This was not your average new car reveal. It wasn’t even your above-average new car reveal. It was a rainy night in Vancouver, B.C. and we were at Lamborghini Vancouver attending the Canadian unveiling of something truly special.
After all, it’s not every day that a new Bugatti gets launched. In fact, the days a new Bugatti – or any Bugatti, for that matter – are even seen north of the border, here, are few and far between. This, however, was one of those red-letter days.
The world got its first glimpse of the Bugatti Chiron at this year’s Geneva Auto Show, and it landed on U.S. soil a few months later at The Quail at Pebble Beach. If the car was going to make it to Canada, then the next logical step was Vancouver, as it was the closest destination to Monterrey, where The Quail takes place. (Sorry, Toronto friends, but sometimes it pays to be on the left coast.)
So there we stood, surrounded by a handful of Lamborghinis (both brands fall under the Volkswagen Auto Group blanket), a three-piece band, and Vancouver’s most well-heeled; indeed, they had better be, if they were going to be able to lay out the $2,800,000 US required to procure the latest example of Bugatti’s rolling artwork.
Which really is a big part of the Bugatti experience, isn’t it? The Bugatti folks onhand can talk all about how they know owners that drive their Veyrons every day – to the coffee shop, Cartier on Rodeo, the symphony, etc. – but there’s always the underlying feeling that even though this car will be pushing 270 mph if all goes to plan, it will often be treated as the cornerstone of a car collection.
You can just picture it sitting right there in the middle of a garage on a rotating pedestal, surrounded by the Ferraris, Porsches and McLarens that the owner actually drives much more often. That’s why even though the P1 may out-perform the Chiron on the racetrack, and while a Rolls Phantom can more comfortably transport occupants across country, there will always be room for unicorns like this.
Listen to Bugatti, and they have ultimate confidence in this fact.
“We don’t like ‘competition,’” said Maurizio Parlato, COO of Bugatti North America. “There is room for all of us, and we work together.” It’s very much a similar dialogue when you talk to a Rolls-Royce representative; while there is obviously competition in the form of the Bentley Mulsanne or Mercedes-Maybach S600, they maintain brands like Rolls-Royce and Bugatti exist on a slightly different plane. We tend to agree.
Not to mention the fact that if you have to come up with cars that may present a modicum of competition for the Chiron, you first think of the McLaren P1, LaFerrari and even that other VAG supercar, the Porsche 918. Parlato maintains that they shouldn’t.
“This is not a racing car,” he says. “This is for grand touring.” Indeed, when you need to get from Berlin to Paris, you’ll want to be able to do it at 300-plus km/h—
It may not be a race car, per se, but you wouldn’t know it when considering the power figures. That’s 1,500 hp and 1,180 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel this particular Bug to 100 km/h in under 2.5 seconds, which is not something you want to trifle with.
The top speed has not yet been confirmed, but you know that Bugatti is taking this very seriously; expect them to make a push for the 270-plus mph barrier sometime soon, which would once again give them the “fastest production car” title.
Yes; that top speed is only two mph faster than that set by the Veyron Super Sport – the fastest of all Veyrons – but when it comes to these astronomic speed figures, every little inch – sorry, mph – counts, and is enough to get you into the record books. Which, of course, is what this is all about.
According to Paralto, the quest for outright speed but also ultimate luxury is also why they decided to opt for a non-hybrid system as seen in most of the Chiron’s “competition.”
“Our customer base prefers an internal combustion engine,” he says. “[Volkswagen has] a hybrid on one end with the 918, and we have this on the other.” Plus, when the quest for top speed and good balance is so important, a hybrid system simply may not have worked considering the car’s compact dimensions; it’s only 4,544 mm long overall, with just 2,711 mm between the axles; that’s just 206 mm more than an Audi TTS.
Veyron SS or no, the Chiron simply looks the more purposeful car. Since the engine cooling intakes have been moved from the rear deck to either side of the car, the Chiron gets a lower roofline than the Veyron. It’s also wider, so the stance is a better one overall. The more cab-rearward look works well here, too.
Of note from the side view is the egg-shaped door openings, on hand to recall Bugattis of old. A similarly-shaped divider between the two seats helps complete the effect.
Bugatti expects the 500 they’re planning on building at the outset to find owners pretty fast. After all, 250 already have, about five of which will happen to live in our fair country. They’ll sell, and so will the special editions that are bound to follow, if the Veyron’s story arc is anything to go by.
After all: there’s plenty of room for more hypercars.