What is a Naturally Aspirated Engine? | GetJerry.com (2023)

Naturally aspirated engines are a form of internal combustion engine that use atmospheric pressure to drive the air intake process required for operation.

A naturally aspirated or “naturally breathing” engine is one that relies only on normal atmospheric pressure to take in air. Many recent cars are being built standard with superchargers or turbochargers instead, which trade natural aspiration for forced induction.

While forced induction in these new cars provides better fuel economy, cleaner emissions, and increased horsepower, natural aspiration is more common in sports cars for its easier maintenance, improved reliability, and no turbo lag.

To help you understand what naturally aspirated engines are, how they work, and what benefits they offer over turbocharged engines,


—the expert for

car insurance

savings and

car repair

knowledge—has prepared this guide.


Compare auto insurance policies

No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever

ZIP Code

Find insurance savings (100% Free)

How does a naturally aspirated engine work?

Internal combustion engines—sometimes called “petrol engines” or “cylinder engines”—are the most common engines in the automotive world. They include traditional gasoline-powered systems as well as diesel engines.

They create horsepower through a series of controlled explosions inside the engine.

These engines need a combination of fuel and air to create each explosion. The fuel is provided by fuel injectors, which are connected to the gas tank. The air comes one of two ways: through forced induction or through natural aspiration.

In natural aspiration, air intake occurs similarly to respiration in your lungs. It begins when you start your car and the pistons are drawn downward. This creates a partial vacuum. The surrounding air then rushes in to fill that vacuum—at which point it can be used for combustion.

The combustion then drives the pistons back up, and the cycle repeats. The repetitive motion of the pistons is transferred to the crankshaft via connecting rods. The crankshaft, in turn, transfers the motion to either the front axle, rear axle, or both (if you have all-wheel drive).

The end result is an engine that rumbles, wheels that roll, and a car that takes you where you need to go—all through the magic of the mechanical breathing system known as natural aspiration.

Key Takeaway Naturally aspirated engines take in air by a partial vacuum created when the pistons are drawn downward. It is then used for combustion, and the process repeats as you drive.

(Video) Turbocharged vs Naturally Aspirated Engines - Which is Better?


Does insurance cover engine failures?

Benefits of a naturally aspirated engine

Natural aspiration (abbreviated as NA or N/A) used to be the primary form of internal combustion. Later, various forms of forced induction were developed—originally for their superior horsepower and later for their improved fuel efficiency and reduced exhaust gasses.

Today, more and more cars use turbochargers and superchargers (which use forced induction, not natural aspiration) as the need to limit our automotive emissions becomes more severe.

Still, the old-school naturally aspirated engines have not died out completely—they’re kept alive because they offer a few benefits over forced inductions systems.The benefits of naturally aspirated engines include:

  • NA engines are easier to clean, repair, and maintain

  • It costs less to manufacture NA engines

  • There are fewer parts involved in an NA engine and less strain is put on their various components—making them much more reliable

  • There’s less likelihood of a NA engine overheating

  • Since they do not have turbochargers, NA engines don’t suffer from turbo lag—meaning they have a more direct throttle response and accelerate immediately

  • Due to their decreased strain on engine components, NA engines often have a higher redline, which is the maximum safe RPM range for a car


What to do if your engine is shaking, pulsating, or vibrating

Naturally aspirated vs. turbocharged engines

So, what’s the alternative to natural aspiration? As has been mentioned, the other common form of air intake is called forced induction. It involves any process by which air is forced through the engine at a higher than normal rate.

If natural aspiration is like breathing, then forced induction is like wearing an oxygen mask.

The first forms of forced induction were called superchargers, which usually worked by drawing some of the power generated by the crankshaft and using it to push air through the engine.

Superchargers offered substantial improvements to a car's horsepower, but little (if any) benefits to fuel efficiency—and they weren’t widely used except as aftermarket modifications.

