If you love sheer power, and you want a car that produces 1,000 bhp, you now have three to choose from - and that is without going to the tuners like Ruf ofr Callaway, who will get this much power from engines that are currently in the 500- 700 bhp range. The three in the 1000 bhp club are the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, the Bristol Fighter T, and the Koenigsegg CCXR. Theoretically, these are all good for 250 mph in theory, but not in practice.
First on the scene was the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, the world's fastest and most powerful exotic car, with a top speed of 248 mph.
The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is quite an engineering masterpiece, with a W-16 8.0 liter cylinder engine mid-mounted driving through a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox to all four wheels - four-wheel drive is definitely a good idea with this amount of power. Not only is it immensely fast, but with four-wheel drives it is very stable. It has ceramic brake discs and an air brake to help you slow down from over 125 mph. A very surprising addition to the 1,000 bhp plus club is the Bristol Fighter T, which has an engine developing 1,012 bhp, just 11 more than the Bugatti! This is a front-engine, rear-drive car designed for high-speed touring. To be precise, the V-10 engine in the Fighter T whacks out 1,012 bhp at 5,600 rpm. Bristol says that the top speed of the car is around 270 mph, but it has a limiter at 225 mph, which is just 4,.500 rpm in top! Not many will be made, making this a really exotic car.
Acceleration is not as good as you might expect - or maybe it is just modesty at Bristol Cars - at 'under 3.5 seconds' whereas the Bugatti Veyron is well under 3 seconds. The difference is largely academic - like the top speeds - but a mid-engined four-wheel drive car will accelerate more quickly than a front-engined rear-drive car. The Bristol Fighter just doesn't have enough weight on the rear wheels to get under 3 seconds.
Twin turbo V-10:
How did they get this huge amount of power? Well, like the other Bristol Fighters, the T has a tuned Chrysler V-10 engine of 8 liters. For the Fighter T they have added a pair of water-cooled turbochargers to almost double power so they could exceed that magic 1,000 bhp figure, getting 1,012 bhp at 5,600 rpm, with 1,036 lb ft (1,400 Nm) of torque at 4,500 rpm. That is quite a high speed for maximum torque, but the engine still produces a massive 800 lb ft (1,080 Nm) of torque from 3,000 rpm, upward. The Bristol Fighter S has a top speed of over 200 mph, partly owing to good aerodynamics, but The Fighter T is an absolute stormer with a power-to-weight ratio of about 600 bhp per ton and a top speed of well, you name it!
Koenigsegg CCXR runs on ethanol:
Now, along comes Koenigsegg with the Koenigsegg CCXR, based on the CCX supercar, but now this version is able to run on ethanol biofuel - E85. Because ethanol has an octane rating of over 100 RON - like racing fuel in the 30s - it gives more power than gasoline, as Saab has demonstrated. In the Koenigsegg CCXR, power is up from 806 bhp - more than enough for almost everyone - to 1,018 bhp! Peak torque is an incredible 780 lb ft (1,060 Nm) at 6,100 rpm. That's 25% more power. With ethanol, power increases of 15-25% can be obtained for any engine so long as it is optimised with high compression ratio and other changes. In other words, don't just pull up at a gas station, put ethanol in your tank and get 20% more power. It doesn't work unless the engine is designed to run on it. But that is not so difficult to do, and with George Bush trying to get more ethanol used in the USA, expect more to follow this route. After all, almost everyone loves power, even if they drive a car that is not very fast.
John Hartley is editor of http://www.fast-autos.com, an online magazine devoted to fast cars and supercars, where you can read the latest articles about fast cars. He has written from many of the world's top auto magazines, and has written many books about cars and the auto industry, including 'Suspension and Steering Q&A' and 'The Electronics Revolution in the Motor Industry'.