By on May 20, 2010

A few years ago, if I had told you that there would be a production car available with 1000 horses, you’d have probably said “Get lost, Cammy!” Well, in this age of electric cars, hybrids, clean diesels and climate change (it’s a crock of what, Mr Lutz?), what if I were to tell you that there is a production car with 1200 hp on the horizon? What would you say, then? Hold the straight-jacket …

The Austrian site Motorline (that’s Austrian?) reports that Volkswagen Chairman and everyone’s favorite megalomaniac, Ferdinand Piech, made an off-the-cuff remark during a lecture at the TU in Vienna, Austria. He said that back home, there is an all new car with 1200 hp. As a Polo with that power is unlikely, this will be the next evolution of the Bugatti Veyron, the one with 1001 hp (987 bhp). Koenigsegg tried to upstage the Veyron, such as with the flex fuel CCXR (1079 hp.) As we all know, Herr Piech doesn’t play second fiddle to anyone. Just ask Wendelin Wiedeking. When more details of the arms race become available, we’ll report them. And if Edward Niedermeyer is reading this, I’ll happily test drive this for TTAC. Piech said he had already driven the car and that he can vouch for its qualities as a daily driver. Honestly, he said that, according to Motorline. (Some Austrian required.)

(Possible insect in the ointment: Motorline says Bugatti would “increase power by 2 percent.” According to Motorline’s calculation, 2 percent added to 1000 horses equals 1,200. A case of Austrian math? But then, would a Piech mention piteous 20 ponies?)

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23 Comments on “Piech Wants More Power...”

  • avatar
    H Man

    I think VW is holding back with the Veyron. I mean, 16 cylinders and four turbos producing LESS hp (not to mention per tonne) than tiny little one-bald-man-groups like Koeniggsegg and *gasp* Shelby using half the cylinders and turbos? Remember, the stats were arbitrary. Heir Piech could have probably said 1,500 hp to start with and VW could have eventually succeeded.

    This way, VW can release incremental “upgrades” to the uber-bug, and keep reelin’ in the sheiks. Put the upstarts out of business, and stay at the very top. Why blow it all up front? It keeps in line with what the Veyron is in the first place: insane, impractical, outlandishly expensive, and, well, hilarious.

    • 0 avatar

      “One-bald-man” supercar makers rather famously skimp on the kinds of durability testing that’s standard at any major automaker. Modding an engine to insane power levels is not complicated. There are guys driving around in Camaros with 1000+ more-or-less-street-legal hp. But building a motor that meets global emissions standards, starts right away in temps from -20 to 120 degrees F, and stays bolted together for 200k miles is a little more complicated.

  • avatar

    Power isn’t everything. GTR beats the Veyon around the Ring. It’s exclusive but it’s so damn ugly, I mean, compare to Aston Martin 77. I remember reading somewhere the Veyon is unreliable as hell. Some dude had to fly the Veyon cause it’s that unreliable.

    Maybe it’s me, but I don’t get why they’re still upgrading this model and whoring out new editions. This makes me appreciate Aston Martin much more.

    • 0 avatar

      It wasn’t the reliability of the car, but rather how much it cost to operate per mile, that caused the guy to fly it to where he wanted to track it. The tires, even under normal driving conditions, don’t last very long. A few thousand miles, I think. They’re made exclusively for the car and the PAX system requires special mounting/dismounting equipment found only at the factory. I imagine all of the exotic oils and fluids in the car also require fairly frequent checking and changing as well, and in grand volkswagen tradition, the car doesn’t look like it was designed to be serviced, so add bespoke labor costs to that.

      Veyrons are likely to be very rarely driven and serviced (maintenance-wise) very often so any potential issues resulting from deferred maintenance or simple issues can be headed off when the car is being worked on. I wonder how the Veyrons in the gulf are holding up.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    It’s not really much of a feat these days to find 20% more ponies from an 8L+ 16 with four turbos, especially since the car’s purchase price covers a lot more than a Jacobs Engineering ignition module, Superchips ECM upgrade, K&N filter and bigger fuel nozzles. The trouble with a power agenda on a 1001hp mill is that adding 200 more is only 20%. It’s not power that should be feeding Piech’s ego. Do some real engineering structurally. The relevant matter is speed and ability to manage the mass underway. I’d be a LOT more impressed if Piech put his effort into making the car 20% or 30% lighter, so the kiloponies mill sufficed and the dynamic behavior was more graceful.


    • 0 avatar
      H Man

      Agreed, and I stand by my assertion that VW is holding back. Remember, when the Veyron was launched in ’06, there was nothing close to it in sheer HP. Wait a few years, let a few upstarts with racing blocks and massive turbos “beat” the Veyron in hp and (purely theoretical) top speed, and VOILA! Veyron 2.0 with 1,250 hp. Wait a few years, let a few upstarts with racing blocks and bigger massive turbos “beat”….. etc etc.

      Ending with the Bugatti Veyron Kubrick limited edition with the obvious HP figure.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d be a LOT more impressed if Piech put his effort into making the car 20% or 30% lighter, so the kiloponies mill sufficed and the dynamic behavior was more graceful.

      The whole point of this car is as a 400km/h transport pod. Anything else (besides other people knowing that you own a 400km/h transport pod) is kind of moot. Lightness is kind of lost on people, or is reserved for the Koeniseggneggweggegg that’s parked beside the Veyron in their eighteen-car garage.

      The next step, fairly obviously, is to try to crack something like 500km/h. Or an in-car wine bar. Or an autopilot along the lines of Black Velveteen.

    • 0 avatar

      Making the car lighter isn’t going to do anything for its top speed, which is really the Veyron’s bragging point. It’s all aerodynamics and power when you’re making a car go that fast.

