We’ve been skeptical of the supposedly 5,000 horsepower Devel Sixteen hypercar since it was unveiled at the Dubai Motor Show back in 2013. The company even had a running one, with what was claimed to be their own V16 engine. We didn’t fall for it then, but they seem to have an engine now, and while it’s about a Veyron and a half short of the HP goal, it’s still bonkers.

The Devel Sixteen engine is being developed by Steve Morris Engines, and was formally announced yesterday. As they emailed us:

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Over the past year and a half, STEVE MORRIS ENGINES has been working quietly to develop and build a concept engine for the upcoming DEVEL SIXTEEN hypercar. When we were approached, we were asked for just three things: V-16, quad turbos, and to be the most powerful streetable engine in the world. We designed, machined, and tested this all in-house with very few exceptions (block was too large for our CNC machines, and we cannot machine a cam or crank here). This is not two V8 engines bolted together – this is a one-piece billet block, one-piece billet crankshaft, one-piece cam, our own custom billet intake manifold, custom 81mm turbochargers designed specifically for this project, etc.

There’s pictures and video, including video of the engine’s alleged dyno results: about 3,000 HP on regular pump gas, in ‘street mode’, or about 4,500 HP on race gas.

Of course, these numbers are very impressive, though honestly, virtually unusable in almost any real-world context outside of fitting it to a locomotive and hauling some grain cars full of sorghum from Oklahoma to California.

Usability-absurdity aside, it does appear to be a triumph of brute-force engineering, and the massive, one-piece billet engine block is a lovely thing to see, and might just be the first engine block in history with a URL machined into it:

So, it’s not exactly the 5,000 HP monster Devel was claiming a few years back. It’s just a simple 3,000-4,500 HP monster, which I guess is barely enough to make a viable sports car. As long as you’re content with getting to 60 MPH in a molasses-like 1.8 seconds and are willing to settle for a top speed that, while maybe not the estimated 350 claimed by their initial estimates, probably still tops 300 MPH or so. I mean, that could still get you from LA to Vegas in under an hour (if, you know, no other cars existed), so it’s probably fine.

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So, yeah, it’s a remarkable engine with four 81 mm turbos, a massive billet aluminum block and huge one-piece crankshaft, a gigantic intake manifold, and some impressive specs, absolutely.

But, like all these 1500+HP engines, it’s basically useless engineering, or at the very least engineering for engineering’s sake. What the hell is anyone going to do with one of these? Race it? I really, really doubt it. Maybe one will do a solitary drag race, which likely won’t be that much better than what any number of purpose-built big-block V8 drag cars could do.

If these end up getting built, they’ll get occasionally paraded around Dubai or Bel Air or wherever, engines will get revv’d maybe one rich idiot will put one through an In-And-Out or something, and then they’ll sit in garages, like almost every other hypercar like this.

So, it really doesn’t matter how much HP this thing makes, or what its top speed is, or even if the ones sold actually have 16 real pistons pumping in those lovely machined aluminum cylinders. Because, off the dyno, none of these engines are ever going to really get to do what they’re capable of.

The Devel Sixteen just confirms what I’ve always suspected: supercars are stupid.


Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.