Then along came turbochargers. These inventions use the energy from the engine’s exhaust gases to spin a turbine—partially cleaning the car’s emissions at the same time.

(Video) What is a Naturally Aspirated Engine ? | Informative Engineer |

The turbine then drives more air into the engine—which boosts its horsepower without increasing its fuel consumption, resulting in greater overall fuel economy.

At first, superchargers and turbocharges were mainly used in muscle cars and supercars by drivers looking to boost their power. Now, they have become the dominant form of engine.

However, some automotive manufacturers, like


, still primarily use naturally aspirated engines. NA engines are also very common in race cars, due to league rules for Formula 1, NASCAR, and other racing organizations.

Key Takeaway While many cars now intake air through forced induction, some automotive manufacturers still use naturally aspirated engines.

Car lineups with naturally aspirated engines

Turbochargers may be the more common form of air intake today, but there are still plenty of cars out there with naturally aspirated engines—and not just race cars either.

Plenty of leading manufacturers have whole lineups featuring natural aspirations in everyday-use SUVs, sports cars, and sedans. Here are just a few examples of cars with naturally aspirated engines:

  • The Ferrari812 Superfast, Ferrari 812 GTS, Ferrari 812 Competizione, and Ferrari 812 Competizione A.

  • The

    Ford Transit Connect


    Ford Escape Hybrid


    Ford F-150


    Ford F-250


    Ford F-350

    , and

    Ford Mustang
  • Many of the vehicles manufactured by


    , including the iconic

    Chevrolet Corvette
  • The

    Hyundai Elantra


    Hyundai Accent

    , and

    Hyundai Veloster
  • The

    Kia Sportage


    Kia Sorento

    , and

    Kia Soul
    (Video) Naturally Aspirated Engine
  • The Lamborghini Huracán, Lamborghini Aventador, and

    Audi R8
  • Most Mazda makes

  • The

    Nissan Versa


    Nissan Sentra

    , and

    Nissan Altima
  • The

    Porsche 911

    and Porsche 911GT3 RS

  • The

    Subaru Crosstrek


    Subaru Outback

    , and

    Subaru Forester
  • The

    Volkswagen Atlas
  • The

    Honda Insight


    Honda HR-V

    , and

    Honda Civic

These are only the models with current iterations that offer natural aspiration. Many other model types, such as the Honda Civic Type R, offered natural aspiration in past years—just not in the current lineup.

Keep in mind that many of these models come in various

trim levels and packages

, only some of which are naturally aspirated. But all the vehicles you see listed are at least offered with natural aspiration—and there are plenty more that aren’t included on our list.


How to learn about cars
(Video) Are Naturally Aspirated Engines Better & More Reliable?

Find hassle-free car insurance

Whether you like your engine’s aspiration natural or turbo-assisted, you’ll still need to get it insured. And drivers with turbochargers and those without can at least agree on one thing: searching for reliable yet affordable

car insurance

is a major hassle.

Who wants to spend all that time sifting through quotes, filling out paperwork, and enduring long sales calls?

Luckily, there’s a quick and hassle-free way to get all the benefits of diligent policy comparison without any of the work—just download


, the

trustworthy insurance shopping super app

for car owners!

Jerry saves you time and money by instantly gathering and comparing quotes from dozens of insurance providers. Once Jerry sends you the top results, just tap to choose your favorite. Jerry will handle all the paperwork and red tape involved in getting your coverage switched over to your new provider!

The whole process saves drivers an average of $800+ a year!


has amazing communication! And even better deals! Thanks to Jerry, I went from $327 to $182 on my payments. I’m so grateful!” —Kim T.

Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare and find out in 45 seconds.

ZIP Code

Find Savings!

No long forms. No spam calls. Free Quotes.


App Store Rating, 8,100+ Reviews
Trusted by

1.5+ Million

(Video) What Happened To Naturally Aspirated Cars?


