The Bugatti Chiron is coming. If you’re the least bit interested in performance cars, this is big news.
That’s because it’s the replacement for the Bugatti Veyron, a car that whether you like it or not, reshaped the supercar market with the devastating effectiveness of a sledgehammer to chipboard.
Would the LaFerrari be nudging 1,000bhp if the Veyron didn’t possess a four-digit power figure? Would Hennessey have bothered sending its frankly bonkers Venom GT down a runway at 270mph if the Veyron hadn’t topped 260mph? We’ll never know for certain, but we suspect not.
The Chiron must fill bigger boots than nigh-on every supercar that’s gone before it. But as you’ll read on, there’s every chance Bugatti will smack other supercars into submission once again
It should look a little like this Vision GT concept
More than a little, we’re hoping. We’re unlikely to see the Chiron in great detail until spring 2016, but it’s likely its proportions and a number of its styling cues will come from Bugatti’s Vision Gran Turismo concept.
The production car will likely jettison that ginormous rear wing in favour of a mostly hidden active spoiler, while the wheels will lose a few inches in diameter and real mirrors will likely replace the concept car-spec side cameras.
But if it can retain even half of the Vision GT’s brooding, racecar aggression, it will look blooming brilliant.
It’s going to top 270mph
Naturally, Bugatti is yet to tell us any performance figures. But it has told us that the Chiron will be the fastest supercar on sale.
Given the Veyron Super Sport (pictured) managed an official 268mph and the Hennessey Venom GT a slightly-less-official 270mph, the Chiron needs to punch north of those figures.
By how much we don’t yet know: with Hennessey and Koenigsegg both keen on rather high top speed figures, it’s unlikely Bugatti will be happy with a figure in the low 270s.
Top Trumps enthusiasts everywhere must be hardly containing their anticipation.
Likely power output? More than 1,400bhp
Speed requires power, of course. And rather a lot of it, given the Chiron will up the Veyron’s luxury, and therefore quash any chance of its near two-tonne kerbweight being slimmed greatly.
Firm engine details are yet to be revealed, but a heavily upgraded version of the Veyron’s 8-litre, quad-turbo W16 (pictured) is more likely than an all-new unit, while a hybrid element could be the most effective way of increasing power simply and efficiently.
We’d expect at least a ten per cent hike on the Veyron Super Sport’s 1,200bhp, with some rumours suggesting 1,500bhp is the target. Needless to say, clever four-wheel drive and a paddleshift gearbox will stay, making that power as fearless to control as 100bhp in a VW Polo.
It pays homage to a rather good racing driver
Like the Veyron it succeeds, the Chiron borrows its name from a Bugatti racing great of old.
Louis Chiron was most prolific for Bugatti in the late 1920s and early 30s, during which time he became the first – and only – Monte Carlo-born driver to win the Monaco grand prix.
He also raced in Formula 1 at the age of 56, and he remains the oldest person to compete in the sport as a result.
It’s survived Dieselgate
“We will review all planned investments, and what isn’t absolutely vital will be cancelled or delayed.”
So said VW bosses as the extent of the company’s diesel emissions scandal – and the billions it was going to cost – started to become uncomfortably clear.
VW owns Bugatti, don’t forget. There were fears a squillion-horsepower supercar might (understandably, perhaps) be deemed as not absolutely vital.
Happily for us, this Chiron development car was spied out on the road shortly afterwards. Silly supercars are absolutely vital, it seems.
We’ll see it at the Geneva motor show in March…
It may still be wearing plenty of teasing disguise, but don’t think that means the Chiron is years away.
It is, in fact, just three months away: Bugatti will show it off at the Geneva motor show in early March, the next major European expo and the first since all the emissions-based negativity.
A 270mph-plus supercar could be the perfect diversion for all those angry, interrogative journalists.
…yet over 100 have already been sold
It’s not on sale yet, there’s no price tag (though £1.5million is probably an absolute minimum) and yet Bugatti already has orders for 100 Chirons. For comparison purposes, it sold 450 Veyrons in ten years.
And this is all while it’s still in development – those who’ve plonked their name on the waiting list did so without driving it.
How the other half lives…
“It will be the best super-sports car on the planet”
That’s the clearly impartial opinion of, um, Bugatti CEO Wolfgang Durheimer.
He should know better than anyone, though.
“The new car delivers everything much better than the previous one,” Durheimer told us last month, in reference to the Veyron.
“Everything is better. More power, higher top speed. Shorter acceleration. Cleaner design. More luxury. More of everything.”