  • avatar

    I shouldn’t be surprised. Piech headed the Porsche 917 development back in the 60’s and 70’s, the flat-12 917-30 was tweaked into 1100 hp, and as much as 1580 hp in qualifying use. And that was 40 years ago…

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly Ingvar,

      Anybody with a few IQ points can get more HP than a Veyron. Been doable since I’ve been breathin’. So what?

      Emissions and drivability are a bit tougher, but it’s really all about perception, flexibility in varying temps, and longetivity.

  • avatar

    Obviously they put one of those ‘tornado’ things in the air intake.

  • avatar

    Adding power is no big deal, that thing could easily make 2000 ponies and lose its streetable nature. The problem is the drivetrain’s limitation and cooling.

    Stand next to a Veyron at a track and you’ll feel just how much heat gets expelled from its multiple radiators. The limiting factor isn’t the engine…and OEM engineers have a fun road ahead of them.

    • 0 avatar


      I was thinking the same thing, that waste heat management is a practical barrier to insane levels of hp, at least for a road car.

      There’s a documentary about the Veyron that runs on TLC (I think). They make the point that the Veyron W16 makes about 2000 hp in waste heat and that the first time they ran it in a test cell at VW’s engine facility in Salzgitter it set the exhaust stacks on the roof on fire. The engine cooling system has 4 dedicated radiators plus there are an additional 6 radiators for the turbo intercooler etc. Forget stainless steel exhausts, the Veyron’s exhaust is made from titanium, which can handle higher temperatures and has an almost infinite fatigue strength.

      Apparently, in early development, the exhaust gases from the Veyron were so hot at 200mph+ that they ignited atmospheric oxygen when they exited the tailpipes, and the car was trailing 6ft flames.

      A car like the Veyron would actually be a practical application of BMW’s turbosteamer concept. Essentially, by using a Rankin cycle engine (aka “steam engine”), hooked by chain to the crankshaft, powered with heat recovered from the exhaust and engine cooling system, BMW was able to get a 10-15% boost in power and fuel efficiency.

      It’s really a rather elegant idea, particularly as it takes care of all engine cooling on the condenser side of the Rankin cycle, and has both high (water based coolant) and low (ethanol based coolant) temperature circuits to extract every last btu that they can.

      When BMW announced the project a few years ago, from what I gathered from a BMW rep at the NAIAS the turbosteamer used some rather pricey ceramics and other materials. Five years ago BMW said it might take 10 years to have it ready for production – at the time it was just running on a test bed, though it was already small enough to fit in a normal vehicle.

      Since the Veyron is pretty much a price-no-object project and product, it might make sense – not that Piech will use technology from BMW.

    • 0 avatar


      As far as my real world experience goes, Ti is surely lighter than Inconel, but hardly necessary from a heat perspective (it’s melting point is only about 300F beyond Inconel). And Ti is a PITA compared to Inconel (which is already a PITA).

      I’m not aware of the F1 app that has gone past Inconel (save for going CF) – it works just fine glowing red hot down the straights – and Ti has plenty of disadvantages.

      As one can reliably achieve 1HP/CC+ with Inconel exhaust, why would one choose Ti, as most Ti alloys transfer heat far more readily than Inconel/Monel?

      Especially in a force-inducted scenario, where less heat loss via the headers yields increased turbine velocities/acceleration rates?

  • avatar

    Why not just get a Gulfstream V and go really fast expensively? With a little study and hard work, you can even drive it yourself. And, you can take a few friends along for the ride to an actual destination rather than out into the desert and back to Dubai.

    • 0 avatar

      From what I gather, most of the potential customers for the Veyron and future Bugattis already own a Gulfstream or some other private jet.

      For very wealthy people, the cost of a Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Lamborghini or even a Bugatti is significantly less than they’ve spent on big yachts or vacation homes.

      Al Gore just spent $9 million on a home in Montecito, California.

      From what I understand, Gulfstream treats its customers better than Bugatti.

    • 0 avatar

      True that. A $1MM car is less than the cost of an annual on one’s 737…

  • avatar

    Well, the only market segment Piech can show his talent and dominance are the one no other car marker would like to be in (due to financial calculations).

    If you have some engineering background, you would know it’s not hard to make a 1000hp car losing money. It’s much much harder to produce a 200hp car and still make money.

    If Toyota/Honda/Nissan/GM/Ford intend to lose as much money, they can build equally good or even better super cars. As a matter of fact, the LF-A would be just as fast for 99% of the buyers and light years more reliable at 15% of the cost.

  • avatar

    Actually, the LF-A is overpriced and slow. It makes a pathetic amount of horsepower for its price, and can just barely beat a GT-R in a straight line. Its gotta hurt to spend $400K on a super Lexus and lose off the line to a Corvette or 911.

    • 0 avatar

      Typical Corvette and 911 turbo 0-60 figures are obtained by clutch-drop at a high rpm. Both the Veyron and the LF-A have automatics.

      Install auto boxes on Corvette and 911 turbo before you compare, or add 1 second to the 0-60 figure.

      BTW, 911 turbo aren’t cheap to begin with. Saying a 911 turbo is as fast as the LF-A, is like saying the Impreza STI is as fast as a regular 911. Yes, the numbers are close, but …

    • 0 avatar

      Autobox? Ok, done. 2010 911 TurboS, PDK-equipped ONLY, 0-100km/h in 3.3s, 0-200km/h in 10.8s. The LFA is a full second slower to 200km/h. Not saying it isn’t an impressive car, but it is rather slow compared something so “pedestrian” as an autobox 911.

  • avatar

    An optimal clutch drop on a powerful RWD car is not that high, and automatics become the better option for drag racing as power increases. Torque converters can make for very quick launches.

    The six speed auto Corvette is within a couple tenths of the manual version for 0-60.

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