Fair enough...I hear ya.I agree with your explanation. I think we're on the same train... I'm saying that I'd rather have massive torque numbers at "regular" rpm instead of massive HP numbers at 5500-11k rpm's, so in the case that the 2.3 makes 325HP at the 7200rpm that most tunes raise the limiter to is in-fact inferior to having all that torque (And admittedly HP) at a much lower number.
When you can mash the pedal and have ~400FT/LBS from 1800 to 5500rpm's it will feel much better than a vehicle with less tq but much more HP (which takes many more RPM's)
It's referred to "Area under the curve" when running on a dyno.
I'm not arguing that a drag racer would want more HP as they spend all their time at max RPM's (or close) similar to how the HP figure is used to reference large commercial diesel engines which also spend 99% of their time at or near their red line (like tractors, generators, air compressors, etc).
In your example, ([email protected] vs [email protected]) I cannot pick based on that data, as I don't know the curve. Is 2000 or 4000 the max RPM? . I'm certain the 2000 rpm retains most of it's tq at 4000rpm, but I don't know if the 4000RPM one started off at 500ft/lbs or 40ft/lbs. It''s much more complicated than "HP is better", and that's basically why I choose more torque on the street instead of math that needs a torque number in order to exist.
The red line on a large truck is close to 2000rpm, so clearly that's enough to pull a big load up a large hill. (Cat C-15 turbo RPM limit is 2100)
It really comes down to ability to gear within certain parameters and power application. Theory is one thing, where HP is king, application in the real world is more reliant on application or *HP* under curve and torque rise as you point out.
But the reality is, a vehicle with higher HP can be geared (within certain limit) to do the same amount of work...600 hp is 600 hp, 4 cylinder 2.0 liter twin turbo vs Cat C-15...they both (at max power) will provide the same amount of work.
Engines of the same family, like large diesels, all have sim torque rise so are always rated at HP as it pertains to performance.