2019 Bugatti Chiron First Review
- World’s fastest and most expensive vehicle
- 1,500-hp, quad-turbocharged, W16 engine
- Hand-crafted carbon-fiber construction
- Top speed electronically limited to 261 mph
- Pricing starts at $2,998,000
We’ve been held prisoner in the world’s fastest supercar for 50 agonizing minutes. Bumper-to-bumper traffic has ensured that we won’t exceed a walking pace, yet the experience is oddly amusing.
Our gorgeous $3 million Bugatti coupe has nearby spectators – passengers in the cars and trucks around us – mesmerized. Their vehicle windows are rolled down and camera-toting arms are extended outward gleefully taking pictures. A few of the gawkers immediately recognize the sleek Chiron, shouting “Bugatti!” at the top of their lungs, but most are not familiar with low-volume, limited-edition, world record-holding French supercar. They are dumbfounded, inelegantly taking mobile phone shots of the vehicle simply because it appears alien and unfamiliar. We have to give them full credit for their efforts – with fewer than 500 examples roaming the entire globe, the multi-million-dollar Bugatti Chiron is indisputably a rare sight to observe.
A second-generation supercar from a traditional French automaker
Bugatti Automobiles, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, is a 20-year-old rebirth of the famed Bugatti marquee founded more than a century ago by Frenchman Ettore Bugatti. With a focus on beauty, design, and uncompromised engineering, the company introduced its 1,001-hp Veyron supercar in 2005, which was touted as, “The fastest, most powerful and most expensive car in history.” The 1,500-hp Chiron, introduced in 2016, is the Veyron’s successor – completely redesigned, quicker, faster, and even more exclusive than its predecessor. The Chiron’s eye-opening multi-million-dollar price tag isn’t preposterous when one realizes that this vehicle is a technological tour de force in the grandest scale.
How much does the Bugatti Chiron cost?
Base price of the 2019 Bugatti Chiron is $2,998,000 – about 100 times the cost of the average new car after options and sales tax are factored in. On a positive note, the destination fee is included and nearly everything else on the vehicle, from full power accessories to premium upholstery, is fitted as standard equipment. There are options, of course, which consist of cosmetic enhancements to ensure that the owner’s Chiron is one-of-a-kind. To satisfy the desire for exclusivity, buyers may order custom contrasting paint colors, carbon-fiber mirror caps, or even exposed carbon fiber on the body. The wish list options don’t come cheap – some of the most bespoke offerings are six-figure upgrades to what is already the most expensive production vehicle in the world.
16 cylinders and four turbochargers deliver 1,500 horsepower
The Bugatti Chiron boasts a quad-turbocharged, 8.0-liter, W16 rated at 1,500 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque. Technically speaking, the unique “W” configuration defines four banks of four cylinders sharing a common crankshaft. Two of the four turbochargers are used at low speed, while the other two join the party at higher engine revolutions – this helps to reduce turbo lag. Putting the power to the ground is a permanent Haldex all-wheel-drive system receiving power through a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The automaker doesn’t offer a manual transmission because there doesn’t exist anything robust enough to handle the prodigious amount of torque – a traditional foot-operated clutch would be ripped apart by the power.
How fast is the Bugatti Chiron?
Bugatti’s engineers have electronically limited the top speed of the Chiron to 261 mph – blame a concern for safety, as the special Michelin tires aren’t designed to handle higher velocities. Without restrictions, and offered a long straight-away, many experts say the vehicle will easily top 280 mph (some even suggest it could hit an unheard-of 300 mph).
While top speed is one of the Chiron’s highly-touted strengths – no other production vehicle is as fast – its acceleration times are equally as impressive. The 0 to 60 mph sprint takes just 2.4 seconds. It will pass through 124 mph in 6.5 seconds, and blast to 186 mph in 13.6 seconds (that’s about twice as quick as a commercial jet accelerating down an airport runway). Although there are a few sports cars that can keep up with the French supercar briefly, the Chiron will leave everything its wake once they hit triple digits.
What is it like to drive the Bugatti Chiron
The Chiron’s two-place cabin encapsulates both occupants within a spacecraft-like cockpit of fine leather, hand-crafted carbon-fiber, and polished metals. Fit and finish, and quality of materials, is exemplary. The seats are very firm, but supportive and comfortable. Yet, despite the massive size of the Chiron, the passenger compartment is not very spacious – womb-like is a near-perfect description.
Sixteen cylinders effortlessly fire to a start with the press of a button and then instantly settle down to a soothing, deep, idle. It only takes a light touch on the accelerator pedal to move the Chiron out of the driveway – the throttle is very sensitive at low speeds, effectively making the Bugatti feel lighter than its 4,400-pound curb weight would suggest.
Cruising around town at slow speeds, and navigating through congested traffic, is effortless – the multi-million-dollar supercar is docile (behaving much like a low-slung premium Audi A8). But mash the throttle when an open stretch of road appears, and the accelerative g-forces become mind-blowing – a stupefying amount of power is unleashed as the turbochargers spool and the four massive tires claw for traction. The effect is dizzying as the speedometer climbs at an incomprehensible – and highly illegal – rate. Abruptly lift the throttle, to avoid breaking every speed law, and the excess turbo boost is released with a thunderous “whoosh!”
It’s an emotional experience, complete with neck-pinning acceleration and marvelous sounds – the Chiron is a beast. Its unruliness is, in the most succinct terms, absolutely fabulous.
Bugatti Chiron versus Bugatti Veyron
The 1,001 horsepower Bugatti Veyron was undoubtedly dethroned when the Chiron arrived with a jaw-dropping 1,500 horsepower. But aside from the objective power and performance statistics – which the newer Bugatti surpassed in every category – the Chiron represents a giant leap forward in styling, engineering, and technology.
The Veyron was attractive. Yet the exterior of the Chiron is stunning as it recalls the styling of the celebrated Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic – complete with a central spine down the middle. The interior of the Chiron is equally as beautifully sculpted, too. It features prominent high-resolution, multi-function, digital gauges – whereas the Veyron relied on traditional analog instrumentation.
In terms of driving dynamics, the Chiron feels responsive, nimble, and agile – the Veyron felt heavy and ponderous, with notable turbo lag. The Chiron’s steering is spot-on, too, with excellent ratios. And the carbon silicon carbide brakes feel positively herculean.
Is it reasonable to compare a $2 million Bugatti Veyron to a $3 million Bugatti Chiron? Having driven both, we feel the answer is effortlessly straightforward – the new Chiron is indisputably worth its million-dollar premium.