New £1.9 million hypercar tops the power and performance of its mighty predecessor
The formidable new Bugatti Chiron packs a colossal 1479bhp, weighs 1995kg, covers 0-62mph in less than 2.5sec and reaches a top speed limited to 261mph. The Chiron, revealed at the Geneva motor show this week, aims to occupy the same position as its highly celebrated Veyron predecessor at the very top of the supercar ladder, one rung above such revered rivals as the McLaren P1, LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder. Bugatti describes the second of its modern-day models as the most powerful road car to reach series production. Just 500 will be made, each priced at €2.4 million (about £1.9m).
Bugatti portrays the quad-turbocharged 8.0-litre W16-powered Chiron as an allnew car that borrows little from the Veyron. The new Bugatti has been comprehensively re-engineered and now has full carbonfibre construction — including the rear section, which was aluminium in the Veyron. However, the Chiron adopts a similar mechanical package to its record-breaking predecessor, which ceased 10 years of production at the end of 2014 after a run of 450 cars. In a nod to Bugatti’s past, the Chiron name is taken from the 1920s and 1930s grand prix racer Louis Chiron, who scored notable results in European championship events for Bugatti, including victory in the 1931 French Grand Prix at the wheel of a Bugatti Type 51.
Taking strong visual cues from the Veyron, the Chiron has an even more dramatic design, with tauter surfacing, bolder details and greater aerodynamic efficiency than the car it replaces. Bugatti design boss Achim Anscheidt, says it was developed in close collaboration with Bugatti’s engineering team to ensure greater functionality without any loss in overall visual impact. It is at the rear where the more significant differences in appearance between the Veyron and Chiron are apparent. There is a strong trailing edge, fully integrated rear spoiler, full-width LED light band (housing the taillights, indicators and reversing light), sizeable air ducts, a large centrally mounted exhaust and race-grade diffuser.
Dimensionally, the Chiron remains close to its predecessor. At 4544mm long, 2038mm wide and 1212mm tall, the new Bugatti is 82mm longer, 40mm wider and 53mm taller than the Veyron. The similarities also extend to the wheelbase, which is a mere 1mm longer at 2711mm. The basis for the Chiron is a newly developed carbonfibre monocoque structure. In a departure from the Veyron, it adopts a sandwich construction for the floor and a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic engine cradle at the rear for added stiffness and less weight. The Chiron achieves rigidity levels of up to 50,000Nm per degree — the sort of stiffness achieved by the latest LMP1 race cars — and weighs 1995kg, which is 155kg more than the original version of its predecessor.
The extra width has brought more space to the two-seat interior, according to Bugatti. The greater height has also liberated 12mm more head room than in the Veyron. The luxurious cabin — trimmed in a combination of leather, carbonfibre and brushed aluminium — has been thoroughly redesigned. Among the new developments is a passenger airbag that deploys through carbonfibre — a first for a production vehicle.
At the heart of the Chiron is a heavily revised version of the quad-turbo 8.0-litre W16 petrol engine used by the Veyron. With 1479bhp at 6750rpm, the mid-mounted unit delivers 492bhp more than the one fitted to the original Veyron launched in 2005. It provides the Chiron with a power-to-weight ratio of 741bhp per tonne. Torque rises by 257lb ft, peaking at 1179lb ft between 2000 and 6000rpm.
The Bugatti powerplant features a redesigned carbonfibre inlet manifold, heavily reworked injection system with 32 individual injectors, larger and more powerful turbochargers, a revised intercooler system and new titanium exhaust system with six catalysers that is claimed to provide a substantial reduction in back pressure over the old system.
In a bid to provide a more linear delivery of power than that of the Veyron, the new turbos operate in a two-stage process. During step-off, just two turbos function initially, with the remaining two joining in to boost performance when the engine speed rises above 3800rpm. The colossal reserves are channelled through a reworked
version of the Veyron’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive system. An electronically controlled differential provides a torque vectoring function to vary the amount of drive sent to each the rear wheel and is the basis for what Bugatti dubs an “easy to drift” function. Although it has yet to undergo final certification testing, Bugatti has released preliminary performance figures that suggest it has achieved its stated aim of making the Chiron even faster than the Veyron. The Chiron is claimed to cover 0-62mph in under 2.5sec, 0-124mph in less than 6.5sec and 0-186mph in under 13.6sec. By comparison, the Veyron had an official 0-62mph time of 2.5sec, a 0-124mph time of 7.3sec and a 0-186mph time of 16.7sec. As before, the top speed is limited in two stages. Most driving modes allow 236mph before the electrics step in.
The Top Speed mode provides a maximum of 261mph, eclipsing the top speed of the original Veyron by 7mph. The Chiron’s chassis is a development of that found beneath the Veyron. In a bid to improve ride quality without compromising body control, it uses adaptive suspension, which provides variable ride height and damping control.
In combination with variable characteristics for a new electro-mechanical steering system and the four-wheel drive system, the driver can choose between five driving modes: Lift, Auto, Autobahn, Handling and Top Speed.
The Lift mode is designed to allow easy transportation of the Chiron, increasing ride height for ramps. In Auto, Autobahn and Handling modes, the top speed is limited to 236mph. To engage Top Speed mode, the Chiron requires a so-called Speed Key, which alters the engine management system to allow 261mph. Reining in the vast performance are 420mm front and 400mm rear carbonceramic discs grabbed by eight-pot calipers at the front and six-pot calipers aft. Larger than the Veyron’s brakes, they provide the Chiron with a claimed 62-0mph in 31.3m, 124-0mph in 125m and 186- 0mph in 275m — in each case eclipsing the Veyron’s claimed braking distances.
The Chiron will be assembled on the same line used for the Veyron at Bugatti’s HQ in Mosheim, France. So far, Bugatti has received more than 150 orders for the new car. The first one is scheduled to be delivered in October. Further Chiron variants are planned, including successor models to the Veyron Grand Sport, Veyron SuperSport and Veyron Grand Vitesse.
Chiron Vs Veyron
Engine: Quad-turbo 8.0-litre W16
Torque: 1179lb ft
Top speed: 261mph
Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4
Engine: Quad-turbo 8.0-litre W16
Torque: 922lb ft
Top speed: 253mph