Bugatti won't have a new W16 engine, hints on making it more powerful

Article by Christian A., on September 12, 2018

When Bugatti Automobiles unveiled the new Bugatti Divo, it announced that this new performance monster would be powered by the carmaker’s eight-liter W16 engine that provides 1,500 PS of output. Boasting of 16 cylinders in W formation – hence its name – the W16 is the same source of power for the Bugatti Chiron. The hypercar before the Chiron, the Bugatti Veyron, also had a W16 as its core.

Now, a source of pride at Bugatti, the W16 engine inside the Divo and the Chiron will have no replacement. This was revealed to CarAdvice by no less than the chief executive of Bugatti Automobiles, Stephan Winkelmann. The hypercar maker’s top honcho said that that there would be no new 16-cylinder engine, and the W16 will be the last of its kind.

Make no mistake; the W16 is still alive and kicking. It has been so since it was first installed under the hood of the Bugatti Veyron in 2005 or 13 years ago. In the first iteration of the Veyron, this W16 engine was tuned to deliver 1,001 PS (736 kW or 987 hp) of max output and 1,250 Nm (922 lb.-ft.) of peak torque. The final installment of the Veyron – the Bugatti Grand Sport Vitesse – had the W16 mill develop 1,200 PS (880 kW or 1,200 hp) of max output and 1,500 Nm (1,100 lb.-ft.) of peak torque.

When the Bugatti Chiron arrived in 2015, the W16 engine underneath its hood can deliver up to 1,500 PS (1,103 kW or 1,479 hp) of power output and 1,600 Nm (1,180 lb.-ft.) of peak torque. In the more agile and more aggressive-looking Bugatti Divo, the W16 retains its power output.

Power output of the W16 has been steadily surging, and time will come that this iconic engine will have to die an honorable death. But before that happens, Winkelmann hinted that Bugatti may further expand its W16 engine. He noted that because of the huge enthusiasm for the W16 engine and the desire of customers to continue its development, Bugatti will do its best to keep it alive.

Winkelmann admitted that the race for more power is not over as many people still considers it as important. This may imply that Bugatti’s top man might look for ways to make the W16 engine more powerful before it meets its demise.

Nonetheless, Winkelmann admitted to CarAdvice that Bugatti may have to take radical steps with regards to its W16 engine sooner or later, as forced by legislation. He could be referring to future emissions rules or legislations. He remarked that if Bugatti would change and still be on the edge with advanced technology, it is important to choose the right moment to change.

Nonetheless, any new propulsion technology – including electrification and hybridization -- will have to deliver level of performance that is at par with that of the W16, before they could be employed on Bugatti’s future hypercars, Winkelmann said. Likewise, electrified powertrains with their batteries need to be lightweight enough to be considered as suitable for a Bugatti. Winkelmann noted that any electrified solution should be accepted and credible to Bugatti’s customers.

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Topics: bugatti, engine

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