How Bugatti built the monstrous Chiron
11 radiators. 16 cylinders. 1,500 horses.
Bugatti is more of a work of art with four wheels than a car. And new models don’t come around very often. When one is introduced, the entire auto industry sits up and takes notice.
Introduced at the Geneva show, the Chiron receives an 8.0-liter W16 engine that uses four turbochargers to generate a jaw-dropping 1,500 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque from 2,000 all the way up to 6,000 rpm. That’s enough power to fling the carbon fiber-bodied coupe from zero to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds, from zero to 124 mph in less than 6.5 seconds, and from zero to 186 mph in 13.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 261 mph, though insiders suggest the Chiron maxes out at over 290 mph when the limiter is turned off.
Digital Trends sat down with Willi Netuschil, the head of Bugatti’s engineering department, to find out what makes the Chiron tick.
Digital Trends: Saying that the Chiron has big shoes to fill is an understatement. What was the most challenging aspect of designing it?
Willi Netuschil: The most challenging aspect was clearly to combine that much power and that much torque in a package that the driver can really control. As you can imagine, putting all that power to the ground is difficult, even with four-wheel drive. We looked into a lot of different solutions, and we ultimately developed a special two-stage turbocharging system that delivers a very straight power curve. In other words, it’s easy to control the Chiron.