Visitors to the USA's most glamorous car event, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, will have been treated to quite the spectacle. In amongst the classics, bespoke supercars and Concours entrants nestled the first US customer delivery of one of the most hyped supercars of recent times - the Bugatti Chiron.
Bugatti's had a chequered past. Production of the Bugatti EB110 ceased in 1995 at the crippling hands of bankruptcy. We thought it was finally curtains for the famous French brand, but a decade on and one German benefactor (Volkswagen) later, the world was introduced to 450 examples of the 250mph plus Veyron in various forms. After turning double digits in 2015, the Veyron was no more and the two year -hyped- wait for the Chiron begun. Now, at the one of the world's most glamorous car events, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the first US customer owned Chiron awaits collection.
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The lion share of Chirons are destined for Europe. Incidentally, almost 30% of orders have come from the USA which Bugatti has labelled their second largest market for the 500 limited production series. Embracing the Chiron’s conspicuous aesthetics, the lucky customer of the first USA car has opted for a two-tone colour scheme. Finished menacingly in black, the rear of the car swallows the opposing, sun-like hue dominating the nose end of the Chiron.
The colour scheme is replicated in the cabin too: the black dashboard features flashes of yellow, that also border the beautifully milled aluminium fascia. The stitched leather seat centres don’t escape the yellow dye either. The extravagance of this specification (US$2.998 million including shipping, duties, taxes and charges) is no surprise. This customer will likely set the tone for others to follow, who’ll want a unique Chiron like no other, squeezing out every last ounce of exclusively they can from the £2.5-million hypercar.
Beneath the yards of leather and purposeful profile, the Chiron defines extremis in automotive engineering. 16 cylinders are oxygenated by four turbochargers, two of which are dormant until 3800rpm to minimise turbo lag and aid response. The basic architecture of the Veyron has been carried forward, although the majority of the 8.0 litre’s internals are brand new. The monstrous power plant develops 1479bhp and 1180lb ft worth of twisting force, mercilessly deployed by all four wheels.
Somehow, the 0-62mph time of 2.5sec isn’t the headline figure. 0-124mph is dealt with in a 6.5sec, just 0.1 sec slower than it takes a VW Golf GTI to hit 62mph from standstill. Most unnerving is the speculated 0-248mph time, supposedly 30 seconds. Our drive of the Chiron was the revelation we’d hoped. That emotional layer absent in the Veyron is thickly spread on the Chiron. Reconciling the clinical requirements and huge performance with genuinely an enjoyable drive is a difficult task that Bugatti has thankfully toppled.