Bugatti developed a special dynamometer just for its hypercars.
Why it matters
The Bugatti Chiron is too fast and powerful for a regular dyno.
Dynamometers are a huge part of the testing process for new cars as well as modified ones, with the “rolling road” devices providing exact power, torque and rpm readouts and helping immensely with powertrain calibration. Cars get strapped down to the dyno and accelerate while going through the gears, with the wheels spinning on fixed rollers that record the necessary numbers. But because Bugatti’s hypercars are so absurdly powerful the French brand had to create a special dyno of its own, and it released an awesome video of the process.
The‘s quad-turbo W16 engine officially puts out 1,578 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque, which is sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. That means Bugatti needs an all-wheel dyno as opposed to one that just measures the car at one axle, and the dyno has one large roller for each wheel instead of two small ones. Having just one point of contact more closely resembles a real road surface, plus there’s less of a loss of performance and the tires heat up less than on a two-roller dyno.
Actual speeds of up to 248 mph are achievable on Bugatti’s dyno, which is pretty nuts. At 261 mph, still 12 mph off from the Super Sport’s top speed, the tires are revolving at more than 50 times a second, exerting forces around 4,000 times higher than that of gravitational acceleration. But the dyno can simulate speeds of up 298 mph, with the car still able to safely slow down. Bugatti says the Chiron Super Sport is the only production car that can actually push the limits of this new dyno.
A 13-meter-tall fan can create airstreams of up 143 mph and moves nearly 11 million cubic feet of air per hour, helping simulate realistic weather situations, and the fan also helps provide the Chiron’s engine and other performance components with the cooling air it requires to reach such high speeds. The car’s exhaust is extracted through gates under the car, and air from the dyno is blown outside by 41-foot-tall fan towers.
The dyno itself is huge and heavy, with each roller weighing 3.5 tons. The rear axle roller can be hydraulically extended or shortened to fit the wheelbase of the car, too. Keeping the car in place is a system developed with Bugatti that features a frame and four adapter plates that are fixed to the underbody of the car’s carbon-fiber monocoque by 20 high-strength screws. The plates are attached to each other with crisscrossed chains that can handled tractive force of up to 24 tons, and there are additional ratchet straps at the sides that keep the car’s wheels perfectly fixed on the center of the rollers. All of this means the Chiron is safe to run on the dyno, even at full load and at top speed.
When the car is being run on the dyno there are two engineers inside measuring data and making sure the acceleration is as desired. Through the use of this new dyno, Bugatti discovered that the Chiron Super Sport actually makes 1,596 hp, 18 hp more than initially stated. Look, I’m no engineer — where my fellow art school dropouts at? — so all this number talk hurts my brain a little. But it’s still impressive as hell, and even if you’re in the same boat as me I implore you to at least watch the video at the top of this story. It’s freakin’ awesome.