Performance Measurement

All performance measurement is not the same

For us, tuning at the highest level does not just mean efficiency and simultaneous engine protection, but also the manufacture of high-quality, comprehensively tested products. As a serious vehicle tuner, the confidence of our customers is always our highest priority. Therefore, honesty with test results and transparent measurement processes – especially when it comes to performance measurement – are a particular concern for us.

How is engine performance measured?
  • When we speak of a vehicle’s performance, we are referring to the normal power output. This is the power that the engine delivers to the crankshaft.
  • Since the measurement at the crankshaft which is installed in a vehicle is not practical, the engine output is generally measured on a dynamometer. Here, the so-called wheel power is measured, that is, the power that the wheels transfer to the road.
  • Due to the friction from the transmission, drive shafts, differential and wheels, wheel power is always less than normal power. In order to be able to quantify these losses, in addition to wheel power, the towing capacity of the drive train is measured on the dynamometer. In this case, the vehicle is measured in a disengaged state. Since a performance upgrade has very little or no influence on the towing capacity, there should only be the tiniest deviation between the standard and the tuned vehicle.
  • Finally, the previously calculated result is adjusted by the standard correction factor, which is calculated depending on the standard (in accordance with EEC, DIN or ISO) from the ambient data such as temperature and air pressure. 

The formula for the normal power output is as follows:

Normal power output = (wheel power + towing capacity) x standard correction factor

Example of performance measurement on an RS 6 with ABT Power
Influencing factors on performance and performance measurement

In principle, all dynamometer designs (e.g. twin roller vs. single roller) should provide almost identical results. However, deviations in the implementation of performance measurements such as measuring period, ambient temperature, speed and much more can cause inconsistencies. Our engineers use exclusively a MAHA single roller dynamometer and the measurement procedure is always carried in accordance with the defined standards.

However, performance measurement does not only depend on the type of measurement, the results are also influenced by other factors. In this way, among other things, fuel also has an influence on engine performance. For petrol engines with ABT performance upgrades, we recommend that premium fuel with the octane value specified in the data sheet (RON 98 or RONZ 102) is always used. This not only gives the best possible response, but is also an important factor with regard to the longevity of the engine.


Similarly, running performance also influences engine performance. At ABT, only ‘run-in’ vehicles with mileage of over 3,000 km are tested.

Indicators of unreliable performance measurement are, among other things, towing capacity that is 20 or 30% (depending on dynamometer design) higher than the standard performance as well as slippage or correction figures that are greater than 5%.

As the official tuner of vehicles from the VW Group, we fundamentally use measuring procedures that are recognised as standards for vehicle manufacturers. Our dynamometer is regularly serviced and calibrated by the manufacturer and is also TÜV-tested. Only by utilising reliable and qualified measurement methods are we able to continue to ensure our customers that all of our products are not only TÜV-certified, but also guarantee a long service life.