A hybrid turbocharger is simply a turbo that is non-standard, but more specifically combines parts from different frame sizes and in some cases from different manufacturers.
Hybrid turbos can be designed and modified in very different ways; this can be as simple as fitting just a 360 degree thrust bearing or even less exciting a 'Staggered Gap' total seal piston ring. If this is done, then technically the turbocharger is a Hybrid because it differs from the standard manufacturer's specification, and therefore, can no longer be deemed a standard turbocharger.
There are many different ways of modifying a turbocharger for a certain application. However, there is a misled perception that a hybrid turbocharger will always give better response and more power, but the reality is that this is often not the case (unless you convert your turbocharger to ball bearing). The rule of thumb with hybrid non-ball bearing units is that there will be a compromise with response versus power: more power and torque for the same given displacement equals more lag. However, this is not set in stone and can be lessened or eliminated in some cases by very special attention to engine set-up, camshafts, exhaust and manifold design and careful attention to engine mapping. Although this can be very expensive, it is often worth the effort, especially on a road car. The one guaranteed thing that will happen when you fit a larger/modified unit without taking this into consideration is more power at the expense of driveability, which is not good if your 400 BHP Subaru Impreza is beaten in the traffic light derby by a Mini Cooper due to the colossal lag!
Turbo Dynamics has been modifying turbochargers for many years and is yet to see a production turbocharger that can't be improved in some way (taking away mass produced variances) to increase performance. There are many different upgrade options that can be mixed and matched in many formats to achieve the desired goal, which is more flow for a given rotor speed and boost pressure. When this goal is achieved efficiently there will be more power and torque for the customer to use and suddenly, the mysterious Hybrid Turbocharger does what it says on the tin!
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