When the 2006 Bugatti Veyron appeared on the scene it brought new meaning to the word supercar. It was a car of large numbers and could actually live up to them. It quickly became the fastest production car ever built.
The Chiron, which boasts even larger figures than the Veyron, should, theoretically, help Bugatti reclaim its claim to fame, but it looks like the automaker doesn’t have any plans to do that and it’s confusing me.
The Veyron, thanks to its quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W16 engine that put out 1,001 horsepower and 922 pound-feet of torque, could hit 253 mph. Bugatti didn’t want its iconic nameplate to end there, though, continuing to come out with more powerful and faster versions.
The fastest Veyron was the Super Sport that bumped up the power to 1,200 hp and 1,106 lb-ft of torque. With the extra grunt, the supercar could hit an even crazier 258 mph.
With the Veyron, Bugatti was more than happy to chase top-speed records, going up against the likes of Hennessey Performance and Koenigsegg. One day the Veyron Super Sport was the king, the next day the Hennessey Venom GT Spyder had entered the mix, and shortly after Koenigsegg entered the fray with its Agrea RS.
It was an exciting time. And automakers like Hennessey and Koenigsegg are still interested in setting down record top-speed runs, but it looks like Bugatti has lost the taste for such a thing.
Forget about future top speed runs from Bugatti
According to Bugatti CEO Stephan Winkelmann, the automaker isn’t concerned with seeing how fast the new Chiron is. And it isn’t just a phase, it plain ol’ sounds like Winkelmann genuinely isn’t cornered with the car’s top speed. It’s a similar stance Winkelmann took at Lamborghini, as the head of the company, positioning the Rampaging Bull’s cars are more than just straight-line machines.
But the whole thing doesn’t sit right. Bugatti, at least in modern times, is known for making cars that are insanely fast in a straight line. And the people that can actually afford a Bugatti are all about bragging rights. Being able to afford such an expensive car is a bragging right, it having 1,500 hp is a bragging right, and it only being one of 500 available is, you guessed it, a bragging right.
Other high-end automakers have moved towards making cars that are more powerful and faster and they’re willing to put it all on the table to have bragging rights. Confusingly, Bugatti, which has made a name for itself as an automaker that produces the fastest cars in the world isn’t concerned with having the fastest car in the world. This sound like a terrible episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
Maybe Winkelmann and Bugatti are trying to hype the Chiron up, trying to wait out the crowd before really unleashing all of the Chiron’s potential. Or he could be leading the brand in a new direction, one that doesn’t involve being the fastest car in the world. If true, that would make me very, very sad. But more importantly, it might make some of their wealthy buyers upset as someone with a Koenigsegg or Hennessey can say that their car is faster and theoretically be correct.