What is a Naturally Aspirated Engine? | GetJerry.com (1)What is a Naturally Aspirated Engine? | GetJerry.com (2)



What does naturally aspirated mean in an engine? ›

First things first, a naturally aspirated engine is an engine with the mechanics of internal combustion. A naturally aspirated engine, unlike the others, draws its power from atmospheric pressure. Naturally aspirated engines are the go-to engine choice for many sports cars, given that they help minimize turbo lag.

What does the term naturally aspirated mean? ›

A naturally aspirated engine, also known as a normally aspirated engine, and abbreviated to N/A or NA, is an internal combustion engine in which air intake depends solely on atmospheric pressure and does not have forced induction through a turbocharger or a supercharger.

Is naturally aspirated a good thing? ›

Advantages of Naturally Aspirated Motors

Because turbocharged engines can cause lag – when the turbine is spooling up to match the throttle response opening – naturally aspirated engines are superior at delivering consistent power levels throughout the engine's entire powerband.

What is the difference between a naturally aspirated engine? ›

In the end, the power-to-weight ratio is much better for a turbocharged engine compared to a naturally aspirated one. A naturally aspirated engine is an internal combustion engine in which the air intake relies solely on atmospheric pressure, which is the exact opposite of the force induction turbocharged engines use.

Are naturally aspirated engines more reliable? ›

Some motorists love them, while certain purists would probably love to see them discontinued. This is because naturally aspirated engines last longer and are more reliable than their supercharged counterparts. Forced air engines work harder as they use higher compression and run hotter combustion chambers.

What makes a car naturally aspirated? ›

Naturally aspirated engines are those that do without turbochargers or superchargers, which means they breathe air at atmospheric pressure instead of using 'forced induction' to increase performance.

What is an advantage of a an naturally aspirated engine? ›

Naturally Aspirated or naturally 'breathing' engines, defines those that take in air under normal means at normal atmospheric pressures. The more air that enters into the combustion chambers of an engine, the more fuel can be added - creating bigger explosions and generating more power.

Which one is better turbo or naturally aspirated? ›

Winner: Natural aspiration

This relatively simple process is way more complicated in forced induction engines. The turbo is connected to both intake and exhaust manifolds. Its speeds often exceed 200,000 RPM, creating extreme temperatures.

Which is better turbo or naturally aspirated? ›

Reliability. In terms of reliability, naturally aspirated engines are more reliable than turbocharged engines. Though the difference is not much, the NA engines are more reliable because fresh clean new air gets inside the engine every time.

What is the most powerful naturally aspirated car engine? ›

The Most Powerful Naturally Aspirated Cars
  1. 1 Ferrari FXX Evoluzione - 848 Horsepower.
  2. 2 Pagani Huayra R - 830 Horsepower. ...
  3. 3 Ferrari Daytona SP3 - 830 Horsepower. ...
  4. 4 Aston Martin Vulcan - 820 Horsepower. ...
  5. 5 Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 - 820 Horsepower. ...
  6. 6 Aston Martin One-77 - 750 Horsepower. ...
  7. 7 Gordon Murray T. ...
Dec 9, 2022

Can you tune a naturally aspirated engine? ›

Remapping a naturally aspirated car is perfectly possible, although the gains are considerably smaller than on something with forced induction. As with turbocharged and supercharged engine remapping, remapping on engines without forced induction varies from engine to engine.

Do naturally aspirated engines need premium gas? ›

As for engines, you'll find naturally aspirated V-8s, turbocharged 4-cylinders, an EcoBoost 6-cylinder, and a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder. Each vehicle in the test doesn't require premium, but the automakers all recommend it.

