Horsepower Versus Torque: Understanding Key Engine Performance Terms

What Matters More for Acceleration & Speed: Best Explained about Horsepower and Torque

If you’re looking to buy a new car, chances are good that you want to know how much horsepower it has, and how much torque it produces. If you’re looking at the latest hot rod, the same things apply. We throw those numbers around a lot, but many people get them confused. What’s the difference between horsepower and torque? Is one more important than the other? How do they actually impact vehicle performance? We’ll answer those questions and more below.

Torque in cars

What Is Torque?

Torque is nothing more than a rating of force as applied from a distance and rated in pound-feet (or lb.-ft.). For instance, the force applied by a piston to a crankshaft in order to make the shaft turn.

What Is Horsepower?

Horsepower, usually abbreviated as HP, is actually a measure of torque multiplied by the engine’s revolutions per minute, or RPM.

Car accelerating

What Do Those Things Mean?

Left on their own, the definitions of horsepower and torque provided above really don’t offer much in the way of information. However, we can put them into more easily understood contexts.


    Horsepower is easiest to understand in terms of speed and acceleration. The more horsepower an engine has, the faster it can go, and the quicker it can reach top speed. In other words, it is a measure of the amount of work the engine can do over a specific period of time, such as getting the car up to speed within a quarter-mile.


    Torque is nothing more than the ability to do work. The more torque an engine and transmission produce, the more work it can do. Note that this does not necessarily equate to speed – it’s about power, instead. For instance, a vehicle with high torque is going to be better at towing heavy loads than one with high horsepower but lower torque.

    Cars With More Torque Than Horsepower

    Which Matters Most?

    Really, neither torque nor horsepower is more important in all situations. It all depends on what you want. Looking for something that will let you tackle the track on the weekend? If you’re going for a traditional race, you need power off the start (torque), but also the ability to get up to a high rate of speed (horsepower). However, if you’re going to take your boat up to the lake for some quality family time on the water, horsepower is going to matter a lot less than the torque of your vehicle.

      Engine power of Car

      You get more pulling power from an engine that creates greater torque at lower RPM than you do from one that hits peak performance at a high RPM. Yes, horsepower and torque increase as speed increases, but that is not the best solution for all situations. Again, look at towing – trying to pull a trailer with a car that puts out 148 pound-feet of torque at 4,600 RPM isn’t going to work out all that well.


      In the both horsepower and torque are important, but they refer to very different things and neither trumps the other in all situations.

        What Is the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO)?

        GCC Standardization Organization

        Headquartered in Riyadh, the GCC Standardization Organization, or GSO, is a regional standardization organization tasked with the mission of assisting member states to set standards and safety levels in relation to a wide range of initiatives, including water, fire protection, halal foods, cigars, cigarettes, and food safety. It also touches on hazards and risks in relation to electronics, lubricants, chemical substances, and more. Ultimately, it is intended for the GSO to operate in a similar manner to the ISO or ANSI.

        standards and safety levels

        Who Are the Members of the GSO?

        The GSO is made up of a number of nations in the Middle East, including the following:

        • The United Arab Emirates
        • Kingdom of Bahrain
        • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
        • Sultanate of Oman
        • State of Qatar
        • State of Kuwait
        • Republic of Yemen

        What is GSO Certification?

        Certification through the GSO signifies that a company meets the organization’s standards as apply to that company’s field of endeavor. For instance, engine oil with GSO certification would meet the organization’s standards for safety, performance, and other factors. Another example is the conformity certificate now mandated for all motorcycles, motorcycles, and tires within member nations.

        One of the more important standards issued by the GSO is 1785:2013, which applies to all lubricating oils for internal combustion engines. This applies to oils for both gasoline-powered engines, as well as diesel engines, although marine applications are exempted.

        Performance based on API Classification

          This GCC Standardization Organization standard is closely tied to other global standardization efforts, and follows the SAE classifications used in most other nations. Lubricating oils are also classified by performance based on their specific API classification. Note that this standard is regularly updated. For instance, in 2017, the GSO removed API CG-4, CF-4, and CF from the list of approved lubricating oils that could be sold within member nations.

          The Authentication Procedure

          In order to earn GSO certification, companies must go through the authentication process. In this process, companies must first register with the GSO. This can be done electronically via the GCC Standardization Organization’s website. The registration and registration fee must be received, and then the company can submit an application. Note that applications cannot be submitted before the company’s details have been entered into the system, as it will require a username and password.

          GSO Certificate Authentication

          Next, the company will need to submit a formal request for GSO conformity certificate authentication. This must be done using the company’s header within a specific format as stipulated by the GSO. Full details of the product(s) being registered must be provided. For instance, automotive manufacturers must indicate the make and model, as well as the tire size and type. This information must be accompanied by the name, title, and signature of an authorized company representative, and accompanied by the company seal.

          Evaluation Process

          Evaluation process

          The evaluation process is the next step. During this period, engineers will evaluate the product in question and give a final approval or disapproval. The applicant will be notified of the decision via a message to the company’s registered email address. Verification is required after the final upload of the signed and sealed document.


          Ultimately, the GCC Standardization Organization is a safety-related organization designed to help ensure that goods imported into or manufactured within the member nations comply with safety standards and do not pose undue risks or hazards to users or consumers.