McLaren vs Bugatti: the 200 HP design decision

Bugatti Veyron GSVJalopnik recently reported that Bugatti of Beverly Hills has ordered up a custom 1,200 horsepower Grand Sport Vitesse, apparently as a response to rumors that McLaren’s latest supercar, said to have “1000 HP” (with a 200 HP KERS-like functionality), will make an appearance the Pebble Beach Concours.

To achieve a 200 HP increase for the 1200 HP Veyron Super Sport, Bugatti fitted larger turbochargers and new intercoolers to handle an increase of boost from 1.2 bar (17.4 psi) to 1.5 bar (21.8 psi). Improvements to cooling were also required to handle the additional power, which also meant that the aerodynamics had to be re-engineered.

If McLaren is introducing hybrid technology it is an interesting departure from the MP4-12C and an even greater departure from the simple-is-reliable-and-driving-experience-must-come-first ethos of the F1. The F1 was about acceleration and driver feedback as opposed to mind-numbing top speed figures of the Veyron.

The McLaren KERS system will definitely help in acceleration, perhaps in certain dynamics (e.g. intelligent torque vectoring), but not likely for top speed. Bugatti would not have considered something like that for the Super Sport as the top speed increase would not have been significant.

The McLaren and Bugatti will undoubtedly be compared by the press and some customers (other customers will just buy one of each…), but they are very different in intended design.

As enthusiasts we can decide how to best increase the power of our cars by 200-odd horsepower but most likely it will more along the lines of Bugatti than McLaren. If KERS-like features become more commonplace on affordable cars then you can be sure that enthusiasts will find a way to boost performance in new and interesting ways.

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