A close look at the Bugatti Chiron’s monster W-16 engine

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Bugatti’s Chiron is a pure masterpiece where every inch has been meticulously designed and engineered to ensure the car can safely and reliably travel well above takeoff speeds for commercial jets. Bugatti isn’t saying how fast the Chiron will go, though the company does state that the car’s top speed will be “significantly” higher than that of the Veyron, which in Super Sport trim set the current 267.8 mph land speed record for a production car.

The beating heart of the Chiron is its newly developed W-16 engine. The engine matches the quad-turbocharger, 8.0-liter displacement setup of the unit in the Veyron but virtually every element has been redesigned for improved performance. Bugatti quotes official numbers of 1,480 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque, which is up on even the Veyron Super Sport’s 1,183 hp and 1,106 lb-ft.

The 25 percent jump in power is mainly due to increased boost pressure. To achieve this, bigger turbos were needed. However, to address the issue of lag Bugatti developed a sequential setup where two smaller turbos work at engine speeds of up to 3,800 rpm and then two bigger units take over. Incredibly, the Chiron’s engine delivers its peak torque at just 2,000 rpm and maintains this all the way to 6,000 rpm. Not surprisingly, Bugatti says the power delivery in the car is “absolutely linear.”

Bugatti Chiron

Bugatti Chiron

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There has been a weight penalty with the new setup so to compensate for this greater use is made of lightweight materials such as titanium and carbon fiber. For example, the intake tube, the charge air system and the chain housing are all made of carbon fiber. Lighter yet stronger internals have also been employed, like the specially developed crankshaft.

As anyone who has played around with turbos will know, more charge pressure needs to be matched with increased fuel flow as well as cooling capabilities for the charge air. For the fuel, Bugatti relies on duplex fuel injection with 32 injectors. And for the charge air, complex cooling systems have been employed, which we will get to later.

As a result, more than 60,000 liters of air per minute are pumped through the engine. The coolant pump is also a very high-performance unit. In one minute, it circulates 800 liters of water through the entire engine. At full tilt, we’re guessing the Chiron will empty its gas tank even quicker than the 12 minutes it takes the Veyron.


 
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