Difference Between Horsepower and CC

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

Horsepower vs CC

The main difference between Horsepower and CC lies in its definition; Horsepower is the measurement of power of the engine while cc is the measurement of the volume or size of the engine. No matter how different the two words seem to look, however, they bear a significant relation with each other and also can be converted to the other.

Horsepower vs CC

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

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


Comparison Table Between Horsepower and CC (in Tabular Form)

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 can be known by the size and volume of the engine.
Unit of MeasurementIt is equal to 746 Watts of power. It is also measured in Brake Horsepower or bhp. HP can be converted to Kilowatt 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 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 the year 1799.
Calculation(Torque*RPM)/5252 or (V*I*Eff)/746.Total volume of chambers=pi/4*bore*stroke*
Number of cylinders.


What is Horsepower?

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

It is measured in Brake-horse-power or bhp, Pferdestärke or PS, which is 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 generally measured in Kilowatt or KW.

Horsepower are of two types- Frictional Horsepower and Indicated Horsepower. Indicated Horsepower is defined as the original power used by the automobile engine. Knowing the Horsepower of a vehicle is quite necessary, in order to understand the speed and performance of its engine. Thus, it is also known as the output of the engine.

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


What is CC?

Cubic Centimetres or Cc is 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 engine.

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 actually the total volume of all the cylinder 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 engine of the vehicle larger and stronger, which will lead to the creation of more displacement. Cubic centimetres can be calculated by the following formula- 0.7854 x bore x bore x stroke x number of cylinders. However, there are other far complex formulas as well.

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 cu.in.

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

Main Differences Between Horsepower and CC

  1. Cc is used as the measure of displacement whereas horsepower is the measurement of work.
  2. The cc of an engine is constant, while the horsepower of the engine is variable.
  3. The cc indicates the capacity of the engine while horsepower is the unit of measurement of power.
  4. Cc is measured in cubic centimetres while horsepower is measured in Kilowatt.
  5. Horsepower is more important 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.



Both horsepower and cc are quite essential to know before we tend to buy a new vehicle like a brand-new car, or a bike or even a lawn mower. 

Futuristic cars, with their first-class design and efficiency, have started to introduce 1000 horsepower on its engines, which means that the car can drive at the speed of about 300 miles per hour.

The Hennessey Venom F5, Aston Martin Valkyrie, Lamborghini Huracan, Porsche 911, Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class are some of the world-famous cars with the highest horsepower in the present time.

 Moreover, the world is now experiencing top class cars with huge cc on it. Cars like Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class, Lamborghini Aventador, Ford F-Series Super Duty, Rolls-Royce Phantom, have fantastic cc on its engines.

Thus, it is just time for which we all have to wait; The future years will definitely bring along with its cars and other amazing vehicles with so much designs, speed and efficiency that we all will be awestruck. 


  1. https://escholarship.org/content/qt6sm968t2/qt6sm968t2.pdf
  2. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19471400003
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