As the automotive world prepares for one of the biggest events on the calendar – the Geneva Motor Show, opening to the public this Thursday – Bugatti has taken an early lead in buzz by unveiling the dramatic new Chiron.
Previously reported on last month, the Chiron arrives with a swollen corral of 1500 horsepower by way of an enlarged quartet of turbos. Torque is an equally-prodigious 1180 lb-ft, all funnelled through a revised version of the Veyron’s seven-speed, Ricardo-sourced dual-clutch gearbox. That power is again put to pavement via all four contact patches (285/30ZR20 front, 355/25ZR21 rear), this time with an electronic centre differential featuring torque vectoring. Surprisingly, it shares a feature with the newest Ford Focus RS: a drift mode. Yes, really.
Showcasing a full-size version of the Vision GT at Frankfurt last year, Bugatti has stayed incredibly close to that concept with this production model. Lead by design boss Achim Anscheidt, the trademark C-shape in the profile harks back to the company’s pre-war models like the 57SC Atlantic (and is even mirrored in the car’s name itself). In place of the enormous track-bred wing is an automated spoiler/airbrake, much the same as the Veyron’s. While the LMP-style fin is gone, there is still a prominent spine from nose to stern, said to aid stability right up to the car’s (electronically-limited) 261mph top speed.
Gone are the Veyron’s swollen rear haunches, replaced with a sharper, more pronounced shoulder line. These terminate at what’s surely to be the car’s most controversial side: the rear, complete with a single full-width light bar in place of the more traditional circular units found on its predecessor. A popular trend amongst performance cars in recent years (see McLaren P1, Audi R8, Lexus LFA et al), the huge swathes of negative space visually lighten the rear. The key word is ‘visually’, however: Bugatti has stated the car weighs significantly more than the Veyron, tipping the scales at 4,400lbs (roughly 2,000kg).
Interestingly, this weight increase comes despite a lack of hybrid componentry. While competitors from McLaren, Ferrari, and Porsche all adopted varying degrees of electrically-assisted shove, the big Bug still relies solely on that monster W16 engine.
There are four-carats worth of diamonds in the car’s sound system. The passenger airbag is the first of its kind to burst forth from within the carbonfibre dash. The all-new monocoque chassis has the sort of torsional rigidity normally seen in LMP-class cars. Those eight LED headlights double as air intakes for the massive 16.5-inch front brakes. This almost obsessive level of attention to detail makes it little wonder Bugatti will be charging $2.6 million to the remaining 350 people looking to own the Chiron. Yes, remaining: of the 500 production unit total, the company has already sold 150 units to customers.
We’ll be keeping an eye on Bugatti and the Chiron this week. With the close ties to Polyphony via the Vision GT project, we’re certainly keen to see where and when the Chiron will make its digital debut, as it’ll be slightly more accessible to the rest of us!