What has the most reliable engine? ›

These Are Some Of The Most Reliable Car Engines Ever Made
  • 8 Honda B Series Engine.
  • 7 Honda K Series Engine.
  • 6 Lexus 1UZFE Engine.
  • 5 Lexus 2UR-GSE Engine.
  • 4 BMW M57 Diesel Engine.
  • 3 Nissan RB26DETT Engine.
  • 2 Mercedes-Benz OM617 Diesel Engine.
  • 1 General Motors LS Engine.
Jan 5, 2022

What is the advantage of NA vs turbo? ›

Power | Turbo Vs NA Engine

The entire point of turbochargers is to add extra power to engines and they outperform NA in power by leaps and bounds. They are able to generate more power from smaller engines than NA can from bigger engines.

Is it bad to lug naturally aspirated engine? ›

At the most basic level, lugging your engine doesn't make much sense because it puts your engine at a disadvantage. That means it has to work harder to do the same amount of work. But that also means it runs less efficiently, increases engine temperature, and can even cause issues with the engine's timing.

Which cars are still naturally aspirated? ›

Here Are The Most Powerful Naturally-Aspirated Cars On The Market In 2022
  1. 1 2021 Aston Martin Valkyrie (1160 Hp)
  2. 2 2021 Ferrari 812 Superfast (789 Hp) ...
  3. 3 2021 Lamborghini Aventador (730 Hp) ...
  4. 4 2021 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso (680 Hp) ...
  5. 5 2021 Audi R8 (602 Hp) ...
  6. 6 2022 Lamborghini Huracán (602 Hp) ...
  7. 7 2021 Aston Martin Vantage (503 Hp) ...
Mar 15, 2022

How much psi does a naturally aspirated engine have? ›

A naturally aspirated petrol engine pulls the air from the environment at approx 14.7psi or 1atm. Rest of the combustion process between both the type of motors remain the same.

Is a V6 engine better than a turbo? ›

Turbo-Four vs V6

Modern turbocharged four-cylinder engines, when engineered properly, will either beat or match a naturally aspirated V6 in almost every category. Turbo-fours are lighter, more efficient, and can be more powerful than a naturally aspirated V6.

Which engine is best 3 cylinder or 4 cylinder? ›

A 3 cylinder engine is much more fuel efficient compared to a 4 cylinder engine of the same size. This is because of two primary factors, reduced frictional losses and lighter weight. Since there is one cylinder less, the frictional losses caused by metal surfaces coming in contact within the engine block is lesser.

What is the fastest naturally aspirated V8? ›

Why The Corvette Z06 DOHC Is The Most Powerful Naturally Aspirated Production V8 Engine. The new 2023 Corvette Z06 features the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine and it blows our minds!

Which 911 is naturally aspirated? ›

For those of you that can't stretch all the way to the latest Porsche 911 GT3 and GT3 RS, the Cayman GTS is a great ticket to the 4.0-liter, naturally aspirated engine that makes 394hp and 309 lb-ft of torque.

Is naturally aspirated better than direct injection? ›

Handily, as naturally aspirated engines chased torque, as a good rule of thumb along came improved efficiency. Direct fuel injection (DI) adds more. It means an engine can run higher compression without knock, because the fuel is injected just before spark.

How can I get more power from naturally aspirated? ›

If your vehicle's engine is naturally aspirated, forced induction will provide some hefty hp increase. One of the most effective ways to increase hp is forced induction. Forced induction can come in the form of a turbocharger or a supercharger.

What car hold the record for fastest naturally aspirated car? ›

Once the nineties rolled around, the McLaren F1 upped the stakes again with a top speed of 221mph, although F1s without rev-limiters have clocked 240mph runs. To this day, the McLaren F1 remains the fastest naturally aspirated car ever built.

What is the most efficient engine ever made? ›

Wärtsilä 31 – the most efficient engine in the world. The Wärtsilä 31 marine engine sets the standard for energy efficiency. It has the lowest fuel consumption of any four-stroke ship engine in the world.

What is the least powerful car engine? ›

Having mustered just 66 horsepower, the Mitsubishi i-Miev claims the title as the lowest-horsepower new car you can buy in the US today.

