Bugatti Highlights Development of W16 . Quad-Turbo Engine Complex

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The W16 engine that powers the Bugatti Chiron is today approaching its 20th anniversary. Engineering marvels set new standards for performance when the Veyron arrived in 2005, and the car has undergone serious revisions since then that have only increased its power and dominance.

Development of the Bugatti W16 engine began as an image on the envelope in 1997. The chairman of the Board of Management of the VW Group at the time, Ferdinand Karl Piëch, first envisioned an 18-cylinder engine that would eventually be quad-turbocharged. The 8.0 liter 16 cylinder engine we know today.

The engine underwent its first tests in 2001, achieving the required output of 1,001 PS (987 horsepower / 736 kilowatts). The huge engine power required Bugatti to develop new ways to test the engine, including the engine test bench.

Engineers fly blind because, according to VW’s Head of Engine Development Karl-Heinz Neumann, “there is no literature or empirical data” for cars that can go faster than 350 kilometers per hour (217 miles per hour) with production engines with more than 12 cylinders. . One of the main hurdles during the car’s development was ensuring it remained grounded and could deliver power to the pavement.

The Bugatti Veyron and its W16 engines would not arrive until 2005, giving Bugatti engineers four years to hone the refinement and reliability of the engine, which required more technical innovation. The W16’s design made detecting misfire or engine knock difficult, so the company developed Bugatti Ion Current Sensing. It is designed to monitor each spark plug’s ion current, and it can deactivate the cylinder, slow down timing, or reduce boost pressure if it detects a knock or jam.

Bugatti 8.0-Liter Quad-Turbocharged W16 Engine
Bugatti 8.0-Liter Quad-Turbocharged W16 Engine

Bugatti upgraded the W16 engine for 2010, adding a larger turbocharger and other mods, which increased its output to 1,200 PS (1,183 hp / 882 kW). However, the engine will receive a significant increase in output with the introduction of the Chiron. Bugatti threw the old engine out the window and developed everything else like new. The new W16 produces 1,500 PS (1,479 hp / 1,102 kW), which Bugatti attributes to a turbocharger featuring new sequential turbocharging.

Today, the W16 can make 1,600 PS (1,578 hp / 1,176 kW), which you get on the Chiron Super Sport and Centodieci. It took two people six days to build the W16, which has 3,712 individual parts. Once completed, the engine left VW’s Salzgitter engine plant for Molsheim, where engineers mated it to the transmission and began final assembly of the car.

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