Here's An Easy Way To See How Much Air Your Engine Consumes

Illustration for article titled Here's An Easy Way To See How Much Air Your Engine Consumes

We hear a lot about how much air cars suck in, how much cars breathe, but we haven’t really had a handy visual until now.


When he was taking the Bugatti Veyron up to its top speed on Top Gear, James May said that at high speeds, the engine would suck in “as much air in a minute as [he breathes] in four days.”

The Veyron’s successor, the Chiron, is said to pump astronomical amounts of air, according to Top Gear:

An improved charge air cooling system means 60,000 litres of air per minute are pumped through the engine, while the coolant pump can circulate 800-litres in the same time.

All of those figures need some perspective, however. And that’s where Engineering Explained steps in.

In the video, Jason Fenske attaches two balloons to the tailpipes of his Honda S2000 in order to provide a visual in determining how much air an engine consumes.

Fenske assures us that this test did not harm the car, as he had no trouble blowing up the balloons himself. “So it seems to me silly to think that a 240-horsepower air compressor couldn’t do the same very easily and with no ill effects,” he says.

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.


Maybe I’m wrong, but the volume of air gas coming out of the tail pipe should be quite a bit more than the air going into the intake. I didn’t see him address that at all. He simply calculated the volume based on the displacement * rpm to get the output.