The Chiron is Bugatti’s difficult second album. Think back to the Veyron. People went wild. The world had never seen a production car with 1000 horsepower. It was a marvel of engineering. It was the darling of the motoring press, because nothing like it had come before. It was ‘Armstrong walks on the moon’ wrapped sumptuous Corinthian leather. Fast forward 11 years, and the media hype surrounding the Chiron more often than not features words like ‘status symbol’ and ‘respek generator’. Being clever, rather than building an even bigger sledgehammer, is what matters now. We have the P1, the LaFerrari, and the 918 to thank for that.
Of course, the Chiron is still an astonishing achievement. The words ‘8.0 litre quad-turbocharged W16’ justify most of it. It has 1500 horsepower, 1180 ft/lb of torque, and will hit 62 mph in about 2.5 seconds. Bugatti says it’s got a top speed of 261 mph, but they’ve given it a speedo that goes up to 310 mph/500 kph just in case. Maybe there’ll be a tailwind. It’s a portly beast, weighing in at 4400 lbs, but this was never a car built to handle. It’s a car built to be more powerful than anything else in the history of four wheels, and at that it succeeds easily.
Yes, it’s amazing, and yes, they’ll all sell out immediately. If you’ve got the money to spend and you want the most powerful, most luxurious, and most ostentatious land missile money can buy, I hope you enjoy your Chiron. We could all drive around in sensible cars because they’re reliable, and because it’s a good idea, but people spend more money than they should and risk breakdowns because the rewards of driving a car you love are so great. The Chiron is that times $2.6 million minus the breakdowns. Whether it’ll enjoy the same place as the Veyron in automotive history remains to be seen.