If you're an unknown car manufacturer, there's a sure fire way to get the entire planet talking about you: you simply release a crazy new hypercar, and quote figures that are so outrageous, they immediately inspire everyone to shout "bullshit" in pure denial. Luckily, the Devel Sixteen was unveiled at the Dubai Motor Show, where such outbursts of profanity can land a non-local jail time.
Anyone who keeps the vaguest touch on the ever-capricious pulse of the automotive world will've heard of the Devel Sixteen, and either been taken completely aghast by it, or seen through it with eyes of realism. The raw numbers to grab your attention are as follows: a 12.3L Quad-Turbo V16 capable of developing 5000bhp. To save you from the recurring task of counting the zeros in denial, that's five-thousand brake-horsepower. I understand if you've gone into a bit of a trance at that – but do try to stay with me, because it gets better.
Apparently, that power makes it good for 0-60mph in 1.8 seconds, and a top speed of around 350mph. Are you impressed yet? Well, if you are, then I'm afraid you shouldn't be, because right about now, the Devel Sixteen is nothing more than a series of numbers plucked out of someone's arsehole.
The engine and power are genuine. Running 36psi of boost, the engine has been tested up to 4515bhp – at which point the dyno lost the will to live, and could no longer register any more horses. But while that power figure is undoubtedly impressive, as far as my extensive research tells me, it's never been legitimately put through its paces while bolted into the actual car. But that's hardly surprising really.
I imagine every time someone is asked to test a 5000 horsepower car from a company with no engineering credence to their name, their answer sounds something like "fuck off, I don't want to die today!" It's all very well producing a 5000 horsepower car, but the level of expertise that is required in order to put that kind of power on the road in a usable and safe package stretches ineffably beyond the bounds of what's actually possible.
Of course, there's nothing particularly concrete to suggest my lack of faith for the overall execution of the Sixteen is justified. Yet there's no evidence either to suggest that I'm wrong. In fact, looking over the other details of the car, you find that despite the fact it has the power of a dragster, it's actually a frighteningly simple machine.
The Quad-Turbo V16 may be a thing of God-beating power, but it's left to fend with just 2 valves per cylinder. A valvetrain so rudimentary, we Europeans had begun to move away from it in the 70's. Not only that, but the attention-zapping 5000bhp is sent to the rear wheels alone via a 4 speed automatic gearbox. Oh, and one more thing: the weight of the car sits at just over 2.3 tonnes (5,070lbs) - making it about as heavy as the Himalayas. It doesn't take someone with much of an understanding of automotive dynamics to get the impression that, if the Devel Sixteen ever was to make it into production, changing direction at speed probably wouldn't be its greatest skill.
In all honesty though, I very much doubt the Devel Sixteen will ever come to fruition. That's not me being cynical – that's me being very much realistic. The Sixteen was dreamt up in a part of the world where important people are accustomed to acquiring their most ambitious desires by simply snapping their fingers. It was this approach that built the Burj Khalifa, and the Palm Islands. But building a 5000 horsepower supercar is – to put it mildly – a challenge far greater than a mere finger-snap could ever muster.
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If you want to build the tallest skyscraper in the world, you apply and scale up the same techniques builders and architects have been using for decades; if you want to build the best hotel, you emulate the opulence of all that've gone before, and add more luxury and convenience. But approach the job of building a 5000 horsepower car by thinking it can be done in a manner akin to the cars of the past, and you will end up with an undrivable monstrosity.
The Devel Sixteen does prove that you can get 5000 horsepower out of a car. What it doesn't prove however is that it can be executed with the usability and approachability such a vehicle would require. And that is exactly why it will never be produced.
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Written by: Angelo Uccello
Tribe: Speed Machines
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