The Veyron is no more but in its place the new Veyron, sorry, the Chiron, which was revealed at the Geneva show recently. Considerably similar but vastly more expensive, the company will now actually make money on each car sold instead of losing plenty on every Veyron. Chiron gets its name from a famous French racer of the 1920s and early 1930s.
Sporting an updated version of the quad-turbo W16 engine poking out an unlikely 1100kW, the 2.0 tonne colossus can accelerate from nought to 100km/h in under 2.5sec, on its way to a top speed of 418km/h.
These figures and the cost alone should be enough to keep Bugatti at the top of the supercar heap, though the company also says Chiron is the most powerful road car to ever reach series production. Not that many will be made, the run limited to 500 examples only. It’s also a supercar for the superwealthy, with a list price of€2.4 million Euro. Already, the company has confirmed orders for 150 examples. The first Chirons will be delivered in Q4, with further variants currently in the planning stages.
It’s easy to get the impression the Chiron is a Veyron makeover, but Bugatti’s chief, Wolfgang Dürheimer, denies that. It now has a full carbon fibre construction but in the middle behind the two passengers the powertrain is remarkably similar, the 8.0L W16 heavily revised, with an extra 367kW and 348Nm. The torque now peaks at 1600Nm, from 2000-6000 rpm.
The list of new engine technology is extensive but it’s the numbers that are important, and the extra grunt comes largely from bigger, more potent turbos, and an exhaust system with less back pressure.
The turbos operate now in a two-stage process, with half on line initially and the other two chiming in at engine speeds above 3800rpm. All that output works through a strengthened sevenspeed dual-clutch transmission, and on out through a four-wheeldrive system and torque vectoring differential. This set-up is said to make Chiron “easy to drift”. You’d be disappointed if it didn’t, given the numbers generated.
Significantly those numbers say the Chiron is quicker than the Veyron, lopping almost a second off its 0-200km/h time. Top speed is said to be 11km/h more than that of its forerunner.
The chassis developments aimed to improve ride quality without upsetting body control, and to this end Chiron utilises an adaptive suspension system, with variable ride height and damping. There are five driving modes on offer, one to help negotiate speed humps (Lift), and three modes in which top speed is limited to a piffling 378km/h. Once again, to attain ultimate top speed, you need to engage the mode that goes by the same name via a ‘Speed Key’ and then you can
charge on to the 418km/h end of days. Good luck finding a road or track for that.
Should your luck hold, rest assured that the ceramic brakes are up to reining in the all-conquering performance of Chiron, the 420mm front discs clamped by eight-piston calipers while the 400mm rear carbon-ceramic discs use six-potters. The company claims a best 100-0 distance of 31.3m. We’d like to verify that.
There’s no mistaking the origins of Chiron, as styling shares strong visual cues with Veyron, but the lines of the new car are more dramatic, and it looks more aerodynamically efficient than its predecessor. Design chief, Achim Anscheidt, says styling involved much input from the Bugatti engineering team to ensure ‘greater functionality without any loss in overall impact’. Which we take to mean, looks better but it’s no flying car. So cue an enormous front splitter, big horizontal air ducts, Bugatti’s traditional semicircular grille, distinctive LED headlamps with integrated ducts feeding air to the front brakes, and the dramatic circular sweep of bodywork that connects the rear of the front wheel arches backwards towards the midmounted engine and then upwards and forwards ending at the A-pillars. There’s also the iconic central spine that largely bisects the car, and apparently aids longitudinal stability. Can’t get enough of that at 418km/h. A new NACA duct is used to channel air into the engine bay and is said to be more aerodynamically efficient than the Veyron’s separate scoops.
The rear of the Chiron is rather different from that of the Veyron, with a fully integrated rear spoiler, a wide LED light band, large air ducts, a central mount dual exhaust and sizeable diffuser. Overall, Chiron is slightly larger than Veyron, though the wheelbase is essentially the same length.
At the core of the Chiron is a new carbon fibre monocoque, similar to that used in the VW Group’s LMP1 cars. Unlike Veyron, a sandwich construction is used for the floor, while a composite engine cradle adds stiffness. However, this and the enlarged dimensions come at a weight cost, the Chiron roughly 150kg heavier than Veyron, scaling up at 1995kg.
The cabin is finished in leather, carbon fibre and brushed aluminium. Unusually, the passenger airbag deploys through a carbon fibre mechanism, not seen before in a production car.
Dürheimer concluded, “the Chiron is the ultimate super sports car, a new superlative in the automotive world” and he added that the car’s current top speed is “by no means the end of the road”. Expect more excess any time soon.