Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Powerful Exotic Car

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is the latest in a line of Bugattis reviving the name. It is the world’s fastest and most powerful exotic car: over 1,000 bhp and with a top speed of 248 mph

If you love sheer power, you’ll adore the Bugatti Veyron 16.4! It has a W-16 8.0 liter cylinder engine mid-mounted driving through a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox to all four wheels four-wheel drive is essential with this amount of power. It will still have about 250 bhp going through each tire!

Fastest production car in the world

Massive power means a lot of cooling, massive brakes, and even an air brake the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is the only other car on the market with one of these. You can imagine that the Bugatti Veyron will need it! It has been timed officially at 248 mph, and is therefore the fastest production car in the world. We generally reckon than a 0-60 time of under 3.6 seconds is very fast, but the Veyron can do it under 3.0 seconds. More staggering still it will reach 180 mph in 14 seconds.

Just try to imagine that! And then imagine where you’ll do it. “Aye there’s the rub”, as Hamlet said. The fact is that there are only a few tracks in the world maybe three or four where you can reach that speed, and then only for a few seconds. Even finding somewhere to drive at 180 mph is pretty difficult.

Very powerful cars can be relaxing to drive

But that doesn’t mean that a car of this type is pointless. Effortless power can make a car relaxing to drive fast. You cover the ground on country roads much faster than in slower cars without actually using the speed potential just keeping it legal.

The Veyron 16.4 has been years coming, and was expected to be in production about 18 months ago. It was held up with various problems, some in engine cooling. Now it seems these problems are over, and production will start at a crawl.

Famous name now revived by VW Group

Bugatti produced the best sporting and sports racing cars in the 1920s and early 30s, and old Bugattis now sell for vast sums. Various attempts have been made to revive the name, the Bugatti EB 110 being the most serious attempt back in the early 90s. Here was a true supercar, with all the right characteristics, including a tiny Bugatti shape grille between wide horizontal air intakes.

The EB 110 was ahead of its time with a carbon fiber hull, and a turbocharged 3.5 liter V-12 engine developing 550 or 600 bhp driving through four wheels. Generally thought not to have been exciting enough at the time. When the McLaren F1 came out a bit later, it put the Bugatti in the shade. The market wasn’t really big enough for the top-heavy Bugatti approach with a large and very modern factory.

So after that enterprise had collapsed, Dr Piech, then chairman of Volkswagen, bought the name for Audi with the aim of bringing this famous name back to life. He’s retired now, but the Bugatti is in production.

Small car with compact but energy-dense engine

The car is small for so much power. How small? Well, the Veyron 16.4 is only a few inches longer than the compact Lamborghini Gallardo and a bit shorter than the Ferrari F430 yet It has twice as much power as each. So this is the nearest thing to a space rocket on four wheels you’re likely to see.

People who revive Bugatti want to retain some link with the past. On the Veyron it starts with an incongruous Bugatti-shape grille, complete with chrome surround, which looks the wrong shape for the car. It is flanked by large air intakes.

Surprisingly short for so much power

Whereas most exotic supercars are designed to accentuate their length, with long, sloping noses, the Bugatti is shaped more like a hedgehog all curves, which accentuate how small the car is.

It also has the EB logo of old a reverse E joined to the B. It stood for Ettore Bugatti, the founder of the marque. There are quite large air outlets behind the front wheels, and two big air intakes on top of the roof to cool the engine compartment and reduce rear vision. There are also a couple of air intakes in the flanks of the car.

The most powerful car you could possibly want?

Clearly, at the beginning of the project, Piech decided he didn’t want anyone moving the goalposts and putting his exotic supercar in the shade. So he sanctioned the production of a W-16 version of the W-12 used by Audi and Bentley, producing an 8.0 liter engine. The reasoning was that with such a big engine no one else would be able to compete. Almost all exotic supercars manage with 6 liters, no more.

Just to make sure no one surprised Bugatti with more power, the engineers added no less than four turbochargers to push power up over 1,000 bhp. The engine is officially rated at 1,001 bhp with huge torque - 920 lb ft (1,250 Nm) at the amazingly low speed of 2,200 rpm. The low-speed power of this engine will be more than that of many supercars flat out!

They admit to 1,001 bhp, but it’s got more!

