The Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland is the auto show of the year for new supercars and hypercars, and this year was no different. Bugatti displayed their all-new Chiron, a $2.6 million luxury land missile with the power of almost 1,500 horses and a top speed of 261 mph. The Chiron is Bugatti's first all-new vehicle in since the incredible Veyron, and it is a worthy successor.
New Bugatti Chiron builds on Veyron legacy
Eleven years ago, Bugatti amazed the world when it introduced the Veyron. It's price tag of $1.25 million was in a whole new territory for cars, making it at the time the most expensive production car ever made and the Veyron's top speed of 253 mph set a new record to made it the fastest production car of all time when it was released.
The Bugatti Veyron, predecessor to the new Chiron. Photo credit: Manju.
The Veyron wasn't just fast though, it was incredibly luxurious and remarkably normal for a car with 1,001 horsepower. Engine builders have been building race engines that make over 1,000 horsepower for a while, but those engines weren't subject to emissions regulations, nor did they need to be reliable and tame enough for anyone to be able to start up and drive to the store. The Veyron accomplished exactly that. It was built to the quality and standards of every other production car in the Volkswagen Auto Group, and that subtle factor made it incredible.
The Veyron created a whole new category of supercar, the hypercar, and thus started a competition between exotic manufacturers in the same vein as the Space Race. Since the Veyron came out, there have been contenders to its title as the world's fastest production car like the Hennessey GT, and while their overall speed may have the Veyron beat, no car has been able to match it in refinement.
The Veyron also proved that there is a market for a new car that costs over $1 million, and the floodgates were opened. In the years since, car companies new and old have released extraordinary cars that were incredibly expensive, and many sold out before they even reached production. Now, with cars like the $4.5 million Lamborghini Veneno, $1.25 million just doesn't seem like that much money.
With the impact the Veyron had on the automotive landscape, the Chiron has some very big shoes to fill. Fortunately, it looks like the Chiron has what it takes to take Bugatti to the next level.
Bugatti calls out the competition
The name Chiron refers to a centaur taken from ancient Greek mythology, and the name itself contextualizes Bugatti's goals. Centaurs were known to be debaucherous, hedonistic and uncultured, but Chiron was intelligent, civilized and of a more rarified air. By calling its new car the Chiron, Bugatti is calling out their competition as uncivilized, brash and beneath them.
Shots fired, Bugatti.
It's a good thing, then, that Bugatti Chiron has the substance to back up the name. The Chiron builds upon the legacy of the Veyron through the application of the principle "more is better." Like the Veyron, the Chiron is powered by a W16 engine with four turbochargers, but it now produces 1,500 horsepower, pushing it to 261 mph. Interestingly, despite a power increase of almost 50% over the original Veyron, the Chiron only sees a bump of 8 miles per hour to top speed, illustrating the exponential rise of the force of air resistance as speed increases. Like the Veyron, it's probable that special editions of the Chiron will be released over the next 10 years that will increase it's top speed incrementally.
The Chiron also manages to shame the latest batch of hypercars in overall refinement. The Mclaren P1, LaFerrari, and Porsche 918 may be incredibly quick around a racetrack, but their interiors are spartan, and a long distance drive may not be advisable. The Chiron, in contrast, has an interior covered in soft Corinthian leather that is beautiful enough to make you want to wake up in this new Bugatti.
Unfortunately, this car is $2.6 million, so very few of us ever will. But in the ever-relevant words of Ferris Bueller, "If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."