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Bugatti Lifts Covers on 261-mph Chiron Ahead of Geneva Debut

Limited-edition ultracar aiming to regain world speed record.

by on Feb.29, 2016

The new Bugatti Chiron.

The long-awaited successor to the Bugatti Veyron has made its debut a day ahead of its official unveiling at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, and whether you’re talking price, power or performance, the numbers are staggering.

To run by the basics, the new Bugatti Chiron will punch out 1,500 horsepower, launch from 0 to 60 in less than 2.5 seconds, and top out at 261 mph, enough to put it on target for a new world speed record. Oh, and did we mention the starting price of $2.6 million?

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“The Chiron is the quintessential ultimate super sports car: ultra-modern, incredibly fast, agile and powerful with a stylistically demanding design and the highest possible levels of comfort,” says Bugatti chief Wolfgang Dürheimer. “This combination is not offered by any other market player and gives Bugatti its unique market position.”

Another number matters here. Once the Bugatti Chiron comes to market this autumn, the supercar maker says it will produce only 500 of them, the same cap put on the original Veyron. Of course, there’s a relatively limited number of buyers with the cash and the opportunity to actually enjoy a vehicle like the Chiron.

One of the Chiron's signature features is the distinctive, single-bar taillight.

(Check out the complete list of new models coming to the Geneva Motor Show, Click Here.)

There are any number of superlatives that could be lavished on the new Bugatti Chiron. It is, for one things, the first production automobile to reach 1,500 horsepower. With four turbochargers to pump it up, the 2-seater’s 8.0-liter W-12 engine also manages 1,180 pound-feet of torque. To put things into perspective, the latter versions of the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse could “only” make around 1,200 horsepower.

There needs to be an asterisk when discussing top speed. Bugatti uses some consciously vague language, and it appears that it has limited the car to 261 mph on public roads. In an effort to ensure it dominates the competition when it comes to track speed, insiders hint the Chiron will actually push a bit closer to the sort of numbers you see on the drag strip, closing in on 300 mph.

“Bugatti has tested the limits of physics,” says Dürheimer, who also heads operations at Bentley. “The Chiron is the result of our efforts to make the best even better.”

To deal with the laws of physics, Bugatti engineers have taken a number of steps. The Chiron gets an adaptive chassis with adjustable ground clearance levels, automated shocks and various active aero features, such as the rear spoiler. The closed underbody features a mix of grooves and active diffusers to minimize drag while maximizing downforce.

The Chiron's interior is said to have been influenced by the classic Bugatti Atlantic.

The system automatically kicks into Autobahn Mode at speeds abovee 110 mph, but there’s also a Handling Mode for anyone who wants to push the car’s limits on the track.

Like the earlier Veyron, the new Bugatti Chiron requires a second ignition switch to let it reach that top speed of 420 kmh, or about 261 mph.

Visually, the Bugatti Chiron doesn’t make a major break from the older Veyron. There’s the familiar, horse-collar grille and the A-pillar flows into the roofline, wrapping around the large side scoops before flowing back into the rocker panels.

To maximize visibility – something useful when you’re blowing past 200 mph, the new Chiron features headlights that each consist of four smart LED lamps. In the rear, however, what appears to be a single lamp spans the entire width of the supercar.

The new Chiron will require someone with serious driving skills, but it doesn’t expect a motorist to suffer through Spartan furnishings. The interior is reasonably spacious – there’s even 44 liters of luggage space – and well outfitted. The cabin is meant to reflect the legendary Bugatti Atlantic. The goal was to find the “balance between ‘beauty’ and ‘beast,’” the maker suggests.

Among other touches, the audio system’s four tweeters each include a one-carat diamond membrane. The system, Bugatti claims, turns the Chiron into “the world’s fastest concert hall.

The Chiron surround the familiar, horse-collar grille with four-LED headlamps.

(Click Here for a first look at the Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe.)

Settle back to enjoy the ride in either the stock power seats or more track-tuned sport seats. “The focus is on the pilot,” Bugatti adds, with three high-resolution video monitors presenting a wealth of vehicle data, as well as controlling the infotainment system. The faster you go, however, the more basic the display to minimize distraction.

Among the safety features are all the prerequisite smart systems you’d expect on a car of this price. There’s also the world’s first airbag designed to burst out from behind a carbon fiber panel. Meanwhile, the sports seats allow the use of a five-point racing harness.

The tires, incidentally, were specially developed in partnership with Michelin. They’re 285/30 R20 at the front and 355/25 R21 at the rear.

If you’re interested in the new Bugatti Chiron, you might want to check your bank account quickly. The top-line brand of Volkswagen AG claims it has already lined up orders for a third of the planned production run.

(Acura may add brawnier NSX Type-R. Click Here for the exclusive report.)

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