Now that all 500 Bugatti Chirons have been sold and manufacturing is winding down, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on a milestone in automotive history. Bugatti was the first road car manufacturer to break the supposedly indestructible 300mph barrier, and the first road vehicle to generate more than 1,500 HP and subsequently 1,600 HP.
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Chiron engineers had the task to improve on the best
The Veyron 16.4 was already a car that pushed the boundaries of performance, luxury, and daily utility, but Bugatti engineers were tasked with improving on what was already a near-perfect vehicle.
The Chiron is the first premium super sports vehicle with at least 1,500 horsepower. It has been handcrafted in Molsheim, Alsace, since 2016, expanding the frontiers of the automobile industry once again.
Building on Veyron’s 10-year tradition
The Veyron, which was built between 2005 and 2015, is still regarded as one of the world’s most sophisticated automobiles. It was the first production automobile to extend the performance range beyond 1,000 horsepower and 400 kilometers per hour, spawning a new vehicle segment: the hyper sports car.
The engineers and designers working on the Bugatti Chiron were given one basic directive: make the great even better in every way.
“In-keeping with the company’s long tradition, the Chiron represents the best, most extraordinary vehicle in the world. In every respect, it must excel – not just fast, but beautifully designed, constructed from the finest materials, usable in all conditions and at all times, and comfortable during long journeys.
This is what makes the hyper sports car truly unique,” explains Christophe Piochon, Chief Operating Officer of Bugatti Rimac and President of Bugatti Automobiles.
Such a unique vehicle necessitated a unique moniker. Louis Chiron, a legendary racing driver who competed for Bugatti from 1926 to 1933 and won several races and podiums, was an inspiration to Chiron.
He was the first Monegasque driver to win a Grand Prix in his hometown, and he was widely regarded as the world’s top racing driver at the time. His legacy is an appropriate one to associate with an automobile that is simply unrivaled.
Bugatti Chiron meant real engineering innovation to achieve all that power
Chiron is powered by an 8.0-liter W16 engine with four turbochargers, similar to the Veyron’s, but substantially revamped.
The Chiron grabbed the world by storm when it was released; its 1,500 horsepower, 1,600 Nm of torque, and ground-breaking technological advancements had never been seen in a production vehicle before. Its performance was also something out of this world.
The Chiron speeds from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in 2.4 seconds, 200 kilometers per hour in 6.1 seconds, and 300 kilometers per hour in 13.1 seconds. It has an electronically regulated peak speed of 420 km/h.
Bugatti has re-engineered and further refined various driving components in vehicles like the Chiron Super Sport2 – which developed from the original Chiron in 2016, boosting the power output to 1,600 HP – an increase of 100 HP. The Chiron Super Sport is the fastest production sports vehicle ever, with a peak speed of 440 km/h.
It wasn’t simple to build such performance into the Chiron. Over the Veyron, air cooling had to be enhanced to enable more than 60,000 liters of air per minute to be circulated through the engine, while a custom coolant system had to be built to circulate 800 liters of water per minute throughout the system.
The cooling system of the Chiron has a total of ten radiators, including three coolers for engine oil, transmission oil, and rear axle differential oil, as well as two water/air heat exchangers and a hydraulic oil cooler. It is the most sophisticated and highest-performance cooling system installed on a performance car.
Even the catalytic converters, which are nearly six times the size of those on a typical automobile and have a surface area of more than 30 soccer fields, are technical marvels.
The new chassis is built on a totally redesigned carbon fiber monocoque that uses 320 square meters of carbon fiber. If all of the fibers were stretched end-to-end, they would extend to about 2,200,000 miles or approximately four times around the moon.
The chassis featured Bugatti’s first adaptive technology, which gave the driver more control over the chassis height adjustment, electronically controlled shock absorbers, power-assisted steering, four-wheel drive, electronically controlled rear differential, aerodynamic control system, and stability and brake control system.
