The Bugatti Chiron has just taken the title of the world’s most powerful production car, with an 8.0-litre quad-turbo W-16 that turns out 1,480 horsepower and uses it to reach a top speed electronically limited to 420 km/h (261 mph), the automaker said February 29, ahead of the car’s reveal in Geneva.

[Update: a few hours later, that title was taken again by the Koenigsegg Regera, which also made its debut at Geneva, and which boasts 1,500 horsepower.)

The engine, which employs what Bugatti calls two-stage turbocharging, channels some 1,180 lb-ft of torque through its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to all four wheels; and while the company doesn’t yet have an official zero-to-100 km/h figure, its estimate is about 2.5 seconds.

The limit on the top speed is designed to keep the tires from wearing out, but unrestricted the Chiron could go as fast as 461 km/h (287 mph), CAR Magazine figures.

The price on the new supercar starts at 2.4 million Euro, or about $3.5 million Canadian. Only 500 cars will be made, but Bugatti says it already has pre-orders for about a third of that total.

You might see a passing resemblance between the Chiron and its predecessor, the Veyron – the new car is wider and higher – but Bugatti says it drew more on its history in shaping the Chiron’s carbon-fibre bodywork.

Specifically, its design is supposed to echo the Type 57SC Atlantic, specifically in the curve along the rear of the door; and in the central fin that runs from nose to tail, a throwback to the prominent riveted seam down the middle of the pre-war Bugatti.

Bugatti drew on its heritage, too, when it came to choosing a name: the car’s namesake, Louis Chiron, was a factory racing driver for the marque prior to and after the Second World War.

The interior of the Chiron has no real connection to past Bugattis, and indeed each car’s insides will be generally rather bespoke, that is, custom-fitted to the owner’s tastes. The trunk up front has been enlarged versus the Veyron’s, and can now fit a 44-litre suitcase.

The engineering Bugatti built into the Chiron is simply astounding. Though its W16 engine is based on its Veyron predecessor’s, it comes with completely new internals. Its four turbochargers are each 30 percent larger that the outgoing car’s, and work in two stages: two spool up when the Chiron launches, and the other two only kick in above 3,800 rpm.

All of these pieces are cooled by some 10 radiators, though brake cooling is helped in part a hydraulic flap by the front axle, which also lowers drag. There’s also a four-position spoiler out back which can, again, act as an airbrake during deceleration; and an adaptive suspension system to raise or lower the car for optimal aerodynamics.

The Bugatti Chiron makes its auto show debut at the Geneva Motor Show on March 1. The marque is already taking additional orders for the first Chirons, with expected delivery dates in early 2017.

(with files from CAR Magazine)