Figuring out how much power your car makes can be tricky. The auto manufacturers rate horsepower and torque at the engine. Most people only have access to a chassis dyno and comparing numbers can be very confusing. Some dynos read low, others high, some have weather correction programs and some cars’ drivetrains just soak up more power than others before it hits the drive wheels. So what are you to do?
The answer is simple. Don’t worry about dyno numbers and just go race your car at the track. Dynos are really just tools that help in tuning an engine and measuring power gains from modifications done to the car. They can also be a ton of fun, so I took my slightly modified 2003 E55 AMG to a place called Performance Solutions in Shaumburg Illinois, where they had a really cool all-wheel dyno.
If you follow my YouTube channel LegitStreetCars, then you know my car is in the middle of a performance build. It’s mostly all bolt on type parts, but with a factory supercharged engine, bolt ons can go really far. The car already came with mid length Headers and a Eurocharged tune, so I continued where the previous owner left off by adding some much needed cooling modifications. The car has a factory water-to-air intercooler, so I added a bigger water reservoir, a bigger electronic water pump and larger Heat Exchanger. All of these mods lower the intake air temperature and thus create an environment for the engine to produce more power.
I made three runs on an 80 degree day and the results were very impressive. The car comes with 469 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque from the factory. In my experience, that translates to about 420 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque to the wheels on this type of dyno. My three runs basically resulted in the same exact power. The car made 460 horsepower and 490 lb-ft of torque to the wheels, every time. It was the most consistent car I’ve ever seen with each run literally being within 1-2 horsepower of the next.
Next up for the E55 is a trip to the drag strip to see what kind of quarter mile times this 4,300 pound luxury car can produce. I’ll also be experimenting with adding ice to the water tank and also running a different transmission and eco tune. I will be able to switch back and forth with the trans tune so it will be fun to see how much quicker the car will run with better shifting.
I have a ton more parts to put on this car so when I’m done with the next phase, it will go back on the same dyno to get a clear comparison. Then, of course, it will hit the drag strip again and hopefully not blow up.