When the only car you sell is a 1200-horsepower 250-plus mph exotic sports car, building a successor is a bit of a challenge. But Bugatti has been planning its Veyron replacement for 10 years, and at this year’s Geneva Motor Show the company finally pulled the wraps of its all-new super sports car — the Chiron. Based on the looks and specs, the Chiron will be a worthy successor.
Powering the Chiron is a newly-developed 8-liter quad-turbo W16 engine producing 1500 horsepower and insane 1180 lb-ft of torque, available as low as 2000 rpm. The Chiron uses a new 2-stage turbocharging system that starts out with just two turbos engaged for quicker acceleration — at 3700 rpm the other two turbos kick in.
Performances numbers are staggering. The Chiron reaches 62 mph in less than 2.5 seconds, 124 mph in around 6.5 seconds and — most amazing of all — 186 mph in less than 13.6 seconds. The Chiron’s speed is limited to 236 mph for most driving — a special key is required to unlock the maximum speed “limited for road use” of 261 mph. Given the “road use” caveat, we expect the Chiron will achieve even higher speeds, and Bugatti is quite certain this car will break the Veyron’s record as the fastest production car in the world.
Power is directed to the road via Bugatti’s high-tech all-wheel-drive system and newly-developed tires from Michelin. Tires had to be comfortable for daily driving but still handle the stress of travelling at 260 mph. The Chiron wears 285/30 R20 tires in front, 355/25 R21 in the rear.
The Chiron is good for more than simply straight-line speed. Bugatti claims this super sports car can achieve 1.5 g in lateral acceleration, and with new high-performance carbon-ceramic brakes the Chiron can reach a full stop from 62 mph in just over 100 feet.
Form Follows Performance
Bugatti refers to its new design language as Form Follows Performance, meaning that almost every design element has a purpose. Bugatti Director of Design Achim Anscheidt describes his task as follows: “In view of our extraordinary brand and the task in hand, it would not be adequate to simply draw a few fashionable lines.” Anscheidt adds, “This principle of form following performance defines the Chiron as an authentic technical product and a fascinating automobile sculpture.”
Retro Styling Cues
Certain styling cues on the new Chiron hearken back to original Bugattis of the 1920s and 1930s, most noticeably the classic horseshoe grille. Looking directly from above, the Chiron carries the same basic lines as the legendary Bugatti Type57 SC Atlantic.
Air intakes built into the wide 4-eye headlights provide powerful cooling for tires and brakes — a critical requirement given the potential speed and braking capabilities of the Chiron. As with the Veyron, the Chiron’s rear spoiler provides downforce but also acts as a speed brake as needed.
Although Chiron possesses elements reminiscent of the Veyron, the rear end of the new car is vastly different than its predecessor. Shaped to lower drag, the suction effect of the design extracts heat from the engine compartment. A light strip that stretches the width of the car combines braking, reversing and signaling illumination.
Higher and wider than the Veyron, the Chiron has a more aggressive stance as well as a roomier interior. The arc following the windshield and roofline around to the base of the car behind the front wheel carries through to the interior, which follows the same shape.
Bugatti designers opted for a classic analog speedometer rather than the more common digital display screen. They wanted enthusiasts who look inside the Chiron to see a speedo rather than a blank screen. This is the first speedometer we’ve seen that maxes out at 500 km/hour.
Only 500 Chirons will be built, and about one-third have already been spoken for. Pricing starts at just over $2.6 million, and the first deliveries are expected in fall 2016.