Automakers make subtle tweaks to their cars all the time. It helps keep them fresh and relevant, and buys the company time before a complete overhaul is needed. But if that company is Bugatti and you build one car which happens to be the fastest production car in the world by world record standards, you can bet that a few small tweaks won’t be enough.
The Bugatti Veyron has remained largely unchanged since it’s debut in 2006, mainly because it was so over-engineered in the first place that nearly a decade later it’s still the fastest production car on the planet. Granted, a couple of tweaks were made — a convertible variant, an even faster variant (the Super Sport), and, of course, all those special editions. Bugatti has bought itself time, but now it’s time for that complete overhaul.
Which is exactly what Bugatti has planned.
Reportedly named the Chiron, details of the follow-up vehicle have turned from a slow trickle into a bubbling brook. Aside from some spy shots obtained by other outlets, the most revealing factor came from Bugatti itself when it released these images for its Vision Gran Turismo Concept, for Polyphony’s Gran Turismo 6 game for the Playstation 3. While we’re not looking at a production Chiron, it’s almost assured that many of the elements seen here will carry over.
The Chiron won’t be a stripped out track-day racer — that’s not Bugatti’s style. The world-record performance (nearly) comes second to Bugatti’s all-out luxury. It’ll likely have A/C, a stereo, and even doorhandles — luxuries many speed-hunting super cars forgo in efforts to conserve weight.
In addition to more opulence and more speed (more on that in a minute), the Chiron will reportedly run more money as well — which is hardly surprising. Don’t expect to own one for less than $2.5 million, roughly anywhere from $200,000 to about $1 million more than the various Veyron models. But in today’s world of Lamborghini Venenos and Koegnisegg Regeras, companies are continually testing the public’s tolerance for outlandish prices.
You do, however, get more for your money. The same quad-turbo, 8.0 liter W16 engine will presumably remain constant, though it will make 1,480 horsepower and 1,106 pound-feet of torque in its new application. This will allow for an estimated top speed of 288 miles per hour, and reach 62 miles per hour in just 2.3 seconds on the way there.
In comparison, the Veyron served up 1,000 horsepower (1,200 in Super Sport kit) and 922 pound-feet when it debuted. The Chiron will essentially improve on the Veyron in nearly every conceivable way, and secure the Volkswagen-owned French marque as the authority on Guinness World Record speed attempts.
Like the Veyron, the Chiron is likely going to require numerous custom components to be fabricated specifically for its limited production run. This would include tires, brakes, and all manner of weight-saving materials to help ensure the car can withstand the forces associated with traveling north of 250 miles per hour and beyond.
Many see the Bugatti as little more than a jewel for a wealthy citizen’s dream garage. But the amount of engineering involved leads to breakthroughs that you just don’t see when you’re developing a station wagon or family sedan. That’s gotta count for something, and if there’s no better reason, then the pursuit of science will do just fine.