Glossary – Cars

While electric cars are increasingly defining “best”, many of the great car brands still use combustion engine technology such as intercoolers, superchargers, and turbo chargers. In the future, this glossary will be updated to include terms associated with the exciting category of electric cars.

Double clutch transmission (DCT)

A double clutch transmission (DCT) is two separate transmissions, with one engaging and the other disengaging concurrently, for example on odd and even gears. The motivation for DCTs is to reduce the time it takes to change gears, where even tens of a second can make a difference in high-performance cars.


An argument has been made that “fast” refers to top speed.


Commonly used on turbocharged and supercharged cars, intercoolers / heat exchanges, cool air to an optimally consistent range, leading to more fuel being burned in the presence of denser air, and better long-term performance. The need for intercoolers arises from units such as turbochargers which rapidly warm air.


An argument has been made that “quick” refers to acceleration.

Sports Sedan

The sports sedan category has historically been exemplified by cars such as the Audi A4 and the BMW 3-Series. Such cars have a different feel and driver experience than luxury sedans. For example, in sport sedans you can expect great handling characteristics and also the steering and throttle response to change as the car goes faster, The overall experience of the car it what makes for the driver experience, with engine characteristics being just one aspect of that experience.

Super Car

The category of Super Car is subjective, encompassing may different aspects of performance, handling and driver experience. Some electric cars have produced stunning 0-60 times, but have also been criticized as new age straight-line muscle cars that due to battery size, lack the handling characteristics of brands long loved by drivers: BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, etc. No doubt this debate will heat up again when Tesla releases the next update to the Roadster.

Super Charger

Often driven from an engine’s crankshaft, a super charger is a mechanically driven approach to forced induction, which leads to increased compressed air and fuel combustion.

Turbo Charger

Turbo chargers create forced induction (compressed air) via an exhaust powered turbine. The theory of turbo charging is that the compressed air can accompany more fuel in the combustion changer than naturally aspirated cars. In a time of increased emissions control, turbo chargers can also be favored by car manufacturers to reduce emissions. One perennial criticism of turbo chargers is lag.