The Bugatti Chiron is probably the single most complex production car there has ever been. Small wonder, then, that the test and development program is still going on, almost as the first production cars are in-build.
This past summer was spent road tripping, I mean conducting hot weather testing in the southwestern deserts of the United States. Four Chirons were dispatched to Los Angeles where their journey began. Over four and a half weeks, the team tracked north to Sacramento, then south through Yosemite National Park, Death Valley, and Las Vegas to Phoenix, Arizona. From there the convoy headed east to Monument Valley, Utah, then journey’s end in Denver, Colorado.
The four Chirons covered a total of 21,750 miles (35,000) kilometers, in temperatures up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit (51.5 degrees Celsius). It’s vital work, as the Chiron’s monstrous engine generates a truly vast amount of heat.
The 8.0-liter, quad-turbo, W16 motor produces an astonishing 1,500 horsepower (1,119 kilowatts) and 1,180 pound-feet (1600 Newton meters) of torque. Which makes it the most powerful production car engine in history. The forces involved in producing that much power generate massive quantities of heat by themselves. But also consider the coolant pump, which can circulate 211 gallons (800 liters) of liquid every minute. Or the charge cooling system, which can move 15,850 gallons (60,000 liters) of air every minute. These systems also produce a lot of heat.
Then there’s the gearbox, the differentials, the oil pump, the hydraulic pump, and so on, and so on. Dealing with the heat all those vital elements generate is a huge engineering challenge. So the Chiron has no less than 10 radiators.
But internal heat is only part of the story. Those radiators have to keep all the systems cool even when they are being baked by extreme external temperatures. Even if you’re shooting for the 270 miles per hour (435 kilometers per hour) top speed. Hence the need to spend a month cruising deserts. On the company credit card. You know, test engineers will often say their job is arduous and boring. But videos like this blow that assertion out of the water. What gearhead wouldn't want to be on this road trip?