What You Didn't Know About The Bugatti Chiron
When the email lands in your inbox from Bugatti asking if you'd like to spend a day with their latest Hypercar - the Bugatti Chiron - you drop everything and get on a plane - even if it is to fly half way around the world for a test drive. Such is the magnitude of this invite I literally flew to Dubai for 1 day just to experience this incredible car and to share that experience on the MrJWW YouTube channel.
I often find with Supercars and Hypercars that it is the elements you actually don't see that define why these vehicles are so extreme and expensive as opposed to the obvious traits you do see. The intangibles that underpin these magnificent creations are often found in the engineering and in the case of the Bugatti Chiron it lies within solving problems that no other car manufacturer has ever had to solve.
The starting point to this tale of extremes is almost poetic as it lies within the seemingly trivial but deceptively essential dust cap. Of all the power, components, aerodynamics and sheer theatre the Chiron throws at you, the simple dust cap on the tyre valve is the first domino of information that triggers a cascade of engineering so extreme it literally borrows technology from the aerospace industry.
So here we go...
The dust cap of the Bugatti Chiron weighs just 2.5g, but at the electronically limited top speed of 261mph the valve cap is subject to over 3000 times it's own weight due to the centrifugal force of the rotation of the wheel. At that speed the innocent little dust cap now weighs a ridiculous 7.5kg which during development of the Chiron would cause the air valve to literally rip out of the tyre, effectively exploding it at top speed. From that single component alone, new tyres, valves, wheels and of course dust caps were invented to cope with the stresses never before incurred on a road car.
Imagine the engineering that went into the tyres alone? Michelin had to develop a compound that can deal with 261mph any time the owner of the car wishes. At full speed the edge of the tyre is subject to 3,800 G's, but equally this car can be driven as easily as any grand tourer and so the tyres need to also be capable of displacing standing water, complying to road noise regulations and coping with the lateral loads of a car that is over twice as powerful as a Ferrari 488 GTB.
Multiply those engineering challenges across every component of the Bugatti Chiron and it's a step in the right direction of beginning to understand it's £2.5 million price tag.
What is truly unique about the Chiron however is it's ability to effortlessly blur the lines between being one of the world's fastest cars and one of the most luxurious - simultaneously. Not to do the Chiron an injustice but the easiest way I find of explaining this wonder of a car is to pitch it as a 'Hyper-Bentley'. It's interior is stunningly refined and sophisticated, clad in soft napa leather and satin finished carbon fibre, the dual clutch gearbox seamlessly trickles through gears while the whoosh of air depleting from the turbos is a cool reminder that despite the tranquility you may find yourself in, your right foot is in fact commanding1500hp.
Speaking of 1500hp - what does that actually translate to? Well first of all to achieve such power a heavily evolved version of the 8.0 Litre W16 Quad Turbo charged engine from the Bugatti Veyron is used as the starting point - which by the way generates 1179 lb ft of torque - enough twisting power to spin the Earth in the opposite direction! Aside from a top speed of 261mph this tarmac terrorist will achieve 0-to-62mph in under 2.5sec, 0 to 124mph in less than 6.5sec and the mad one... from a standing start the Bugatti Chiron will accelerate from 0 to190mph in a frankly absurd 13.5 seconds.
For the sake of context, to achieve these performance figures the Chiron will consume 60,000 litres of air, while 800 litres of water will be pumped around the engine....Every. Single. Minute. The Chiron has 32 fuel injectors. Demand for fuel from the engine to produce that amount of power required Bugatti to invent new injectors because existing automotive systems simply couldn't force feed the engine with enough fuel fast enough for the Chiron to burn. To keep all of this cool, Bugatti had to fit the Chiron with TEN radiators. As a result, if you had the opportunity to run the Chiron flat out for long enough it would consume it's entire 100 litre fuel tank in just over 6 minutes.
It is easy to forget that despite the Chiron being a true manifestation of the traditional French brand, Bugatti is today owned by the Volkswagen group and as such it has to comply with the same very strict, very rigorous testing, that even a Volkswagen Golf goes through. The importance of this being that, yes, there are other 260mph+ cars out there, faster cars than the Bugatti Chiron even, but not one of them is held to account in the same way as the Chiron. It is required to operate the same in +45 degrees as it is in -30 degrees, it adheres to global crash tests and safety standards and incredibly even emissions regulations. How is that even possible you ask? Well, the surface area of the six catalytic converters which capture harmful particulates in the exhaust system is 230,266 metres squared, the equivalent of 30 football pitches. As a result the Chiron is homologated for every country in the world, no small feat for a car of which only 500 will be made.
So, with all that being said - what's it like to drive? Find out all about it in our video below...