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Form Follows Performance

TECH

By Adam Riley

The Bugatti Chiron's W16

 

Photo Source: www.bugatti.com

 

Quoted as saying “I don’t design cars to stop.” The late Ettore Bugatti was first to develop a Bugatti 16-cylinder engine. His belief was that “power makes a car comfortable.”  The “16”, modeled after an airplane engine, was basically two in-line 8-cylinder engines grafted into parallel banks that produced an astonishing 250 horsepower.  During its use in 1929, the motor was radically different and only used in a handful race cars -- until a few years later when it was put to rest.

 

Since then, Bugatti has striven to be impossibly different while standing outside the niche circle of their competitors.  From the reverse bolted body panels of the “57” Aviator, to the land speed breaking “Veyron,” The new “Chiron” is no disappointment.  Though being hailed as the most all of the astonishing Bugatti’s to date, one cannot overlook the most recognizable feature that lies under it’s skin.  The re-incarnated sixteen-cylinder “W16.”

 

During development of the Bugatti Veyron in 2005, the Chief Design engineer Hartmut Warkuss stepped back to the 16-cylinder lineage utilizing modern technology to oversee a development the “W16.”  Taking nearly five years to complete, the motor is an 8-liter mass of titanium and aluminum alloy creating a symphony of 16 pistons, four camshafts and 64 valves.  The combination pumped out nearly 1,200 horses and sailed the Veyron into the Guinness Book of Records, with a top production car speed of 268mph.

 

 

Of course the new 2017 Chiron needed to top that.  So Bugatti re-worked the W16 to produce up to 1,500 horsepower.  Using up 60,000 liters of oxygen per minute, the W16 utilizes four turbochargers with a 2-stage boosting system to create a linear torque curve.  But with the extreme heat of four turbochargers, how does it stay cool?

 

First is by the notable C-channel on the side of the Chiron.  This characteristic has multiple features and uses.  First is during vehicle assembly where the two front and rear body sections are mated, hence the two tone paint scheme. But most importantly the area functions as a scope, channeling “clean air” from the vehicle sides then splitting the air into two channels.  One for brake cooling -- and the other for engine intake and venting.

 

 

Photo Source: www.bugatti.com

 

Then there are the 10 radiators.  Yes.  10.  The high-temperature cooling loop - which consists of one main and several auxiliary radiators where 37 liters of water are pumped through it every three seconds. In all, the coolant pump circulates 800 liters of water through the engine every minute.  Recently Bugatti tested the cooling system with a 5 day desert run in extreme heat, the video can be found here and the sounds are epic.

 

Speaking of the sound.  The exhaust passes through six catalytic converters, then through the titanium exhaust tubing that exits out of the rear diffuser in a design that pushes the exhaust towards the ground, which creates front car down force. This attribute is something F1 adapted but then ended up ruling out due to unfair advantages.  Needless to say, sixteen cylinders sound badass, with a low ferocious growl.

 

 

Photo Source: www.bugatti.com

 

Overall, the new W16 in the Chiron should easily push the car into the next level of world record standings, though unfortunately Bugatti is holding of on trying out for a new record until 2018.  Currently all production Chiron models will be regulated, down, so if you happen to have the 1.5 million dollars to spend, you have to settle for a throttled down 258 mph road car.  What a shame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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