How do you introduce a car like the Bugatti Chiron? This is the successor to the Veyron, the most epic exercise in over-engineering that the car world had known until today. The new Chiron turns the Veyron's extreme specs up another notch: 0 to 100km/h in less than 2.5 seconds, four enlarged turbochargers, and a total power output of 1,500hp. Maximum speed is limited to 420km/h for road use, the tires have been specially developed by a Bugatti-Michelin partnership, and the 8-liter W16 engine of the Veyron has been completely redesigned. Only 500 Chirons will be produced, and a third of them have already been sold for €2.4 million apiece. The Geneva Motor Show will play host to many debuts this week, but none will outdo the Bugatti Chiron's combination of performance, luxury, and exclusivity.
"Bugatti has tested the limits of physics," says company president Wolfgang Dürheimer. "The Chiron is the result of our efforts to make the best even better." With that in mind, Bugatti has constructed a new carbon fiber monocoque, which serves a dual purpose: communicating Bugatti's new, more aggressive design language and also enabling the car's fierce performance numbers. The Chiron has a new titanium exhaust system and the first airbag to shoot through a carbon fiber housing. Its array of eight LED headlights is complemented by what will likely become the Chiron's visual signature: a single rear light spanning the car's width. The one tantalizing omission from Bugatti's Chiron announcement is the car's absolute top speed — the company just says that the Chiron is ready to set a new record for production sports cars.
"The world's fastest concert hall."
For all its beastly attributes, Bugatti wants the Chiron to be known as a luxurious beauty too. The interior is appointed in leather throughout and there's now a luggage space big enough to fit a reasonably sized suitcase (44 liters). Three high-resolution digital displays surround the analog speedometer in front of the driver, with the information on them adaptively changing in response to the car's speed. The faster you drive, the simpler the presentation becomes. The Chiron's audio system is so good, says Bugatti, that it can be considered "the world's fastest concert hall." This is where the company's penchant for excess truly manifests itself: there's a one-carat diamond membrane in each of the four tweeters inside the Chiron.
The Chiron's new adaptive chassis can be adjusted for different levels of ground clearance, and its underbody has grooves and active diffusers to guide air around the car. Most of the adaptive stuff is automated: the shock absorbers, chassis height, power steering, and the aerodynamic and brake control systems all adjust according to how you are driving. Bugatti's Chiron has five modes, with the basic Auto activating at 50km/h, followed by Autobahn mode at 180km/h and beyond. You can also switch it into handling mode, for when you want to race, or use the separate ignition switch for top speed, which gives access to that formidable 420km/h max speed. The car's spoiler is part of all this self-adjustment fun, with various levels of extension for top speed and Autohbahn / handling modes, as well as the ability to serve as an air brake or simply retract entirely. Finally, this car also has an "easy-to-drift" feature, because why wouldn't it?
Even faster, even more powerful, even more exclusive
Having bid goodbye to the Veyron at last year's Geneva Motor Show, Bugatti has returned with a successor that faithfully carries on the proud heritage of performance fanaticism. Espousing a design philosophy of "form follows performance," the new Chiron was built with speed and driving pleasure as its foremost considerations, though opulence isn't a very distant third on that list. This car's reason for existing is to allow its owners the peace of mind that they truly have the best production sports car anywhere. That's what the Veyron did for many. We'll see how the Chiron lives up to expectations once deliveries start in the autumn.