After a seemingly endless wait, Bugatti has finally confirmed plans to debut the replacement for its long-lived Veyron at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.
As long-rumored, the “hypercar” will be known as the Bugatti Chiron, a name borrowed both from Greek mythology and one of the more legendary Bugatti factory drivers.
While details remain to be seen, expectations are that the new Chiron will regain claim to being the world’s most powerful – and possibly fastest – automobile, with a 16-ylinder engine likely to produce something on the order of 1,500 horsepower.
There had been some concern that the Veyron replacement might need to be delayed, perhaps even scrapped, in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal surrounding Bugatti’s German parent, Volkswagen AG. The maker earlier this month announced a sharp cutback in capital spending and the delay of some future products, including the replacement for the old VW Phaeton. But the Bugatti Chiron project will move ahead as planned.
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“The development brief for the Chiron can be summarized in one sentence and is probably the shortest in the history of the automobile: we want to make the best significantly better,” Wolfgang Dürheimer, President of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S., said in a statement. “The Chiron will set new standards in every respect. We will continue to produce the world’s most powerful, fastest, most luxurious and most exclusive production super sports car. This is the claim of Bugatti and our customers.”
The Bugatti Chiron is expected to pick up where the old Veyron left off, borrowing key elements from the Vision Gran Turismo concept revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show. A sheet metal take on the digital model developed for the popular Gran Turismo videogame, it featured a distinctive, half-moon curve flowing from the base of the windshield, across the roof and then back down to frame the bottom of the doors.
The familiar horseshoe grille was framed by a more aggressive, pointed snout, a broad front spoiler riding barely above the ground, with a multi-level wing in the rear enhancing the show car’s downforce.
The overall look is lower and more menacing than the old Veyron, with dual quad LED headlamps glaring from narrow slits enhancing the aggressiveness of the Vision concept.
Meanwhile, the new model also is expected to lose some weight through the more extensive use of carbon fiber.
The production Bugatti Chiron is expected to be powered by an 8.0-liter W16 engine borrowed from the the Veyron – but here it will be paired with twin electric turbochargers for even more launch torque. It’s expected to reach 60 in a mere 2.5 seconds, with a jaw-dropping top speed rumored to be 288 mph.
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For the moment, the French-based maker will only hint that, “Bugatti Chiron will be the world’s most powerful, fastest, most luxurious and most exclusive production super sports car.”
While members of the media and the public at large will have to wait for Geneva to get a look at the new Bugatti Chiron, the maker has already been giving sneak peeks to potential buyers, Durheimer revealed.
“The feedback from our customers concerning the Chiron is outstanding,” said the Bugatti President. “Our order book is steadily filling up. More than 100 customers have already ordered the Chiron despite the fact that they have had no opportunity so far to experience the fantastic driving properties of the Chiron.”
With a price tag likely to approach $1.5 million or more, that’s a handsome order book.
It has long been expected that Bugatti would use the Chiron name for the Veyron replacement. It first hinted at that move with an 18-cylinder concept vehicle, the 18/3 Chiron, shown at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The name has its roots in Greek mythology, Chiron being the most cherished of the Centaurs, who were half men and half horse.
But Chiron – Louis Chiron, to be more precise, was the most famous driver from the legendary Bugatti racing team. He scored a long series of victories both before and after World War II, including both the 24-hour endurance race at spa, and the Monte Carlo Rally. He was, in fact, the only Monegasque driver to top the podium after the Monaco Grand Prix.
“It looks fantastic, just magnificent,” said Lydie Barre-Chiron, the driver’s heir and biographer. “The design already indicates that this car will be very powerful and very fast. If Louis Chiron were alive today, I’m sure he would be proud that such an extraordinary sports car is to bear his name and is to represent the brand with which he achieved his greatest successes.”
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