Since 2016, Bugatti engineers and designers have been working on new Chiron models with radically distinct personalities, encompassing the whole Bugatti performance range. The Chiron Pur Sport is a corner-hungry car, while the Chiron Super Sport has unmatched longitudinal dynamics.
“No two Chirons are the same, because each one is configured individually and produced by hand according to the customer’s wishes. This ensures that every car is indeed unique,” says Hendrik Malinowski, Managing Director of Sales and Marketing at Bugatti Automobiles.
Constant development, evolution, and innovation have been the reasons behind Bugatti’s success
Bugatti automobiles represent the height of technological sophistication and innovation. It was because of this attitude that Ettore Bugatti developed the first aluminum wheels over 95 years ago. Along with the one-of-a-kind engine, the Chiron has outstanding materials, components, and other subtle touches.
The wishbones are made of high-strength stainless steel, such as aircraft-grade stainless steel. The connection between the driver’s cab and the drive unit is done using titanium threaded bolts. The brake caliper pistons are also titanium, while the lightweight magnesium wheels on the Chiron Pur Sport save 16kg of unsprung mass.
Since 2016, the Chiron has had the industry’s first series-produced metal 3D-pressure-functional component placed in the transmission oil reservoir: a water-flow high-pressure pump console. The 3D-printed titanium exhaust trim on the Chiron Sport is made up of about 4,200 layers of metal powder welded closely together.
Designers and aerodynamicists created a longtail in the Chiron Super Sport to guarantee that air flowing over and beneath the car stays linked to the bodywork for as long as possible, decreasing air resistance. At the same time, freshly created air curtains in the front serve to direct the air around the corner as efficiently as possible.
The Bugatti Chiron is also the first automobile to have a completely hydraulically adjustable chassis, similar to that of a jet. The rear wing folds upwards and works as a brake flap to allow the Chiron to safely brake from its peak speed of almost 400 km/h. Bugatti uses a total of 18 hydraulic cylinders to regulate the active aerodynamics in the back and front.
Only top-quality materials can support such performance
Every Chiron has reached the highest standards of luxury, comfort, daily drivability, and durability from the first. Each vehicle is meticulously designed and tested to tremendous stresses, even on the shortest of trips, to guarantee optimal safety, dependability, and comfort in all circumstances.
The vehicle components utilized in the super sports car are only used after a thorough quality assessment. Before being fitted in the Chiron, each powerplant is put through its paces on a performance test bench for eight hours. Employees tighten at least 3,800 screws and double-check them before putting more than 1,800 different elements together into a single, unified work of engineering art.
Before being delivered to the buyer, each automobile goes through an exhaustive acceptance and quality procedure that takes several days. Bugatti is thorough when it comes to material quality and painting, in addition to testing all vehicle systems. The individual coats of paint on the automobile body take three weeks to apply.
The exposed carbon contains six layers, while the topcoat has up to eight. Bugatti is the market leader in terms of manufacturing quality for exposed carbon. The work is meticulously scrutinized between each phase, with each layer placed, sanded, and polished by hand.
A Bugatti super sport vehicle might take up to six months to reach the open road.
“The origins of the Bugatti brand lie in art and the innovative pursuit of technical excellence. This is unique in the automotive world. We are committed to this tradition and have brought it into the 21st century with the Chiron. Customers experience this in several dimensions during the drive,” says Mr. Piochon.
Chiron – the record-breaker
With the Chiron, Bugatti has set a number of world records. In August 2017, the Chiron traveled from 0 to 400 km/h and returned in 41.96 seconds, breaking a new world record. In August of this year, Bugatti became the first manufacturer to break the 300-mph barrier.
Bugatti achieved a new speed record of 304.773 mph (490.484 km/h). Never before has a series producer been able to produce at such a high rate. This record continues till now.
Bugatti is looking to the future now that all 500 Chiron automobiles have been sold. New initiatives are being developed on a daily basis. Just as Ettore Bugatti would have wanted, and who famously once said: “If it is comparable, it is no longer Bugatti.”