As any comedian knows, it’s all in the delivery. And as every agony aunt will tell you, it’s not what you have but what you do with it. Which is why I wrote to Dear Dier… No. Which is why so many engineers spend tens of thousands of hours developing engines to drive a certain way. A way that drivers don’t just accept but actually like – or, at the very least, don’t notice.
They strive to remove vibration or put in pleasing sounds and responses. At the lowest level they design a counter-rotating balance shaft for a three-cylinder engine so it doesn’t shake so much that people buy a rival car instead.
And at the top end they might consider whether a flat or crossplane crank is preferable. They try to limit turbo lag. You’d scarcely believe the trouble to which they go to do this: ultralow-friction cylinder linings, super-effective turbocharger shapes and materials, even the way a crankshaft is profiled to swish through sump oil, getting sufficient lubrication but causing minimal drag.