Horsepower vs CC: Difference and Comparison

As today’s generation is creating more mind-blowing cars and other vehicles like Audi, Ferrari and BMW, it has become necessary or vehicle lovers to know more about the concept of “Horsepower” and “Cc”.

Key Takeaways

  1. A horsepower is a unit of measurement for the power output of an engine, indicating the engine’s ability to perform work.
  2. CC (cubic centimeters) is a unit of measurement for the size of an engine’s displacement, indicating the volume of the cylinders in the machine.
  3. Both horsepower and CC are related to engine performance, but horsepower measures power output, while CC measures engine size or displacement.

Horsepower vs CC

The difference between Horsepower and CC lies in its definition; Horsepower is the measurement of the engine’s power, while cc is the measurement of the volume or size of the engine. However, no matter how different the two words seem, they have a significant relationship and can be converted into another.

Horsepower vs CC 1

In earlier times, horses were so helpful in drawing carriages that people started referring to it as a measurement of power which soon came to be known as “horsepower”.

“Cc” on the other hand, is a much newer term. The “Cubic centimetres” or cc is used to measure the volume of the automobile engine. 


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonHorsepower (HP)CC (Cubic Centimetres)
DefinitionIt is a unit of power used to indicate the maximum performance capability and speed that the vehicle has.It explains the pumping capacity of the automobile engine, which the size and volume of the machine can know.
Unit of MeasurementIt is equal to 746 Watts of power. It is also measured in Brake Horsepower or bhp. HP can be converted to Kilowatts and measured as well.It is measured in cubic centimetres. 1000 cc = 1 litre.
FactorsHP depends on factors like the engine’s size, capacity, number of valves, design and more.Cc depends on the diameter or bore of the engine and its number of chambers.
InventionThe term was first coined by Scottish Engineer James Watt in the 18th Century.It is a part of the metric system and was accepted in 1799.
Calculation(Torque*RPM)/5252 or (V*I*Eff)/746.The total volume of chambers=pi/4*bore*stroke*
Several cylinders.


What is Horsepower?

Horsepower is the unit of measurement used to measure the power of an automobile engine. The higher the Horsepower or HP, the higher the power sent to the wheels and, thus higher the car’s speed. 

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It is measured in Brake-horse-power or bhp, Pferdestärke or PS, the German translation of HP. It is measured in the feet-pound-force-per-second or fps in the British system, while in the metric system, it is measured in Kilowatts or KW.

Horsepower is of two types- Frictional Horsepower and Indicated Horsepower. Indicated Horsepower is defined as the original power used by the automobile engine. 

Knowing a vehicle’s horsepower is reasonably necessary to understand the speed and performance of its engine. Thus, it is also known as the output of the machine.

The Indicated Horsepower of an engine can be calculated as- 

I.H.P = ((PLAN x n) / 2) ÷ 4500

(where, P = Mean effective pressure in kg/cm², L = Length of stroke, A = Area of piston in cm², N = RPM of crankshaft, n = Number of cylinders)

B.H.P = (Torque x RPM) ÷ 5252

horsepower 1

What is CC?

Cubic Centimetres or Cc are used to know the size of the automobile engine. It also signifies how large and heavy the engine is. Thus, it helps us to understand the pumping capacity of the machine.

1000 cc = 1 litre. 

This means that a 1000 cc engine is the equivalent displacement to a 1-litre engine. The cc of an automobile’s engine is the total volume of all the cylinders in that particular engine.

Thus, it measures the swept volume of the cylinders of the engine. 

 A higher cc can be achieved by making the vehicle’s engine larger and more robust, leading to more displacement. 

The following formula can calculate cubic centimetres- 0.7854 x bore x bore x stroke x number of cylinders. However, there are other far more complex formulas as well.

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Moreover, the displacement of a vehicle can be calculated in cubic inches by substituting the measurements in inches – 8.1cm = 3.189″ & 7.76cm = 3.055″, giving 0.7854 x 3.189″ x 3.189″ x 3.055″ x 4 = 97.6

It is important to note that the cubic capacity of vehicles is between the range of 50 ccs to 1500 cc.


Main Differences Between Horsepower and CC

  1. Cc is used as the measure of displacement, whereas horsepower is the work measurement.
  2. The cc of an engine is constant, while the engine’s horsepower is variable.
  3. The cc indicates the engine’s capacity, while horsepower is the power measurement unit.
  4. Cc is measured in cubic centimetres while horsepower is measured in Kilowatt.
  5. Horsepower is more critical as it is used to signify the speed of a vehicle, while cc is just used for indicating the physical dimension of the automobile engine.

Difference Between X and Y 2023 04 08T161128.089

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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23 thoughts on “Horsepower vs CC: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article is certainly enlightening, and I am glad to see such detailed explanations. It can clear many misconceptions people have regarding horsepower and CC.

  2. The informative nature of the article provides a comprehensive understanding of horsepower and CC. Well presented and easy to fathom.

  3. This detailed explanation of horsepower and CC is commendable. The article has certainly widened my understanding.

  4. This article has greatly deepened my understanding of horsepower and CC, with the comparisons and detailed explanations, I now have a clearer and more comprehensive knowledge of both concepts.

  5. I’m very impressed with the detailed analysis and breakdown of these automotive terms. The comparison table is particularly helpful!

  6. The detailed explanation of every term, along with the comparison table, is impressive. I could not have put it better.

  7. I find this article incredibly insightful and helpful, especially for those who may not be familiar with the technical terms associated with automobiles and engines.

  8. This article excellently demystifies the complex concepts of horsepower and CC. It’s an extraordinary piece for anyone looking to broaden their automotive knowledge.

  9. I appreciate the in-depth comparison between horsepower and CC. It provides a holistic view and clarifies the relationship between the two.


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