It’s been just over a year since the Bugatti Chiron was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show on March 1, 2016. Since then, the motoring world has been eager to know whether this £2.1 million, 1,479bhp monster could top the over-worldly Veyron.
The aim with the Chiron was straightforward: to be better than the Veyron. Cost was virtually irrelevant, the mission was simply to create the ultimate hypercar. Again.
Finally, the first reviews are in, and yep, the word is good, but first, some numbers.
While we’ve told you the cost and power output, it can also sprint up to 60mph from a standstill in 2.5 seconds, with a top speed of 261mph – although the speedo actually goes up to 500km/h (310mph).
The Chiron’s W12 eight-litre engine is fed by a quartet of turbos and linked to a comparatively modest seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The phrase ‘fuel economy’ probably isn’t even in the language of anyone who can afford a two-million pound car, but just so you know, on a combined cycle of motorway and inner-city driving, it can return 12.6mpg, emitting 516g/km of CO2.
Only 500 Chirons will ever be built and deposits have already been placed for half of those.
Top Gear’s Chris Harris has no doubt that Bugatti has succeeded in its aim of bettering the Veyron.
After getting giddy at the “absolutely mindbending” pace of the Chiron, reaching 236mph during his drive, Harris commented how the car has “more personality than the Veyron, which was a car that you admired and respected. This is more a rounded car. You can take it down your favourite road and enjoy driving it, [while] the Veyron was more fast in a straight line for me”.
Despite it being “more unruly than expected”, Harris added that one of the Chiron’s finer points is how it was developed to essentially live at high speed.
“It was designed to go beyond 200mph repeatedly,” he beams. “To do that, the way Bugatti has de-risked stuff, everything from tyre performance to the wheel steering dynamics to the cabin, it’s taken a huge amount of time and resources.”
Auto Express (AE) were won over too, awarding it all five stars. They spoke of the Chiron’s ability to ‘stop you dead in your tracks’, with its eight headlights creating a ‘sinister frown, while the bold sweeping graphic along each flank is an unmistakable design signature’.
Inside, the Chiron’s cockpit design is ‘equally dramatic’, with ‘a curving partition that sweeps back to form an unbroken arc from headlining to centre console’.
There’s no disputing the Chiron’s pace, but how does it handle?
AE kind of agree with Harris that the Veyron was ‘never an especially engaging car to drive’ and hailed the Chiron as ‘significantly more tactile, especially through the steering’.
What Car? wrote that steering is at its most pleasing in normal mode, with good weighting, pleasant self-centering and a natural, easy feel.
Meanwhile, the guys at Evo highlight Bugatti’s realisation that the Chiron had to inject more feeling and emotion this time, something that is immediately addressed.
They wrote: ‘Pretty much straight away you sense the connection and detail through the steering.
‘Of course, there’s tons of grip and unshakable traction – anything less would be extremely negligent given the power and torque on-tap – but it’s the fact you now know how much you’re using and how much is left that marks the Chiron out as something special.’
We’ve yet to read anything less than glowing about the Chiron in the motoring press thus far.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the bloated numbers, but by all accounts, Bugatti has combined those figures to form a passionate and rewarding machine.
There’s already speculation that an almost inevitable Super Sport variant could reach a speed that begins with a three, so don’t go thinking this is the whole story just yet…