Thursday, November 17, 2005

New meaning to 'Fast Food'

For more than a couple of years now the whole motoring community have been gripped in anticipation. Since VW boss, Mr Piech in 2001 announced to the world about his dream car, and how it would be out in 2003, a lot of people just thought he was crazy. A 1000 hp 250mph (that’s 400kmh, 400!!!) car? You must be kidding me. It’s just a fantasy, no way is any car going to achieve that kind of speeds. It made mission impossible look like child’s play.

And true to his promise, albeit 2 and a half years late and after losing his job as VW’s top man, the Bugatti Veyron was unveiled to the public. A 987 hp (1001 PS), 8000cc W16 quad-turbo beast of a car, big numbers with seriously big implications. V max is electronically limited (I kid you not!) to 253mph or 407kmh. The powertrain produces 922 lb-ft at 2200-5000rpm, giving enough acceleration to go nought to sixty in just a mere 2.5 seconds. 200mph in 7.3 seconds. 7.3 seconds! A Mclaren F1 which goes up to 240mph takes longer just to reach 200mph from 100mph, heck, even pronouncing my name takes longer than that.

The most remarkable thing about this car is that even though it looks huge and clumsy, the handling is crisp and clean up to (according to VW) relatively low speeds of 180mph. The whole car actually weighs less then 2tonnes, amazing, especially with that huge 16 cylinder heart it has inside, which helps the handling. At those speeds, the rear spoilers and aero kits produce a total downforce in excess of 350kg. However, to go faster than that, the driving mode needs to change, and the aero kits and the spoilers configures themselves to reduce drag. At maximum speed, the downforce would reduce to only 50kg, where no cornering is recommended, unless you suddenly get the urge to go airborne.

The interior reflects the kind of elegant and smart design you expect in buying an £800,000 car, with the centre console obviously becoming the focal point. I personally hate that flashy centre console; it looks like something that came from the DMC Delorian in Back to the Future. Apart from that, very nice.

Overall, it is a real masterclass of engineering. I can only imagine the amount of hours spent in designing the cooling system for that W16, don’t forget the four turbochargers as well. That doesn’t include controlling the aerodynamics of the car, especially going at those speeds. This is definitely a great advert to engineering. Kudos to VW’s engineering excellence.

Say, if I had £800 big ones lying around somewhere in my back pocket, would I buy one? Erm…unfortunately not. Let me list a few reasons why.

There’s actually not very much I can do with that 1000hp at my disposal. I mean, of course I can go up to 250mph, but I need a frickin’ long straight runaway to do it, and unless I go to specialised tracks, or probably Antarctica, there’s no place to actually reach those speeds.
The total amount of power from the engine is actually 3000hp. But 2/3 of that is lost to thermal dissipation through the cooling system and exhaust, and only 1000hp is transmitted to the road. That is a really inefficient engine, I tell you. Would be sad to see all those energy go to waste, especially since the energy comes from petrol, and with current prices, I think not.

But the main reason for me not buying this monstrosity is because of its looks. I know it looks cool, and very ‘garang’, but the more I look at it the more it resembles a slab of meat. I mean, I know the Germans love their meat, but to actually design a car to look like one seems quite ridiculous. And what’s with the Bugatti logo? It looks like one of those logos you see on canned food. Something like ‘Heinz’ or ‘SPAM’. £800,000 for a can of meat? I don’t think so.

It just gives a new meaning to the term ‘fast food’, doesn't it?!?!

Bugatti Veyron 16.4

Price: £839,000

Engine: 7993 cc 64-valve W16, quad-turbo

Power Output: 1001 PS/987 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 922 lb/ft @ 2200-5000 rpm

Weight: 4612lb/1913kg

0-62 mph: 2.5 seconds

Top Speed: 252 mph/407kmh

Fuel Consumption: 11.7 mpg combined

Emissions CO2: 574g/km


Blogger iamamonkeysoareyou said...


7:35 am  
Blogger Jack Red said...

I was thinking about thermal 250mph, there's no way in hell you would want to run one giant or four small air-to-air intercoolers. The onyl solution would be water-to-air, which doesn't make much sense: if the engine is running THAT hot, it's only going to be reasonably efficient for a short amount of time before the water gets too damn hot to work.

So...tell me again why they bothered to make it quad-turbo'd? The acceleration, as absolutely cool as it is, is utterly useless. Like you said, you'd need an enormous straight in order to make the 0-200mph into a practical ability.

How about...make less than 3000hp. Make less than 1000hp. Use shorter gears, have it top out at around 170 or so, give it a 1/4-mile et in the sub-10 range. Make the car even lighter by using a smaller engine. Translate lighter weight into more useful speed and even better handling.

Because, as it appears to me, as cool as this car may be, it amounted to these guys acting like 8-year-olds with engineering degrees. You know how kids sometimes go, "Look what I can do!", right?

7:48 am  
Blogger Jack Red said...

Oh, I just had a brain wave. Why not rig up nitrous oxide sprayers on our supposed intercoolers in order to cool them down when things get really hot? Of course, nitrous oxide is very, very expensive, and we'd need a quite a few tanks to be able to do this for any longer than a few seconds, but if someone can afford this car to start with...well, they can afford to buy a N20-producing company to keep the car in happy gas.

7:54 am  
Blogger speed junkie said...

Hey Jack, some good comments there. You're absolutely right man, everything about the car is inpractical. But I don't blame the engineers. They had to do everything they can to fulfil the CEO's words of a 1000hp 250mph car. If the engineers didn't manage to come out with the car, there goes their credibility as the biggest auto group in Europe. So the 8 year old with an engineering degree you're referring to is the ex-CEO Mr. Piech. No wonder he got sacked!

NOx in the intercoolers is a really good idea. Unfortunately, it's bad for the environment. Although it's hot for the underground street racing scene, it can't be used by major OEMs, as again reputation is paramount. Probably just using pure liquid nitrogen would help? That would be so cool! (the 8 year old in me is screaming to get out!)

9:11 am  
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7:54 pm  
Anonymous Bugatti said...

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4:34 pm  

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