.0TDI 140bhp B8 chassis

With over 140.000 km on the clock, I must say that it's a brilliantly built machine. No noises, no major issues apart from the standard maintenance program... much like the gas version and this is no surprise because though it vibrates more than the gas unit, the engine is actually well balanced.

And so the test begins.

The engine: A bad surprise... this was the engine that replaced the PD130 and PD150... this is 16valves (don't really understand why 16v on an oil burner) against the 8v.. it is claimet to have 142 bhp... but it actually feels less!
I must say, in it's justice that if is as round as the PD150 was, and not a brute hulk like the PD130... but the common rail, 16valves crap really killed the engine.
It feel s as if the turbo is not working properly. Low down torque, however is very good... so, at traffic, all you need to do is lift off you clutch a bit and it will get you going.
One good surprise was fuel economy... if you don't push-it beyond 2500rpm it will run with excellent mileage.

The Gearbox: I must say this gearbox is very good.
Perfectly matched to the engine, perfect command weight, the engagement takes the propper force to happen and it feeds back exactly the info you need without letting you feel you are touching metal. Very refined touche but clearly the win is the engine match...
In this car it is a must as if you try to heel-toe, it will miss-understand you and emergency mode the engine... stupid i know.. but seem to plague the ESP units on all the VAGs.
So this gear box is a joy.

The Chassis:  This is almost copy paste on the A4 2.0 TSFI's an Audi... it is very composed and with good grip levels (particularly after fitting bigger rims and tires). The grips is good enough to make you think it's lighter that it actually is, but it is not as involving as...say... the megane3 break chassis.
The one problem with this car... as any other AUDI is the let-go... UNDER-steer. It's like this by design as the every day banker that buys them really doesn't know how to drive and in an extreme situation, will get scared and break... so all AUDI's except the R8 are tuned to under-steer on the limit.
This however is the exact opposite behavior you really want on a curve as what you need is the chassis to help resolve the curve by biting in with the front axle and letting go the rear to roll the car into the corner.
Again, much like the twin 2.0TSFI test:
This could obviously be solved with a handbreak strike but no... noooo! the hand break on this is electrical.... how stupid of you audi.. this was the one thing that could solve the chassis stupid fine-tuning and you manage to eliminate it!.

It is fair and for motorway cursing it is economic...
Buy the 2,0TSFI, revo-it and you are better off.. but if you really are looking for a chassis that corners with you, instead of against you...(and don't mind the ugly looks and bad plastics) buy the megane and save a tone of money.

This car was now fitted with a set of 18" rims running Bridgestone RE050a tires.
What a transformation. This simple setup made the car's turn into the corners a LOT sharper. The grip levels increased and the on-the limits under-steer that annoys me so is now let evident and more composed on the let-go and recovery from it.
A MUST. This chassis was clearly designed for big rims, low profile, wide tires and with high grip level.

Test Drive - Audi A4 Avant 2.0TSFI s-tronic B8 chassis (on a REVO Stage 1 remap)

I've now covered around 5000km on the A4 Avant 2.0TSFI s-tronic.
With over 130.000 km on the clock, I must say that it's a brilliantly built machine. No noises, no major issues apart from the standard maintenance program.

This unit is a very curious one... you see, the major problem with the world is the politicians... well if you think of it, it is actually people that elect them, but still, they create stupid laws to steal money from you. One of those laws exists in some countries where you pay a tax for the BHP you car has! Some other countries make you pay for the displacement your engine has... and some a bit more evolved make you pay for the impact on the environment... but then do not use the money from the tax to counter that impact... utterly ridiculous.
Spain in one on those countries that think that BHP is bad for the environment... so if you have an good old oil-burner 2.0 that paints your city black with smoke but only has 60bhp, you are a good civilized citizen!
Still the fact that politicians are stupid doesn't mean that the people at AUDI are...thank goodness.
So they build the 2.0TSFI engine for they do for every other country... and then when legalizing in Spain, they just detune the ECU to 180BHP and happy day you can buy your car cheaper.

So why oh why was this soo cool? Well the owner of the car felt the drive-train was better than the engine, and as such he chose to buy a REVO stage1 remap.
Now this remap gives the standard 210bhp an healthy 40bhp plus... but since the REVO code doesn't recognize the Spanish law, it thinks the ECU is actually the standard 210Bhp ECU on a different version... and it is absolutely right...and so re writes everything, unlocking the 40Bhp promissed + the constrained 30Bhp... what a blast. A 2.0 4 pot that unleashes 70bhp from a stage one, off the shelve remap.

