AT A GLANCE

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Prestige - DAMIEN REID

WHEN it comes to the 1120kW, 8.0-litre, 16-cylin­der quad turbo Bu­gatti Ch­i­ron, the fig­ures over­power words, writ­ten or spo­ken.

Film­ing a video seg­ment be­hind the wheel, I try to speak as I plant my right foot — and it quite lit­er­ally takes my breath away.

So fierce is the ac­cel­er­a­tion that it com­presses my chest and I’m phys­i­cally un­able to speak un­til I lift off the throt­tle. The spots in my vi­sion, from re­duced blood flow to the head, also clear.

Writ­ing about the ex­pe­ri­ence is no small chal­lenge. There are a tsunami of as­ton­ish­ing num­bers and an avalanche of re­ac­tions from my four hours be­hind the wheel — it’s hard to find one stat more im­pres­sive than the next.

When Volk­swa­gen launched the Bu­gatti Vey­ron in 2005, it aimed to re­set the bar for the ul­ti­mate su­per­car. Then BU­GATTI CH­I­RON PRICE SAFETY EN­GINE TRANS­MIS­SION DI­MEN­SIONS WEIGHT 0-100KMH TOP SPEED com­pany boss Wolf­gang Durheimer wanted a suc­ces­sor “bet­ter in every re­spect”.

En­gi­neers say the Ch­i­ron bet­ters the per­for­mance of the Vey­ron by 25 per cent in every re­spect from power to drag co­ef­fi­cient. Cer­tainly its power boost feels that way — the four tur­bos are 69 per cent larger than those used in the 895kW Vey­ron Su­pers­port.

Bu­gatti off­sets the risk of turbo lag by hav­ing two blow­ing from start-up, then at 3800rpm a valve opens to bring all four on song. Fed by four ex­hausts each, they de­liver a lin­ear 1600Nm wall of torque from 2000pm to 6000rpm.

With no hy­brid pow­er­train like the Porsche 918 or LaFer­rari, the Ch­i­ron doesn’t have in­stant take­off.

It’s more like the Space Shut­tle launch­ing — it takes power to move the mass, then once off the mark it just never stops ac­cel­er­at­ing — and that means rest to 200km/h in 6.5s.

Un­der con­trolled con­di­tions cruis­ing at prodi­gious speeds, it feels com­posed, tractable, yet also ready to pounce. Be­yond half­way on the 500km/h speedo, I can chat to my co­driver and still guide it with pin­point ac­cu­racy.

Ac­cel­er­a­tion and com­po­sure are peer­less but its brak­ing per­for­mance is per­haps even more im­pres­sive.

Enor­mous 420mm car­bon ce­ramic discs and a gi­ant rear air brake wipe speed off faster than I ex­pect, so I find my­self con­sis­tently brak­ing too early into cor­ners, re­call­ing the ad­vice from a Bu­gatti en­gi­neer be­fore we set out, that the Ch­i­ron al­ways wins the men­tal game of chicken with its driver.

As well as dis­pens­ing wis­dom, the en­gi­neers also pro­vide some head-spin­ning sta­tis­tics. At its gov­erned top speed of 420km/h, the Ch­i­ron sucks 1000L of air a sec­ond into its 10 ra­di­a­tors and in­ter­cool­ers; its wa­ter pump pro­pels 800L a minute, the equiv­a­lent of fill­ing an av­er­age bath­tub every 11 sec­onds.

At prodi­gious speeds, it’s thirsty — on full throt­tle, its 100L tank is drained in just un­der eight min­utes.

The Ch­i­ron is not a stripped­out racer like the LaFer­rari. The in­te­rior matches Bent­ley lev­els

Con­tin­ued page 10

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