The Engine: Creating the Magic
Bugatti did two things to create a compact engine capable of producing 1,000 hp.
The first and most obvious thing is turbocharging.
If you know How Turbochargers Work,
you know that one easy way to make an engine more powerful
without making the engine bigger is to stuff more air
into the cylinders on each intake stroke.
Turbochargers do that. A turbo pressurizes the air
coming into the cylinder so the cylinder can hold more air.
If you stuff twice as much air in each cylinder,
you can burn twice as much gasoline.
In reality, it's not quite a perfect ratio like that,
but you get the idea. The Bugatti uses a maximum
turbo boost of 18 PSI to double the output power of its engine.
Therefore, turbocharging allows Bugatti to cut the size
of the engine from 16 liters back down to a more manageable 8 liters.
To generate that much air pressure,
the Bugatti requires four separate turbochargers arranged around the engine.
The second thing Bugatti engineers did,
both to keep the RPM redline high and to lower lag time
when you press the accelerator, was to double the number of cylinders.
The Bugatti has a very rare 16-cylinder engine.
There are two easy ways to create a 16-cylinder engine.
One way would be to put two V-8 engines in-line with each other.
You connect the output shaft of the two V-8s together.
Another would be to put two in-line 8-cylinder engines beside one another.
The latter technique is, in fact, the way Bugatti created its first
16-cylinder cars in the early 20th century.
For the Veyron, Bugatti chose a much more challenging path.
Essentially, Bugatti merged two V-8 engines onto one another,
and then let both of them share the same crankshaft.
This configuration creates the W-16 engine found in the Veyron.
The two V's create a W.
Then, Bugatti started piling on features to make the engine even better... The Engine: Special Features
The special features of the Bugatti W-16 engine are amazing.
The engine has four valves per cylinder, for a total of 64 valves.
It has a dry sump lubrication system borrowed from Formula 1 race cars,
along with an intricate internal oil path to ensure proper
lubrication and cooling within the 16 cylinders.
It has electronically controlled, continuously variable cam timing
to create optimal performance at different engine rpm settings.
It has a massive radiator to deal with all of the waste heat
that burning 1.33 gallons of gasoline per minute can generate.
Everything about the engine is superlative.
And it is remarkably compact.
It measures just 710 mm (27 inches) long, 889 mm (35 inches) wide and
730 mm (28.7 inches) high.
This is the beauty of Bugatti's W-16 approach --
the engineers managed to fit 1,000 hp into a reasonably sized package.
In order to harness all of this horsepower and torque, you need an amazing transmission...