And so the test begins.

The engine: No surprises here... it is quick! it revs happy, the factory turbo is more that up to the job and the new found power makes the standard wheels and tires scream at every standing still pull... new rims and rubber underway, no worries.
It was a perfectly decent engine... sure not an efficiency benchmark but a very decent and  livable engine. Now it is much more responsive, the surge of power is more round and sustained showing the FWD limitations essentially on the standing still pulls... don't get me wrong.. .it is FWD and turbo, so if you floor-it mid corner you will have under-steer (or ESP kick-in)...but the new found linear response of the engine, allows you to pull gently out of the corner IF you dose the throttle.

The Gearbox: wow ... I hate automatic gearboxes... I find he torque-converter something as stupid as hybrid cars are... I mean it's an element that enables you to convert torque from the engine to the weeels by passing oil though a closed doughnut with some fan-blades.... clever as it is, the fact is that the fluid is not a solid mechanical link as as such drains torque.
The S-tronic on the other hand is the evolution of the well known DSG. If fact you have 2 different sets of gears, the pair ones and the impair ones... each set on it's own shaft. The S-tronic has them both in sync and ready to engage as you decide to shift and then operates 2 different sets of, multi-disk clutch... one engages the pair gears and one for the impair shaft.
The result? a truly quick, no fuss, mechanical link shift. There is more... the S-tronic has 7 forward gears for you to use.
The manual control (in sports mode) is quick and obviously computer monitored so you don't over-rev nor under-rev the engine. Coupled with this engine it makes the car seem a lot lighter that it actually is.
So I really don't like automatic transmissions, but I do consider this do be a piece of engineering.... especially after opening one and seeing how it is made.

The Chassis: It's an Audi... it is very composed and with good grip levels (particularly after fitting bigger rims and tires). The grips is good enough to make you think it's lighter that it actually is, but it is not as involving as...say... the megane3 break chassis.
The one problem with this car... as any other AUDI is the let-go... UNDER-steer. It's like this by design as the every day banker that buys them really doesn't know how to drive and in an extreme situation, will get scared and break... so all AUDI's except the R8 are tuned to under-steer on the limit.
This however is the exact opposite behavior you really want on a curve as what you need is the chassis to help resolve the curve by biting in with the front axle and letting go the rear to roll the car into the corner.
This could obviously be solved with a handbreak strike but no... noooo! the hand break on this is electrical.... how stupid of you audi.. this was the one thing that could solve the chassis stupid fine-tuning and you manage to eliminate it!.

It is good... it is built for the highway and if you revo-it it will be a lot nicer... but if you really are looking for a chassis that corners with you, instead of against you...(and don't mind the ugly looks and bad plastics) buy the megane and save a tone of money.... oh now wait.. no decent petrol meganes except for the RS. Better think about a Skoda RS then :)


The relationship between torque and power is poorly understood by the majority of people.
I gather this as people usually say "I've got the 130bhp TDI" ... or the "I've got a 700nm turbo gasoline engine".

So lets start with the Fuel as this actually separates everything- Gas vs Diesel :
So; the way fuel burns is very important for you to understand the engine you have. 
Gas engines input air and gas (the so called mixture) into the cylinder, and then compress it all (normally at a 11 to 1 ratio) to a point when the mixture is ready to blow... a small spark triggers this.
The point here is that the mix is ready to blow while it is getting compression and this adds to the "explosive effect". The more RON (or octanes) the fuel has, the better it will resist compression and not detonate. When the fuel detonates prematurely you get the auto-detonation effect that can hurt the engine... it also produces a high pitch PING on the engine as ALL the mechanical parts involved into the compression are pressed against each other and actually squirt the oil between them dry.
So this mix is being compressed and ready to explode... and the higher it resists the more voilent the explosion when it happens... and that is why high compression and high octane fuels will produce more power, quicker and with much more heat.

