Tuesday, 17 May 2016

2017 Bugatti Chiron: Again with the Overkill It only costs 2.4 million euros, and you're worth it.



History has a lesson for those of you hoping that Bugatti’s next move would be a full starboard tack to something different, such as the 16C Galibier supersedan concept from 2009. Instead we get the Chiron, which stops short of reinventing the stupefying 11-year-old Veyron coupe. Note that in its prewar glory days, Bugatti sold more than 700 Type 57s versus just six Type 41 ­Royales produced. The Madman of Molsheim, Ettore Bugatti, ­recognized that coupes called better than sedans to the sporting gentlemen who were his customers. Some things never change.
Thus, the 1500-hp Chiron, the planned 500 copies of which represent a sort of Veyron Type-C after the original 1001-hp Veyron 16.4 and the follow-up 1200-hp Veyron 16.4 Super Sport. Much has changed on the surface and underneath, but the essential mission has not: Use prodigious horsepower rendered by exotic technology and delivered by four-wheel drive to engender shock and awe in high-net-worth people, two at a time. Unlike recent Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche hypercars, Bugatti’s doesn’t go in for any of that hybrid stuff. A battery? Sure, the Chiron has one. It starts the engine.
The basic footprint changes only incrementally. The wheelbase stays static at 106.7 inches and supports a beam widened by almost two inches. Overall length grows a bit more than three inches due to an elongated nose and a jutting lower lip in back. The octo-eyed Chiron, with its stiffened all-carbon tub, new five-mode driving menu, and promised cheaper-to-replace Michelin tires (formerly $42,000 per set), represents a clean-up of the Veyron’s chubby shape. The old lower-side coves and twin roof bazookas have been melded into two giant C-shaped gills that dramatically frame the doors. In back, a boomerang-blade of taillights adds a more modern, robotic mien to a rear of wall-to-wall mesh that otherwise evokes an old Lola Le Mans car.
The quad-turbo 8.0-liter W-16 in back now gets lighter components, such as a carbon-fiber chain-case cover. Two-stage turbocharging, with larger ­turbos, eliminates lag. One pair does the pressurizing at lower revs for quicker spool-up, then the other two turbos come online at 3800 rpm for max boost. As with the Veyron, the Chiron is a superlative of numbers: an anticipated 2.5 seconds to 62 mph; a water pump that can circulate 211 gallons of coolant through the engine in one minute; six catalytic ­converters that have a total surface area equiva­lent to 43 football fields; a seven-speed dual-clutch auto that accepts the peak torque of 1180 pound-feet.
Restraint, what little there is, lies in the 261-mph speed limiter. The Veyron 16.4 Super Sport was limited to a grossly in­ad­equate 258 mph.
Price: 2.4 million euros, or $2,644,306 per the exchange rate when it debuted. In the interim, the Euro has strengthened, driving up the cost (for us) by more than $90,000. But you’re worth it.