Can you make a naturally aspirated engine pop? ›

You can have pop & bang even on naturally aspirated engines. Of course, since without turbo we can't deal with the turbo lag, the cool sound will be the only benefit, albeit an amazing one.

How do you make a naturally aspirated car pop? ›

“Pops and bangs” are created by unburned fuel in the exhaust system. When excess fuel enters the exhaust system it increases in temperature and ignites inside the exhaust instead of the combustion chamber. The noise can be exaggerated by fitting a decat or full decat exhaust system.

How do naturally aspirated engines get air? ›

Naturally aspirated engines are called such because they draw air into the engine cylinders through an air intake by creating a partial vacuum. The atmospheric pressure acts against this partial vacuum that occurs as the piston travels downward toward the bottom dead center during the intake stroke.

What happens if you put 87 octane in a 93 octane car? ›

If the octane rating is less than 91, you could damage the engine and may void your vehicle warranty.

How long can fuel sit in a car? ›

Regular gasoline has a shelf life of three to six months, while diesel can last up to a year before it begins to degrade. On the other hand, organic-based Ethanol can lose its combustibility in just one to three months due to oxidation and evaporation. Tracking the age of the fuel in your tank can be a challenge.

Do naturally aspirated engines have injectors? ›

Naturally Aspirated Engines

In a nutshell, a naturally aspirated engine is an internal combustion engine where air intake depends on atmospheric pressure. That means no forced induction through a turbocharger, and no direct-injection. In layman's terms, an engine is a giant air pump.

What is the difference between naturally aspirated and supercharged engine? ›

In a normally aspirated engine, manifold pressure is limited to the pressure of the atmosphere which is measured with a barometer (barometric pressure), while a supercharged engine can boost the manifold pressure by compressing the air that enters the manifold.

What is the difference between aspirated and non aspirated? ›

In dialects with aspiration, to feel or see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds, one can put a hand or a lit candle in front of one's mouth, and say spin [spɪn] and then pin [pʰɪn]. One should either feel a puff of air or see a flicker of the candle flame with pin that one does not get with spin.

How do you increase horsepower in a natural aspirated engine? ›

Upgrading the intake helps the engine get more air faster for increased horsepower.
  1. Upgrade the Air Intake. Many gearheads start here. ...
  2. Upgrade the Exhaust. More air entering the engine means more air has to exit the engine. ...
  3. Install A Performance Tuner. ...
  4. Install a Boost Controller. ...
  5. Clean the Fuel System.
Jul 7, 2022

What is another word for aspirated? ›

The words ambition and pretension are common synonyms of aspiration. While all three words mean "strong desire for advancement," aspiration implies a striving after something higher than oneself.

Does naturally aspirated mean carburetor? ›

In natural aspiration, it is during the intake stroke that a vacuum is created by the air drawn in by the withdrawing piston. That air is brought into the cylinder. When an engine has a carburetor, it atomizes fuel and adds it to the air so that the intake manifold sucks it in. This delivers to the cylinders.


1. Auto Techno Naturally Aspirated Engines
(Auto Focus)
(The Motoring Gossip TMG)
3. Difference Between Naturally Aspirated and Turbo/Supercharged Engines | Tip of the Week
(Motoring TV)
4. Top 10 Best Naturally Aspirated Engines
5. Turbocharged Vs Supercharged Vs Naturally Aspirated Engine 💢 TGBR
6. 5 Reasons You Shouldn't Buy A Turbocharged Car
(Engineering Explained)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Errol Quitzon

Last Updated: 07/17/2023

Views: 5623

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Errol Quitzon

Birthday: 1993-04-02

Address: 70604 Haley Lane, Port Weldonside, TN 99233-0942

Phone: +9665282866296

Job: Product Retail Agent

Hobby: Computer programming, Horseback riding, Hooping, Dance, Ice skating, Backpacking, Rafting

Introduction: My name is Errol Quitzon, I am a fair, cute, fancy, clean, attractive, sparkling, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.