These days 1,000 horsepower and a million bucks has become far, far more common — almost a trend, really. So when it was rumored that Bugatti was developing a predecessor to their science-fiction-worthy space sled, the motoring world began to speculate: Could Bugatti pull the same trick again? Would their newest be as mind-bending? As groundbreaking?
It’s been over a decade since the astonishing, tarmac-wrinkling Bugatti Veyron debuted. The Veyron was, arguably, exciting in a way that no car had ever been. 1,001 horsepower! A quad-turbo W16 engine! A top speed of over 250 mph! A million dollars! Sure, it was somewhat underwhelming from a “will it turn well?” perspective, and its design seemed a little reserved. But in the mid-aughts the Veyron was so incredibly powerful, so grippy, so engineered — so chunky, so desirable — it seemed reasonable to believe that instead of propelling itself forward it in fact moved the earth in reverse.
Meet the new Bugatti Chiron. A new name. 50 percent more oomph — it’s “the first production sports car with 1,500 horsepower,” nearly 1,200 lb-ft of torque, from an all-new W16. 0-60 in less than 2.5 seconds. As far as top speed goes, “the manufacturer has limited the maximum speed of the new car to 260 mph for road use.” Only 500 made — and it costs about $2.6 million.
That acceleration figure is so bewildering. The fact that Bugatti had to set a limit of ~100 mph greater than where most very-high-performance cars top out is comically insane. A 50 percent increase in power over what was in The Most Powerful Car We’d Ever Seen is staggering.
But is any of this surprising? Or fantastically exciting? Did Bugatti outdo themselves with the Chiron, which is all we wanted? Or — real talk — are we actually so jaded by the supersonic, uber-bling engineering spectacles now on the road that the Chiron, which might otherwise be the most amazing vehicle this side of the Champs-Élysées, just doesn’t stir us like we hoped it would? There’s zero denying the Chiron is a damn marvel. Objectively, it’s a masterwork. To be over the moon about the Chiron, though, well, we’ll just have to wait to see it in the flesh. Or hear it blast down Ehra-Lessien at full tilt. Or maybe press the engine starter ourselves…
Then we’ll know for certain that, yes, Bugatti is still Bugatti; it still astonishes. And the Chiron is their new marvel.