What’s the Most Expensive Car in the World?

There’s no shortage of expensive cars on sale today. Rolls-Royce sells an (admittedly very capable) SUV for close to $500,000. And Lamborghini sold so many Urus SUVs it had to artificially suppress production. But there’s expensive, and then there’s expensive. The most expensive cars in the world make the cost of that $300,000 Datsun 240Z look like a rounding error.

Most expensive new single car in the world

As of this writing, the single most expensive new car is the Bugatti La Voiture Noire. Bugatti only made 1, and after taxes, it stickered at $18.9 million, according to Car and Driver. But despite the hefty price tag, someone bought it before it was even publicly unveiled.

Bugatti La Voiture Noire and Type 57SC Atlantic
Bugatti La Voiture Noire and Type 57SC Atlantic | Bugatti

The car’s name, and overall design, was inspired by the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic. Only 4 of these were ever made, with Jean Bugatti (Bugatti founder Ettore Bugatti’s son), getting his own. Finished in black, and nicknamed ‘La Voiture Noire’ (‘the black car’), it was used exclusively by Jean and some close racer friends. Unfortunately, after 1938, the car vanished. But its legend inspired not only an earlier Veyron limited-edition but the client who commissioned the new La Voiture Noire.

The new Bugatti La Voiture Noire’s body is based on the Bugatti Divo’s, which is a more track-focused version of the Chiron. The Noire’s body, though, is finished in carbon-fiber and has an active rear wing, instead of the Divo’s fixed one. Car and Driver reports designers also tried to hide the Noire’s A-pillars, to make it look like the windshield wraps around the car. There’s also a ridge on its top, mimicking the original Atlantic. And unlike the Chiron or Divo, the Noire’s engine is covered, and the taillight is larger.

Underneath that cover is the Chiron’s 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W-16 engine, which pushes out 1500 hp and 1180 lb-ft. The car’s brake calipers are 3D-printed, it’s got diamonds in its speakers, and of course, the interior is excellent. Car and Driver reports the center console is made from a single piece of solid aluminum.

Most expensive production car in the world

Bugatti Chiron
Bugatti Chiron | Bugatti

Unfortunately, the Bugatti La Voiture Noire is technically ineligible for the title ‘most expensive production car in the world.’ According to Road & Track, the Guinness Book of World Records requires manufacturers to produce at least 30 examples for a car to be considered a ‘production car.’

However, it’s still a Bugatti that takes this particular title. That’d be the car the La Voiture Noire is ultimately based on, the Bugatti Chiron. Although its top speed run technically didn’t count, the Bugatti Chiron is the fastest car in the world, capable of a claimed 261 mph. But it’s not actually the most expensive production car in the world.

Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+
Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+| Bugatti

The ‘base’ Chiron starts at $2,990,000. For those wanting more speed, Bugatti created the $3,990,000 Chiron Super Sport+, with 1578 hp, that Car and Driver reports went over 304 mph at the Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany. And Bugatti made 30 Super Sport+ cars, meaning it’s a production car by Guinness’ standards.

Although, neither the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport+ or La Voiture Noire is the most expensive car ever sold.

What about at auction?

Vintage and antique cars command large prices at places like Amelia Island and Monterey Car Week auctions. So large, that they’re treated more like works of art than actual motor vehicles. It’s why Pur Sang’s Bugattis and Jaguar’s continuation D-Types exist—the same vintage looks, sounds, and experience, without the crazy cost.

Officially, the most expensive car ever sold at an auction is a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. These historic race cars sell for so much, they’re legitimately classified as works of art. And in August 2018, The Drive reports one sold for (including commission) $48,405,000.

Suddenly, a $200k G63 AMG doesn’t seem so pricey.

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