Simply put, the Chiron is one of the most extraordinary cars ever made. Its performance is of course shocking, and effectively unmatched, but the way that it delivers it is what really distinguishes the car. Instead of being loud, hot, temperamental, a thinly disguised race car for the road, the Chiron delivers its speed with a wildly impressive combination of unstoppable, unbreakable feeling solidity and an intoxicating sense of occasion and attention to detail that borders on art. Not in a garish, jewel-encrusted wristwatch sort of way, but in a timeless, elegant and tasteful way that leaves the car effectively without parallel.
Curiously, one of the most apt comparisons is with its predecessor, the Veyron, although the cars differ significantly in surprising ways. The Veyron with the singular mission of being the fastest production car on earth, and it was the first Bugatti to emerge after Volkswagen acquired the rights to the name in 1998. The Veyron was a pet project of Ferdinand Piech, then chairman of the VW group. His instructions were simple: build a civilized car capable of a top speed in excess of 400 kph (249 mph). The path to achieve this goal was anything but, however. The engineering and figures of the car are jaw-dropping: 8 liters of displacement, 16 cylinders, 64 valves, four turbochargers, 1,001 hp. Secondary technical features are no less remarkable: in addition to the 8-piston front and 6-piston rear AP Racing carbon brakes, the handbrake is equipped with ABS for use in the event of an emergency descent (deceleration seems too routine a word) from hyperspeed, while 10 heat exchangers serve the massive cooling needs for all the systems (three intercoolers, three coolant radiators, and one each for the transmission oil, engine oil, differential oil, and air conditioning refrigerant). And when it was new, all this sophistication was backed by a 2-year unlimited mileage warranty, which seems comedically pedestrian for such an exotic piece of equipment.
At first blush, the cars bear a lot of similarities. Both have carbon fiber monocoques, an 8.0 liter quad turbocharged W16, AWD, and a dual clutch transmission, but the performance of the Chiron is on the next level and perhaps most importantly, there is a depth to the Chiron experience that gives it more character: it is more delicate, more beautiful, more entertaining. Where the Veyron is almost austere in its focus on speed, the Chiron adds a level of playfulness and beauty that ultimately makes it more engaging.
But that doesn’t mean it’s any less performant. Quite the opposite: with larger turbochargers (of which two remain inactive until 3,800 RPM to reduce lag), the Chiron has a shocking 50% more power than the Veyron, bringing the total to 1,500 hp. The numbers that result from this are equally shocking. 0-60 in 2.4 seconds is quick, but it’s the 9.4 second quarter mile (at 158 mph!) and the 0-300 kph time 2.9 seconds faster than a McLaren P1 that really highlight how positively bonkers the car is. But at the same time, the car is gloriously finished unflappable and deeply competent at doing this, with massive reserves of competence. This is not a race car, it’s a jet, only nicer. And like a jet, there’s something fabulously old-fashioned about the car. There is no hybrid system, the speedometer is analog, there’s no massive screen inside or plastic, and the forms are organic and understated, inside and out. In sum, it is among the most gasoline powered cars ever made.
This particular Chiron is a one-owner car which has covered 500 miles from new. Finished in blue royal with tangerine/lake blue interior, it has $441,000 of options including full carbon fiber body, aluminum wing mirror bases, diamond cut classique wheels painted in the Le Patron scheme, leather and carbon interior trim, comfort seats, and custom headrest embroidery. In June 2021, the car received its 3 year service, which included a new battery, oil change, new brake fluid, and transmission oil replacement.