Engineering Explained: 3 Reasons Why The Bugatti Veyron Is Inferior To The Toyota Prius

Car buyers are often conflicted with purchasing something practical that gets good mileage, or something with a fun button that makes you smile when you punch the gas pedal. When faced with this dilemma, allow this guide to help you decide between the Prius and the Veyron

Remind me later
Bugatti - Engineering Explained: 3 Reasons Why The Bugatti Veyron Is Inferior To The Toyota Prius - Japanese

Let’s make it a fair fight, and allow for three rounds between the competitors: vehicle specifications, engine technology, and the ability to attract the opposite sex.

Round 1: Vehicle Specifications

Bugatti VeyronToyota Prius
Base MSRP$1,657,700$24,200
Curb Weight (lb)44863072
Drag Coefficient0.390.25
EPA Estimated City Fuel Economy851
Fuel Capacity (gal)26.411.9
Seating Capacity25
Headroom (Front)3638.6
Legroom (Front)4442.5
Cargo Volume (cu ft)121.6
Turning Circle Diameter39.334.2
Number of gears7Infinite
Number of speakers86

For the same price of one Veyron, 67 of my closest friends and I can all be driving a vehicle that saves six times the amount of fuel in a car with incredible aerodynamics, infinite gears, and space for a couple of sets of golf clubs (rather than a gallon of milk). The Veyron does have two extra speakers though, so it’s got that going for it.

I’m with you though. Golf is boring, and who needs more than one gallon of milk? That said, the Veyron is as aerodynamic as a Chevy Tahoe (lots of radiators to feed) and weighs 1400 lbs (635kg) more than a Prius, so round one goes to the hybrid.

Round 1 Winner: Toyota Prius

Surely the Veyron’s sophisticated W16 engine will put the Prius to shame. Let’s take a look at how it works first:

Round 2: Engine Technology

Bugatti VeyronToyota Prius
LayoutW16I4
Engine Size (L)81.8
Horsepower1001134
Torque (lb-ft)922153
Number of Turbochargers40
Engine Weight (lb)882Not 6 of me
Recommended FuelPremiumRegular
Expansion Ratio9.0:113.0:1
Regen BrakingNoYes
Throttle ResponseTurbo LagInstant Electric Torque
Engine CycleOttoAtkinson

So the Prius has a sky-high expansion ratio (allowing for efficient power production), matched with an electric motor providing instant torque from a standstill. It can also regenerate energy while braking, all while using cheaper regular octane fuel. That all sounds very technical, so round two goes to the Prius and its ever-efficient Atkinson cycle.

Round 2 Winner: Toyota Prius

What is the Atkinson cycle? Check out this video to learn more about hybrid engines:

Round 3: Attracting The Opposite Sex

For this section, I interviewed a couple of my female friends to determine whether or not they would prefer to ride in a Veyron or a Prius. Surely the Veyron will win in sex appeal? (G1 = Girl 1)

EE: “Would you prefer a car that has 1000 horsepower, or one that has 134?”
G1: ‘Whichever drowns fewer polar bears’.

Ah, polar bear lover, I should have known this one would have gone to the Prius. Every time a Veyron is flatfooted, an alpine buddy slips off his ever-shrinking ice. Okay, going to have to alter the format.

EE: “Okay, picture this. You and I head out on a date, we’ve got plenty of great food and are on our way to a nearby park. Wouldn’t it be awesome to roll up in a Bugatti?”
G2: “Can I bring my dog?”
EE: “Well… no, I mean, it can’t fit.”
G2: “Do you have another car?”
EE: “Yes, I mean, we could take the Prius, but-“
G2: “Oooh, yes let’s take that!”
EE: “But it-“
G2: ‘Fits my dog, exactly!’

Okay, two women are clearly unimpressed by an environmentally unfriendly, dog-free ride. Clearly my understanding of women is limited, and this is a losing battle. Ashamedly, round three goes to the Prius.

Round 3 Winner: Toyota Prius

Bugatti - Engineering Explained: 3 Reasons Why The Bugatti Veyron Is Inferior To The Toyota Prius - Japanese

Personal opinion: which would I prefer?

Let’s take a quick moment to glance through some maintenance maths, and pretend we drive a Veyron 10,000 (incredibly fast) miles per year. Bugatti recommends changing the tyres every 2500 miles, costing $40,000 (£25,600) for the set. Let’s say we have it serviced (oil change & inspection) twice a year, each costing a trivial $20,000 (£12,800). The wheels must also be inspected regularly for cracks/imbalances, with a recommended replacement interval of 10,000 miles. So now we’re well over $200,000 (£128,000) and we’re not including fuel (which seems cheap, all of a sudden) or insurance (good luck with that one).

For the same price of simply maintaining a Veyron annually, you could either buy a pair of Vipers, a pair of GT-Rs, a couple of R8s, or a Ferrari 458 (not to mention a dozen Prii), all of which don’t have maintenance costs nearly as outrageous.

Alright, I’m convinced. Hand over the Toyota keys - though the Bugatti Chiron is just over the horizon; no doubt with an overwhelming desire to finally one-up the Prius.