17 November 2003

This dramatic-looking Lamborghini Diablo is being used by Bugatti to complete development of the quad turbocharged eight-litre W16 engine earmarked for the Veyron out next year.

The battle-scarred prototype, carrying registration plates from Bugatti’s engineering base in Braunschweig, Germany, has been extensively modified to carry the new quad-cam, 64-valve powerplant along with the seven-speed gearbox and four-wheel-drive hardware of the £693,000 Veyron supercar.

Substantial changes tothe Lamborghini’s bodywork are designed to replicate the airflow and ducting of the svelte new Bugatti, which is said to accelerate from 0-60mph in just 2.9sec and hit 252mph flat out – figures which mean it would leapfrog the seminal McLaren F1 to make it the fastest road car in history.

Sources close to incoming Bugatti president Thomas Bscher say recent work on the Veyron has concentrated on an advanced new engine management system supplied by German specialist Bosch.It is said to include unique programming designed to ensure the engine’s enormous 987bhp and 922lb ft of torque are ‘delivered in a way that will not scare the driver witless’.

Secrecy surrounds the new system, though it is thought to use algorithms that effectively quell any judicious use of the throttle by operating in tandem with the car’s stability control system. It instantly retards the ignition when the driver applies big jabs of the throttle that could unsettle the car.

‘The delivery is very important. It must be cultured and progressive, otherwise the torque could play havoc with the driveline,’ said our well-placed source.

Eyewitness reports say the massive Bugatti engine, which erupts though four oversized exhausts on this Diablo prototype, operates with all the aural intensity of a full-blown Le Mans racer.

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