HOWEVER... there is a limited amount of time an explosion can happen, this will vary with the violence but in the end, as the engine accelerates, the explosion will have less and less time to occur. 
So a Gas engine will have a variable "timing" advance on the spark... this basically means that, the faster the engine needs to spin, the faster the timing advance will be. 
The other part of this equation is the AFR... the Air-Fuel-Ratio will regulate the amount of air to the amount of Fuel in the mix.
So Mix 101 - a Perfect mix is called stoichiometric mix.  It is composed of 15 grams of air to 1 gram of fuel. This is called the perfect mix as it will take 4 to 5 milliseconds to burn. So a normal engine running at 6000 rpm, would have a full rotation in 10 milliseconds, meaning a full piston stroke at 5 milliseconds, in turn, meaning that the mix would explode fast enough. However due to the extreme heat generated by this type of burn and the simple fact that not every one runs pure race fuel, it is rarely used. 
Normal fuels produce a stoichiometric mix at 14.1:1 because of all the crap... sorry... "additives" in it... a pure octane fuel would run at 14.7:1 pushing it to the near ideal formula.
The mix in a normal gas engine ranges from 12-13.5:1 depending on the fuel and the ability of the ECU to decide. This is called a rich mixture and will generate MORE power... it will however take a bit more time to burn and do timing advance is needed.
The ECU will vary this, obviously, and the consequence is as much as 35degrees advance BTDC (before top dead center...or before the piston reaches the top of it's movement and stops before turning back).
There is also something in the timing equation called inertia... sometimes the engine doesn't advance as much as it would require because the excessive pressure while it compresses the exploding gas, could turn the engine to a backspin... The rotation of all the engine parts produce a positive spin inertia that helps countering this effect, but the less speed it has, the less inertia it has. That is why it is so dangerous to advance the ignition at low revs, especially and a high efficiency engine (or a cross plane crank one).

So... it should be clear by now that the explosion of the gas-air mix is violent and quick... but it happens once. That is one of the reasons for the gas engine to have low torque and high rpms.

Now the diesel engine ... or so called " the fuel of the devil" to a true motorhead:
The diesel engine works a lot like the gas engine... pistons, valves, motion... and that's about it! 
The Deisel engine does not input a MIX of air + diesel! It intakes JUST the fuel. 
So as a consequence, the diesel engine can compress way beyond 11:1... it typically compresses around 18 to 20:1.... it's just air so it will not explode on it's own. 
The explosion comes from the injection of fuel direct into the piston head... creating a controlled, phased detonation that is kept while the fuel is being injected into the piston. 
That is why the diesel pistons have that half-donut like groove, with the cone like "spreader"... so that the injected fuel explosion is redirected and spread across the entire chamber. 

This means that while on a Gas engine the explosion is one, once and violent... on a diesel, the explosion keeps happening ALL THE WAY down the piston course, and since the diesel is basically just oil, the explosion is much less violent...and in consequence slow as hell. 

Facts time about the fuel type on your engine:
The Gas engine has a single, violent and fast explosion... making the engine generate less torque, but also making the engine able to generate a lot more RPM.
The Diesel engine has several slow, lower energy explosions all the way down the piston course...generating loads of torque but not being able to do that quickly enough to generate high RPMs.

The first conclusions?
If you are buying a diesel car, that you really do not care about the bhp, but rather the torque curve on your engine.

If you are buying a gas engine car, that the torque you want is the torque to handle the loads you are going to press the car against... it's weight and losses due to transmission. Because what you really want it that torque to be able to be translated into BHP by means of rpms... so yeah you want some torque... but not too much, as that will generate wheel spin...but you really want high rpm with high bhp at high rpm. 

If you are pulling a caravan, do not use the gas just doesn't have the torque without having to become MASSIVE in size.
If you are racing a car, do not use the diesel was not built for generating power on high rpms... and you don't race at 2000rpms!

Now for the second part... engine design, torque and the so very important LPS... and a touch of valve fluctuation.
Lots of people do not understand the redline on their engine, why it exists and why does the 2.0 version of the car rev 1000rpm more than the 2.2 version of the same engine on the same car.

Engines basically turn linear motion into rotative motion. They do so by connecting a linear working part (the piston) to rotating part (the crank shaft), with a rod. 
Having this clear let's go back to the physics class most weren't paying attention to: moment=f x rod
IF you try to open a door, grabbing the door 2cm from it's pivot point, and then do the exact same thing but using the handle (a good 80cm from the pivot point), you will notice that you have to effort a LOT less by moving the force away from the pivot point. 

Now apply this principle to the rotation of the engine assembly you see above: IF the point of the connecting rod on the crankshaft, moves away from the pivot point (the center of the crankshaft and flywheel), then the effort needed to turn it is far less. 
Since the rod pulls and pushes the piston, the bigger the distance, the bigger the rod and as a consequence the longer the travel the piston will turn.

