TVR Cerbera – the performance numbers

TVR were well known (like a lot of others in the industry at the time) for being a little generous when it came to how realistic their power performance figures were in the real world.

Factory performance numbers

The table below are the factory numbers for the 4 engine variants of the Cerbera. The story it tells is that the Speed Six & 4.2 are almost the same in terms of BHP & Torque, and the 4.5, especially in Red Rose (RR) form, romps away.

But how do they really stack up?

Engine
CC
VariantWeightValves
per cyl
BHPTorque
ft.lb
0-60
mph
0-100
mph
Top
Speed
4.0Straight Six1,130 kg43503304.410.2170
4.2V81,100 kg23603204.29.9180
4.5V81,100 kg24203804.18.3185
4.5RRV81,100 kg24404023.9?193

Rolling Road Sessions

Over the years, to shed some light on this, a number of organised Dyno sessions have been held.

The Dyno sessions took place in 2005, 2011 and most recently in 2019

Notes:

  • The data below was compiled from the results that were shared on Pistonheads, links to the threads are above
  • Unfortunately, it appears Torque figures for the 2019 session were not recorded
  • Where modifications were declared, they are noted
  • All 3 sessions took place at Charlies (Surrey Rolling Road)
  • Surrey Rolling Road use a Dyno Dynamics machine, the same Dyno that Joolz (Kits & Classics) uses
  • Joolz has stated that there is only a 1-2% difference between Charlies Dyno and his (with Charlies being the higher of the two)
  • You can sort the columns by clicking the column header, and if on a desktop, holding the Shift key can sort multiple columns
  • Below this table, I have made a bunch of observations & conclusions

Dyno
year
4.24.5Other EngineBHPTorque
ft.lb
Mods
20114.5 engine426360
20194.5 engine412Short induction, full SP exhaust with linked decat, joolz remap
20114.5 engine410
20114.5 engine406365
20194.5 engine393Whirlwind, Injectors, Exhaust, joolz remap
20114.5 engine393350
20054.5 engine392364Joospeed’s Emerald ECU Install/Mapping and Intake Mod
2019other engine3914.2/4.5 hybrid: Red Rose heads
20114.5 engine390
20194.5 engine383no modifications
20114.2 engine381330
20114.2 engine378
20054.5 engine377369Emerald ECU
20054.5 engine377332
20054.5 engine375365Emerald ECU
20194.2 engine373ported intakes , Joolz MBE Remap
2019other engine3714.2/4.5 hybrid: Red Rose heads
20114.2 engine369
20114.5 engine365
20054.5 engine365352Standard
2005other engine3653454.5 Red Rose
20114.2 engine365
20114.2 engine364
20054.2 engine360320Emerald ECU
20054.2 engine359330
20194.2 engine358ACT performance ex manifolds
20054.5 engine353325
20054.5 engine352326
20054.2 engine351332
20054.5 engine348344
20054.2 engine348333
20054.5 engine346348
20054.5 engine345342
20054.2 engine345327
20054.5 engine342318
20114.2 engine341345
20054.5 engine338320
20054.2 engine336340
20054.5 engine336335
20054.5 engine332338
2019other engine5414.5 Supercharger, Emerald ECU, Emerald remap
2019other engine478Maserati Granturismo 4.7L engine, TR6060 gearbox
2019other engine4524.7 Race car
2019other engine4334.7 STR8SIX built engine mapped by Power, ACT quiet exhaust with Balanced Headers
2019other engine393S6 4.5 Powers MBE ECU

Observations

  • 4.2 Cerberas
    • BHP: 336-381 (360+ achieved with mods)
    • Torque: 320-345 (based on 2 out of 3 sessions. 2019 Torque figures are not available)
    • Lower numbers appear in 2005 clearly showing 4.2s were in a poor state of tune when leaving the factory (a well documented fact)
  • 4.5 Cerberas
    • BHP: 332-426 (390+ achieved with mods)
    • Torque: 318-369 (based on 2 out of 3 sessions. 2019 Torque figures are not available)
    • Again, lower numbers from the 2005 session showing a poor state of tune
  • Speed Six Cerberas
    • I’m reliably informed some S6s did run, but no data was published. Were the Speed Six guys gun-shy 😉 ?
    • For comparison purposes, I’ve included my Dyno run that took place at Joolz in 2018
    • BHP: 343
    • Torque: 340
my performance dyno graph
  • “Other” engine
    • Also shown in the table are a few entries for a 4.2 with a 4.5 head, a Supercharged 4.5, a 4.7, a 4.7 Maserati engine, a 4.7 Race Car, and a 4.5 Speed Six.
      • These all produce some quite amazing numbers.
  • Horsepower vs Torque
    • It’s always a hot topic debating which is really the most important, so I won’t go there. But needless to say, it’s interesting to note that while some of the heavily modified Cerberas (particularly the 4.5s) get into the 400+ BHP, the Torque remains comparable with the other engines variants.

Conclusion

  • Were the factory numbers accurate? No way.
  • Can you get close to the factory numbers? The Speed Six and 4.2 can, yes. The 4.5 almost, and the 4.5 Red Rose is a long way off.
    • A buddy of mine had his 4.5RR Dyno’d at Joolz and only saw 398 BHP, that’s a long way off from the 440 factory number
  • Which is most tunable?
    • If we’re only talking aftermarket ECU, induction & mapping, (which will run into the low to mid £x,xxx) all engine variants can benefit from a 10%+ increase
    • If we’re talking increasing CC capacity or strapping a blower to it, (which will run into £10k+) then the world is your oyster as can be seen by the 4.7s and 4.5 Speed Six
  • How does this compare to other TVRs?
    • for comparison, a standard Sagaris is around 353 BHP / 300 ft.lb torque, a T350 around 345 BHP

5 thoughts on “TVR Cerbera – the performance numbers

  1. Cydonia

    Thank you for posting to this blog! I am 18 and love the Cerbera, my dad had a 4.5 when I was very young and I want to get one, one day. This website is perfect, I’m really OCD about the little things too and I want to do 90% of the stuff you’ve detailed over the last 7 years. I hope to one day end up with a 5.0 converted AJP, perfectly sorted. Great car, man!

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks! And nice to hear from a Gen Z who has an interest in cars beyond Tesla/EVs. Kudos to you.

  2. Cydonia

    Haha I agree! It’s rare to find people my age who are interested in driving. Some are interested in cars or BHP numbers, but I have an MX-5 currently as my first car and I find great enjoyment in just going out for a drive. I might try and find a cheaper Chimaera next when insurance prices go down.

  3. Ole Vik

    Chimaera is a great entry into TVR ownership. Its quick, looks good, sounds awesome and is pretty reliable, I was all over Europe many times without a hitch.

    If you get the 400 youll be wanting more power after a while, though you can plant the pedal almost everywhere and not get in big trouble like you can with the 500!

    My 400 with upgraded and properly set ut geometry and Toyo888 was faster than lotus elise and even exiges on the track

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