When the Bugatti Veyron first appeared back in 2005, it rewrote the rules on performance while also introducing the hypercar segment to the world. It also established a reputation for scorching speed and track records especially in SS guise. Achievements like these would normally be a tough act to follow, but Bugatti used them as key benchmarks when it developed the much anticipated sequel to the Veyron the Bugatti Chiron.
While the Chiron might not be packing the hybrid electric setup that sees duty in rivals such as the LaFerrari and the Porsche 918, it makes up for it by offering more of the insane brutality and animalistic power delivery that defined the original Veyron. The 8.0 liter quad turbo W16 engine is still nestled behind the cabin, but it now belts out 1,478 horsepower which is a gain of 500 horses when compared to the 1,000 horsepower wielded by the older W16 in the Veyron. This figure also helps the Chiron regain the title of being the most powerful street car ever produced which should be a key selling point for the wealthy buyers the luxury car maker is targeting with this car.
If that is not impressive enough the Chiron’s eye watering 1,180 lb-ft of torque should help it get the jump on rivals, or restart the orbit of a desolate planetoid. Ditto the bigger two-stage turbochargers which can cram more air in at higher pressures to help enhance acceleration and response.
All of this raw power is channeled to all four wheels through a seven speed dual-clutch automatic transmission which allows the Chiron to claw its way to 62 mph in a scant 2.5 seconds. While this particular figure may not be as intimidating these days, the Chiron’s ability to go 0 to 124 mph in an equally brisk 6.5 seconds should remind folks just what kind of a car they are dealing with when going head to head against it in a race.
The Chiron also follows the Veyron’s footsteps when it comes to aerodynamic trickery with the car retaining separate top speed and handling modes. Top speed mode allows drivers to touch the 261 mph top speed while the slightly tamer handling modes features a 236 mph top speed. The Chiron’s exterior styling also helps in this regard with each curve and angle serving a specific function. The front fascia for example was designed to cope with the torture of high speed air surfacing while also having enough chops to withstand the occasional 200 mph bird hit.
Lead designer Achilles Anschiedt also encouraged greater collaboration between the design, engineering, and aerodynamic teams which helped create a suit of stylish clothes that successfully blends form and function into one attractive package. The front fascia for example retains the marque’s iconic horseshoe grille, but a new front splitter was designed to be race ready out of the box, while the attractive thin LED headlights double as intakes that help channel air to the front brakes. Bugatti engineers also equipped the car with a set of semicircular front wings and a large central fin that runs from the trunk to the roof of the car. This feature is also seen on LMP1 racers, and helps provide lateral stability at high speeds.
The rear fascia also has seen its share of changes with a key one being the new NACA style air ducts which replace the Veyron’s large air scoops. Bugatti claims that the new ducts help make the body look cleaner while also reducing the amount of turbulent air that is channeled into the engine. An integrated rear spoiler is also a part of the package, along with a large central exhaust system, and a beefy rear diffuser that leads out to the redesigned tail lights.
The interior of the Chiron continues the Bugatti tradition of only offering the finest quality materials with acres of leather, carbon fiber, and aluminium accents scattered throughout. The cabin also features the first air bag in the world that can punch its way through carbon fiber trim which helps protect the driver in the event of a crash. The rest of the controls are laid out towards the driver, and promise better ergonomics than before with upcoming special editions adding goodies such as contrasting color schemes and additional luxury features.
Bugatti is planning to limit production of the Chiron to 500 examples with a third of the allotment already sold out. Each one will start at $2.6 million, and the first buyers will get their Chirons sometime this fall, with other customers receiving theirs in the near future.