So by now it should be clear that a piston that travels a longer run, will be able to produce a better moment, or a better rotation force... and that is torque? yup... it's the rotation force.

Now enters another part of the physics on an engine and that is the effects of acceleration and deceleration on materials... the so very important INERTIA. 
Inertia is a lady you all should learn to respect as it ultimately can kill you in many more ways that it will give you pleasure.
Now inertia says that, putting something in motion requires more energy than just maintaining that motion.... just the same as countering that motion requires a lot more energy than maintaining that motion. And the heavier the thing is... the worse. 
So picture you have a bank safe on a skateboard. Making the safe move will consume a lot of energy, but once it is moving it is easier to pull... then something gets in your way and you need to stop the safe from moving... now that is something to experience as you will have to press really hard agains the movement of the safe to stop it. 
You see, a piston, ultimately is metal, that ultimately is a bunch of molecules of several metals and carbon mixed together. Making metal move, will generate stress on the molecules as they are "glued" together.... so if the piston has an anchorage point (where the connecting rod links to it), the remaining parts of it will only be linked to that point by the molecular bond on the metal. 
If the piston moves up and down very fast, every time it stops and turns back, the majority of it's metal will try to continue the movement it already has and this generates stress. 
Generate too much stress and you will crack it... continue and you will disintegrate the piston:
So there is only so much a piston can handle in terms of pressure.

You also need to understand that the pressure of the piston against the cylinder walls, generate drag that will then generate heat! The faster the travel the more heat is generated... too much heat and:
... it melts!

So a pre-summary:
The more a piston travels, the more toque it generates.
The faster a piston travels, the more chance it has of melting.
The more it changes direction at speed, the more change it can crack.

The engine design part:
There are 3 types of design on the engine... 
The SQUARE engine -  when the diameter of the cylinder is equal to the length the piston runs inside the cylinder.
The OVER-SQUARE engine - when the diameter of the cylinder is bigger than the length the piston runs inside the cylinder.
The UNDER-SQUARE engine - when the diameter of the cylinder is smaller than the length the piston runs inside the cylinder.

Now comes in the LPS the Linear Piston Speed -> this is a means to measure the speed that the piston travels distance inside the cylinder. This keeps changing from 0 to well over 30meters/second back to 0 ans the piston accelerates and decelerates back. 
Since this varies too much, a MPS equation is set... MPS is the Mean Piston Speed. it is calculated as, MPS = 2 x stroke length(in meters) x rps(rotations per second.... or RPM/60).
An normal engine will run a maxmimum 22m/s MPS.
An high spec street engine will run 25m/s and be able to withstand 28m/s for seconds before starting to have structural damage at metal grain level.... A.K.A starting to micro-fissure.
An racing engine will run 28m/s to 29m/s and peak at over 32m/s (but will show fissures at the end of the race)
An very light racing engine will run 35m/s...but will have catastrophic failure within hours (if not minutes) 

Since an OverSquare engine makes it's volumetric capacity by having large bores on the cylinders, but very little distance to stroke, it's pistons run less distance per rpm... allowing you to pull the RPM limit further (assuming the fuel allows you to). 
On the other hand, an UnderSquare engine makes it's volumetric capacity by having a long stroke. This forces the piston to run longer distances in shorter time per rpm... so if you push-it... it will crack and/or melt the skirts.

So having ALL this into account, you have to choose one out of 2 things:
either you have a OverSquare engine that produces lots of RPMs while still within the safe 25m/s range...ooooor you have a UnderSquare engine that will produce better torque but will reach the 25m/s MPS limits at a lot lower rpms.

This is why the Honda F20C engine redlines at 9000rpm, and the Honda F22C engine (equal in everything except a longer stroke that gives him an extra 200 cc) will redline at 8000rpm.

Now is time for another pre-summary:
IF your engine redlines as 5000rpm, do not pull it beyond that mark for over 2 or 3 seconds... you will be generating micro-fissures in the pistons and over wear the pistons skirts... in time, those will become full blown cracks and will lead to catastrophic failure.

If you engine produces less torque and you want to increase it, the healthier way is by stroking the engine, BUT if you do so, then LOWER the RPM limit.

If you are boring the engine to have more displacement, then DO NOT increase the RPM limit... you can only do that if you reduce the stroke!

And the very important: if you lower the engine stroke to be able to have more RPM's, then you also need to reinforce the valve springs and eventually get lighter valves. The Valve fluctuation phenomenon will happen if they are forced to work at higher RPM's that they where engineered for... with will eventually lead to a piston touching the valve and kaboom... it can bend the valve or/and crask the piston. 

