Automobile

Listen to a 14-Liter, Naturally Aspirated V16 Blow Past 1,400 HP on the Dyno

You can get massive power from small engines, at least for a little while. Turbochargers and nitrous will get you there, just maybe not every time. Finding a reliable way to get more than 1,000 horsepower is a bit of a challenge, and it’s why the aptly named engine builder Sixteen (XVI) Power decided to take a shot at something different.

The Detroit-area company doesn’t need forced induction to make big power—although it does build supercharged engines—it just adds cylinders. One of its latest products, a 1,415-horsepower naturally aspirated V16, proves this point. With 14 liters of displacement and LS-based architecture, it’s a reliable, albeit expensive way to make four-figure horsepower reliably. It also sounds ridiculous, in case you were curious.

XVI isn’t just some garage shop welding LS7s together. The end product is based on LS-architecture, sure, but the block is a single-piece custom casting poured for the company at a local Detroit foundry. The crankshaft and camshaft are also custom, machined from massive steel billets.

The engine’s designers have experience making V16s happen as well. One of them, Caleb Newman, worked on the V16 for the Cadillac Sixteen concept which was unveiled back in 2003. While laboring away on that motor, he learned a few things about how to make a good 16-cylinder engine. Speaking to Hemmings in early 2020, Robinson said that designing a V16 is similar to designing a straight-eight, and offers similar challenges.

For instance, Cadillac’s Sixteen engine had just two cylinder heads, one per bank. That’s fine on a V8 or V6, but unbelievably heavy on a V16. For this reason, his design uses four seperate cylinder heads. This also allows for vital space in the middle of the engine to place the water pump, as starting the cooling loop at the front doesn’t work very well on an engine that’s eight cylinders long.


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