Bugatti has unveiled a $2.6 million.vehicle, the Bugatti Chiron which it describes as the world’s fastest and most powerful car, at the latest Geneva Motor Show
Bugatti’s eagerly anticipated successor to its Veyron model – the world’s previous fastest road vehicle – is so quick that the French manufacturer limited the new car’s maximum speed to just 260 miles per hour for road use. Testing to obtain the Bugatti Chiron’s top speed is due to commence soon.
“It is part of human nature to cross boundaries and set new records – to run 100 metres faster than ever before, to fly even further into space and to enter new realms,” said Bugatti’s chief Wolfgang Dürheimer. “The Bugatti Chiron is the result of our efforts to make the best even better.
Don’t be surprised to see an even faster variant along the same lines as the Veyron Super Sport arrive later in the Bugatti Chiron’s life cycle, although plans for a higher-performance version are yet to be confirmed by Bugatti.
The term hypercar is given the top one per cent of high-performance supercars – usually the fastest and most-expensive. To achieve the higher speeds, Bugatti completely redesigned its eight-litre W16 engine, which also powers the Veyron.
Lightweight materials such as titanium and carbon fibre were used to reduce the engine’s overall weight, while better-performing turbochargers – units that force extra air into the combustion chamber, therefore increasing the engine’s efficiency – were fitted.
To keep the redesigned engine operating within the optimum temperature range, Bugatti also improved the Chiron ‘s air cooling system. As a result, more than 60,000 litres of air per minute are pumped through the engine.
The Bugatti Chiron’s protective structural shell – and its entire rear section are made from carbon fibre, further reducing overall weight in comparison to its predecessor.
“If all the fibres used in the shell were laid out end to end, they would stretch nine times the distance between the earth and the moon,” explained a statement released by Bugatti yesterday.
Carbon fibre is also used for the new vehicle’s outer skin and LED headlamps have been incorporated into the front end, which are the “flattest projector headlamps ever fitted to a car”, according to Bugatti.
Digital displays sit inside the air-con dials, à la the Audi TT only rather more sophisticated – it’s possible to swap the climate readouts for driving data, so you or your passenger have a second visual on fluid temperatures, pressures, speed, power, fuel, gear selection and more.
“In terms of design, the Bugatti Chiron was an opportunity to develop most of the basic elements required for an unambiguous stylistic concept from the extreme technical requirements of the vehicle with a view to underlining the performance of this unique super sports car.”
“This principle of form following performance defines the Bugatti Chiron as an authentic technical product and a fascinating automobile sculpture,” continued Anscheidt. “Both for our customers and for us as designers, it is important for a Bugatti to have a certain stylistic longevity so that it is still perceived as precious in 10 or even in 50 years”.
The interior has been designed to reflect the vehicle’s exterior form, which can be clearly seen in the C-shaped separating line between the driver and passenger.
“The C-shaped light strip emerges from the front bonnet into the passenger compartment as a raised graphic element and merges seamlessly into the dashboard,” explained Anscheidt. “From here, it flows over the armrest between the seats to the back wall where it rises to the roof liner; at the front, it ends at the rear-view mirror.”
Slowing such a fast-moving object down isn’t easy, so Bugatti also set about developing Formula One-style racing brakes for the Bugatti Chiron made from carbon silicon carbide.
“This material makes the brake disk lighter at the same time as giving it greater improved corrosion resistance, performance and durability,” explained Bugatti. “In addition, the front and rear brake discs of the Bugatti Chiron have a larger diameter, resulting in more effective heat dissipation by the brake discs and improved performance on the track.”
Bugatti says production will be limited to 500 cars (although there’s surely a little wriggle room on that figure for the odd special edition) and claims to already have advance orders for a third of the production run. No doubt there might be a few more signatures in the order book following the Geneva show.