View From The Top: Bugatti Chiron
Bugatti has always been one of the most exotic car brands, right from the early days, associating speed and comfort as the need arose. This tradition is alive and well in the 21st Century incarnation of the marque, these days ultimate performance and luxury are combined in an exclusive, exquisite jewel of a car.
So it was no surprise to find that the most eagerly anticipated event of the 2016 Geneva Motor Show would be the unveiling of the latest Bugatti, the Chiron. Its predecessor, the Veyron, left its mark on the world of ultra high performance motoring, holding records as the fastest street-legal production car (267.7mph) and setting the standard for others to aspire to.
At first glance not much has changed but closer examination reveals that virtually every aspect of this machine has been reworked and refined, attempting to optimise all aspects of the new Bugatti. It is now an all carbon fiber construction, it is taller and wider, not by much but that allows a little more comfort in the cockpit. Very little of the car remains from the Veyron.
The new car is powered by an 8.0-liter W16 engine with four turbochargers, a completely revised version of the Veyron’s powerplant, now giving a claimed 1479bhp, an increase of almost 500bhp over the launch version of the earlier car. As might be expected the transmission is completely uprated still with seven speeds and four wheel drive. Similar advances have been made in aerodynamics and chassis control.
The Chiron takes its name from the Monegasque racing driver, Louis Chiron, who partnered Achile Varzi to win the 1931 French Grand Prix at Montlhéry, a ten hour event. It would be the last French Grand Prix victory for Bugatti. Chiron had an extraordinary career, winning the Monte Carlo Rally in 1954 and the following year scoring a point in the Monaco Grand Prix, just shy of his 56th birthday, he remains the oldest driver to compete in a Grand Prix.
Perhaps the biggest difference between to Veyron and its successor is that the Chiron will make money. At Geneva Bugatti’s CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer, declared that the planned production run of 500 units and a price tag of $2.6 million will translate into a profit. Given where the VW Group may be financially in the coming years after the current emissions crisis is settled that will be music to the ears of the main board. This should be viewed in the context of industry estimates that the 450 Veyrons sold left a hole in the VW bank account in excess of $2.2 billion.
The plan is for the new Bugatti to have a run of around eight years and it is reported that orders for 150 cars have already been received, with the first car to be delivered in October of this year. The Bugatti Chiron is breathtaking and it is hard to see how it will be improved upon, even with eight years lead time, still they said that about the Veyron.
Check out the video from its live unveiling from the 2016 Geneva Motor Show:
Photography by the author, additional material copyright and courtesy of Bugatti.