It took McLaren 15 years to replace the F1 with the P1, Bugatti though will be delivering the successor to the Veyron, just 15 months after the last one will be delivered. When the Veyron was unleashed, the worldwide interest was immense, arguable it was the first in a new generation of hyper-car. Everything about the Veyron was big, the engine, the speed, the records it broke and the price tag. To make a successor seemed impossible. The Chiron however is just that, but it’s not an evolution of the Veyron, it’s a whole new species.
Bugatti began work on the Chiron long before production of the Veyron stopped. On initial appearance the car has a better stance and greater athleticism than the outgoing hyper-car. It has exquisite and nostalgic design cues, like the arc from the A pillar, which extends over the B pillar and then retuen along the sill for the whole length of the car. A similar arc exists inside the cabin (which is a whole new level compared to the Veyron), splitting the driver and passenger. The arc harks back to the classic Bugatti design of the Type 57SC Atlantic. The Chiron has a new monocoque carbon chassis. In fact there is more carbon all across the car, including the rear and underbody, making this car 8kg lighter than the Veyron. Bugatti claim the tub is on par with a LMP1 car when it comes to stiffness.
One of the criticisms of the Veyron was whilst it was fast the dynamism in handling was missing. Bugatti promise this is not the case with the Chiron, with it having their first active chassis. This is meant to improve handling, agility and steering precision, whilst providing greater feedback to the driver. If this proves to be the case then the Chiron should be a more complete driver’s car than its predecessor. The engineering of better handling does not mean that the big numbers the Veyron passed into legend for are missing. The Chiron has the same 8 ltr W16 quad turbo engine the Veyron had but it has been totally re-engineered, with more titanium and carbon fibre components. The powerhouse of the car delivers a peak power of 1479 bhp and a torque of 1011 lb/ft at 6000rpm, this results in a top speed of 261 mph (limited to six seconds to prevent tyre failure) and a 0 – 62 mph time of less than 2.5 seconds. To bring the beast to a stop, the car is fitted with carbide ceramic brake discs. The bespoke Michelin tyres it is shod with were developed in conjunction with the aerospace industry.
It is difficult to know if the world needs another hyper-car like this, especially considering Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche are going with hybrid hyper-cars (though VW boss Martin Winterkorn has been quoted as saying there will be a hybrid version alongside the petrol car). Cars of this type are not about carbon dioxide emissions it is all about the engineering and a halo for the company. The estimated £1.9 million price tag will mean only a very lucky few will ever own this car, with most that own it failing to grasp the enormity of development and research that has gone into delivering it. I personally think its existence wondrous and can keep dreaming of just sitting inside its imperious cabin one day.