A lot of people say that HP doesn't exist... but they are wrong. It does... what it is, is a byproduct of torque at engine speed. 

The formula is : HorsePower = (rpm x torque)/5252

So the HorsePower, being that the 5252 is constant can be said to be the torque at speed of the engine.
And this is where the idiots that like to say that "a torque wrench has more torque than a honda engine" will have to eat their lack of knowledge for lunch.
The way an engine produces torque is limited in the way it is designed and the fuel being used. 

A long stroke 1.9 diesel engine will produce torque as low as 1000rpm, peak at 1800rpm with 310nm not sustain it and slowly decrease and then die at 2500rpm..allowing to push to 3000rpm with some HP.  This means 2000 usable RPM. 
A long stroke 2.0 turbo gasoline engine may generate a decent toque figure at 2500rpm, peak at 3500 rpm sustain for 500rpm with 360nm, and decrease with decent figures till 5500rpm and then redline at 6000rpm. This means 3500 usable RPM
A shortstroke 2.0 non turbo engine will generate lower torque levels but a decent level at 3000rpm, then peak at 6000rpm with 202nm, sustain the torque till 8000rpm and decline to the 9000rpm redline. This means 6000RPM of usable engine.

There is also a catch here! The diesel engine produces 130 HP, the 2.0 turbo gas engine 265 hp and the 2.0 N.A. engine 240hp. 
However, the longer stroke on the turbo, gas engine, means that the MIX explosion time will not happen in a perfect manner... a lot of the explosion force gets pushed into the cylinder walls instead of directly into the piston, at the most "vulnerable" time in the gas expansion... and this gets worse as the piston goes down and the explosion is already past the peak. 
That long stroke does have a better effect on the sustained diesel engine explosion than it has on an one time explosion of the gas engine... and that is why the torque figures drop faster in a longer stroke engine than a short stroke one.

Is there a lesson to learn from? yup! torque should be matched to the weight the car needs to pull and the mechanical loss involved in pulling it (gearbox and traction system)... then the torque curve needs to be set in order to have the maximum possible engine for the longest possible time.. and since while racing, you lose time every time you shift, there is a considerable advantage to have more rpms...

And this is why the following video shows 2 cars of equal engine HP but different weight and torque figures... they both have 250BHP, the TURBO car has 9% plus weight to a 45% plus torque figure... but a very crucial 3000rpm LESS than the N.A.

So is the Honda better? Engine wise... yup!
chassis and usability is another thing... that brings even more variables into the mix. They are both front wheel drive cars, DURING a corner, the N.A. engine will generate less torque and this means that it will be able to step on the gas heavier and earlier without upsetting the traction as much as the excessively high torque figures the megane has would allow... this of course is without taking into consideration the torque biasing diff on the megane that would even this by cutting the engine power and actually sending more torque to the wheel with the better grip.
So purelly mechanically speaking the excessive torque would be a problem in the megane... out of the corner, the megane would pull with better acceleration on the same gear while the honda driver would have to be either pulling the same gear and using the 3000rpm on VTEC, or shifting down to keep it within VTEC range... so this would depend on the track... if the track would have climbs out of corners, thought, the megane would clearly be in it's kingdom (and this partially explains the ring time it has for marketing).

The Summary:
Torque is a way or expressing the engine capacity to pull weight. It can be generated in the form of sheer weight (like a truck that needs to have a diesel engine) or multiplication through gears, as the standard everyday diesel car has.
Given the right conditions, you want your engine to have more RPM and high power at high RPM than a high figure torque at low RPM... This becomes more evident at speed in a high gear, as an engine built for low end torque is out of it's element as the air being pushed in front of the car gets more difficult to cut through. That is when you need the torque that was really big in the beginning but is now long gone...and then you need to shift, because you are out of engine!

This is why the best tarmac motorsports cars use very high revving engines like F1 18000 rpm (some used to have 20000rpm, DTM 9000rpm (some with 12000rpm), BTCC 8500rpm and so on. the usability on those engines is much better that with more torque and less rpm.

Rally, with their heavy 4wd systems and very difficult terrains, on the other hand, are all limited to 6000rpm and a peak of 300bhp to 340bhp at 5000rpm. This is where you really need toque as the 4wd car passing a muddy up-hill will height twice as much... at least.