We have been told by an insider that the actual power output of the engine is more like 1,200 bhp. Evidently the company didn’t think it politically correct to put any more than 1,001 bhp in the catalog by the way, the Germans may officially talk in kilowatts, but they still put 1,001 bhp as the power output. After all, it sounds more dramatic, doesn’t it? The rating of 763 kW is added as an afterthought.

Put it any way you like, this a huge amount of power for a small car. How can it be so small? The W engines built by VW are little longer than engines with half the number of cylinders; more realistically, a W-6 is about as big as an in-line four, a W-8 more compact than a V-6, and a W-12 about the size of a V-8. The W-16? Well, a V-12 of the same capacity would be about 18 inches (450 mm) longer than the W-16, which would make the car a lot longer.

The amazing W-16 engine

But what is a W-16 engine? Well, it is best to think first of a very narrow angle V-8, with just 15 degrees between banks of cylinders. Because the angle between the cylinders is so small, the top face of the whole V-8 cylinder block can be flat, although the pistons are each at 7.5 degrees to the vertical.

Like two narrow angle V-8 joined together

To make a W-16, you combine two of these V-8 blocks into one, at 90 degrees to each other. So, the cylinder block looks like a wide V-8, but actually has 16 cylinders. The result is a very compact engine, smaller than V-12s of the same capacity, and not a great deal longer than a V-8 of 7 liters.

But it’s not that simple. Because there are pairs of cylinders close to each other in each bank, the banks are very wide. With all that power being produced, there is a lot of heat to be got away from these very short but wide cylinder blocks. No problem with the W-12 at 550 bhp, but when you get to a W-16 producing 1,000 bhp stuffed into a short car that creates cooling problems on a massive scale. The engine may be very short, but the cooling is a problem.

Also, because the cylinders are not at right angles to the cylinder block face, there is a little space left above the piston when the fuel is ignited, which is not ideal for combustion.

Special 7-speed version of DSG gearbox

VW has developed a special version of its DSG semi-automatic gearbox for the Veyron 16.4. This is a massive box built specially for the engine, but using the DSG system from Audi and VW models. Also, it has seven speeds, which makes a manual option impractical. Like the smaller DSG boxes, the system relies on the use of twin hydraulic clutches.

The power train is installed in a carbon fiber structure of great strength, and to save weight, the panels are carbon fiber or aluminum.

Suspension is fairly standard for an exotic supercar, with double wishbones and coil springs. There is the usual ABS and stability control, but this is a progressive system designed to allow the driver to explore the limits safely. It also controls the rear limited slip differential.

Carbon brake discs

Bugatti is using carbon composite discs as standard, with large air intakes funnelling air through flexible hoses to diffusing nozzles attached to the hub carriers. These ensure that the air goes straight at the disc, through the cross drillings, and exits through the radial cooling slots. Not surprisingly, the brakes are massive, with 15.75 inch diameter front discs, and 15 inch discs at the back. Wheels are 20 inch diameter by 10 inch wide at the front and 21 by 14 inch at the rear. The front tires are just over 10 inches wide, and the rear ones are over 14 inches wide! Naturally, these are made specially for the car by Michelin.

To help with braking, there is a rear spoiler which lifts up to 70 degrees when you press the brake pedal at over 75 mph. It can generate a braking force of 0.6 g at high speeds that’s quite strong braking. Bugatti claims that the standard composite carbon braking system will produce deceleration of 1.3 g on a suitable surface which is massive.

The engine compartment is really small for such a car, so that from some angles the car looks as if it could be front-engined. There are a couple of outlets beneath the circular rear lamps, and the rear end is shaped to let the air get out from beneath the car. It looks right. To emphasize the grille, Bugatti has adopted a two-tone paint job which doesn’t improve the car at all.

Simple interior

Inside the car you get a simple layout with a small instrument panel in front of the three-spoke Bugatti wheel. The center console is covered with a milled aluminum panel and contains the minor instruments in a retro pattern. The stubby gear lever sticks out from the tunnel buttons to select the various modes and reverse would seem more suitable. The interior looks good in tan, but I wasn’t so struck by the white. Rear vision looks as if it’s almost non-existent.

You’ll need about $1.3 million to buy one of these Bugattis without import duty, sales tax or whatever. Sure will be exclusive.

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