A MERE FOUR YEARS SINCE ITS DEBUT, THE BUGATTI CHIRON RECEIVES MORE AGGRESSIVE STYLING, OUTPUT, AND SEX APPEAL (IF THAT’S EVEN POSSIBLE)
BY MATT SCANLON
Bugatti spent a busy last year its 110th anniversary not only updating its signature Chiron super sports coupe, but offering speciality models within the line, such as the blacked out Edition “Chiron Noire” and a Super Sport 300+ (the first from the French maker to exceed the magical track threshold of 300 miles per hour, 304.773 mph, to be precise). Both of the latter editions were limited to production runs of less than 40 cars (fewer still scheduled for sale here in the States), so, as we are dreamers of a slightly more practical bent, lets have a look at one of the 500 base Chirons that just about anyone with a mere $3 million can get hold of.
“Base Chiron” might be definitionally accurate, but, given the following statistics, a reader can appreciate the inherent disconnects. The world’s first production sports car packing 1,500 horsepower, its newly developed 8 liter W16 engine (that’s 16 cylinders, folks) also produces 1,200 ft. lb. of torque of between 2,000 and 6,000 rpm, and is further assisted by a two stage turbocharger (four turbos in all) and a new for this year titanium exhaust system. The seven speed dual clutch gearbox includes the largest high performance clutch ever installed on a passenger car. Though limited to a top speed of 260 miles per hour for street use (via automatic governor), it could certainly go faster, given the right intrepid owner and a visionary mechanic. Then again, even test pilots will likely need no further performance tweaks, given that this stupendous piece of manufacturing will rocket to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds (the same time as Tesla’s Model S in “Ludicrous Mode,” and a tenth of a second faster than the Porsche 918 Spyder).
Built at the company’s headquarters in Molsheim in the heart of Alsace (though Bugatti has been a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG since 1999), this year’s Chiron brings a notable roster of innovations, including Bugatti’s first adaptive chassis (with five driving programs) for significantly greater agility and versatility, plus new high performance tires (tested at aerospace facilities) and likewise new high performance brakes with Formula One technical modules.
If only the new decade advancements ended there: the monocoque is made entirely from carbon fiber and is designed for crash protection (for the first time, the rear end is also made from carbon fiber). The result is torsional rigidity in the LMP1 racing car class. The Chiron also has the first airbag in the world to shoot through a carbon fiber housing (there are six bags in all). One appealing option is the handsome twin panel Skyview glass roof.
Inside, in order to keep the central console as slim as possible and so accentuate spaciousness, the climate control and infotainment systems have been separated. The units on the central console have independent displays, with the gearbox selector located in a perfect ergonomic position below and within easy reach of the driver’s hand. [POETRY IN MOTION] Manhattan Motorcars 711 11th Avenue, Manhattan / 866.325.1538 / manhattanmotorcars.com In addition to the standard leather seating areas, Chiron buyers can choose between a full leather steering wheel or one with a combination of leather and carbon fiber.
THIS YEAR’S MODEL IS HIGHER AND WIDER THAN ITS predecessor, resulting in increased headroom and footwell space. A wider front end is highlighted by an eight eye headlight array, and also features a new air inlet for better cooling of front wheels and brakes.
THE STRIP OF COMBINED REAR, BRAKE, REVERSE, and indicator LED lights, only a few millimeters high, is an industry first with a length of 5.25 feet and extending over the entire rear end without interruption.
THE QUAD TURBO 8 LITER W16 ENGINE GENERATES an incredible 1,500 horsepower, with an almost linear output between 2,000 and 6,000 rpm. Just over 2,100 cubic feet of air is pumped through the engine every minute. A new titanium exhaust system, with reduced gas back pressure, boosts performance further.
THE AUDIO SYSTEM WAS DEVELOPED EXCLUSIVELY for Bugatti by Accuton. A one carat diamond membrane in each of its four tweeters delivers remarkably detailed sound. The system also features the first mid range speaker with two separate membrane zones. The result is, according to a Bugatti press release, “the world’s fastest concert hall.”
NOTABLY, THE CHIRON FEATURES TWO KEYS. The main one can sit in the driver’s hand or pocket for speeds up to 235 mph, but when higher performance is on his or her mind, a Sport Key is inserted into a dedicated slot which allows for even more aggressive explorations. That Sport mode also automatically adjusts wing angle, ride height, and other variables.
711 11th Avenue, Manhattan / 866.325.1538 /