Torque, also called moment or moment of force, is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis, fulcrum, or pivot. Just as a force is a push or a pull, a torque can be thought of as a twist. How does this force work in front wheel drive cars?
Techtalk - Torque in FWD Drive Cars
For cars with the same engine type and drivetrain (hp+Nm)/ kg is the best predictor for acceleration (0-100 km/h), if you want to compare your DOHC VTEC powered car to other engineered or drivetrain designs (excluding 4WD cars) the best predictor would be the specific mass (kg/hp; the lower this ratio the faster it will accelerate) or its inverse (hp/kg or hp/tonne, the higher this ratio the faster it will accelerate (1 tonne= 1000 kg)).
Futher note that traction problems will lower the results expected from the cars specific power weight, e.g. when the cars traction limit is approached the additional hp/kg doesn't count as strongly as would be expected from its specific mass. That's one reason why manufacturers step away from low traction designs (especially FF) when using higher powered designs (many manufacturers use the 200 hp mark as limit for a FF car, however there are higher powered FF devices (for example Fiat Coupe 2.0 20V T. with 220 hp and quite brutal torque as well, although it uses a trick it sports a clever Viscodrive) which function and accelerate with very convincing pace).
I personally think that hp is not the biggest problem for front wheel driven cars, I think the torque offers even more problems, thereby claiming that 300 Nm of torque could offer more problems for FF cars than 200 hp of power. The continuous hp 'cold' wars between car manufacturers, could thus give DOHC VTEC engines an unfair advantage in high-powered FF cars, they offer the hp without the enormous amount of torque normally produced by such a high powered device. Thereby offering the enormous performance the public wants without the traction problems. Toyota's VVTi-L (T-sport) Celica and Corolla seem to choose the same route with a normally aspirated (NA) 1.8 delivering 192 hp, all very similar to Honda's Integra 1.8 type R with 190 hp (DOHC VTEC). Other manufacturers have always sneered at Honda's torque, however there is nothing to sneer at: for their capacity and normally aspirated state they offer tremendous torque, the VTEC even allows an almost flat torque line through the rev-range. So why do other manufacturers sneer at Honda's DOHC VTEC torque? Simple: for its power (which is high), the torque is quite pathetic (low). An example: take the Honda Integra 1.8 type R: it offers 190 hp (105.6 hp/liter) and 178 Nm (98.9 Nm/liter), concurrent FF cars with the same power would be the VW Corrado 2.9 VR6: 190 hp (65.5 hp/liter) and 245 Nm (84.5 Nm/ liter) (63% more torque than the Integra 1.8 type R) and the Fiat Coupé 2.0 16V Turbo: 190 hp (95.0 hp/Turbo liter; 55.9 Nm/ liter (# according to Japanese regulation a turbo (forced induction) engine should be in an naturally aspirated engine sized class of its engine capacity*1.7)) and 290 Nm (145.0 Nm/Turbo liter; 85.3 Nm/liter #) (63% more torque than the Integra 1.8 type R).
If you like this article you might also want to check these out by cliking here to read them for free.