Cars

The Bugatti Chiron — The R40 Million Hyper-Car Swansong?

Does Bugatti’s most powerful production street car mark the end of an era.

Commercial vehicle brands such as Toyota, Mercedes, and BMW have all slowly but surely been aiming their model silos in an increasingly reasonable direction. Sure, they still offer a few motorsport inspired options, but really, their focus is on expanding comfort, fuel economy, and the quickly expanding list of tech-aided safety features. A few are even toying around with the soon-to-be-normal idea of self-driving cars, a result no doubt of Elon Musk’s adventurous innovation with his Tesla brand. Bugatti, however, a modern bastion of excessive luxury, are not going down that path at all. In fact, they’re going in quite the opposite direction.

Famed for their Veyron model, which took the hyper-car crown as long ago as 2005, the new Chiron enhances every element of the Veyron that made it so over the top. The styling is even more extreme, were it possible, taking the Veyron’s smaller door vents and turning them into C-shaped wings that curl from the bottom of the front wheel arch all the way to the bottom corner of the windshield. With the ancestral grille and low-slung, aggressive aesthetic, it’s typical Bugatti with an added dose of futurism.

As aggressive as the exterior is, the interior evokes quite the opposite with its carbon fiber and leather instrument panels that seem to possess equal measures of class and science fiction design. It’s exclusively a two-seater where the occupants are comfortably wrapped in leather seats, with the same leather wrapping the majority of the dashboard, door panels, and even ceiling. Its instruments are clearly technologically advanced and but rather simplistic in their design; as far as cabin luxury goes, sometimes less really is more.

Unless we’re talking about horsepower, obviously. The Chiron shares the 8-litre, W16, quad-turbo configuration engine with the Veyron, but with a host of updates that produce 1100kW at the crank, a ridiculous 200kW more than the Veyron – which will propel it to 100km/h in 2.5 seconds and will rather quickly achieve its top speed of 420km/h. All that power is transferred to its massive tires through a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, similar to VW’s DSG gearboxes, and features an all-wheel drive system to keep it firmly planted on the tarmac.

As the car industry as a whole continues its adoption of electric power and alternative drive trains, the concept of obscenely luxurious hyper-cars will become less and less of a feature, meaning the hyper-car excesses of the Chiron may be one of the last in an illustrious petrol-powered lineage. If you ever have the pleasure of $3 million burning a hole in your pocket, it would get you possibly one of the most unique and prohibitively powerful automobiles ever to exist.

 

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