Nothing happens quickly at Bugatti. To the contrary, the engineers and designers there are committed to building the finest automobiles that can be imagined at a given point in time. And they have now produced a car for our moment called the Chron. It looks like this when parked in front of your estate.
And what makes this car so special?
The Chiron, which will be revealed this week at the Geneva International Motor Show, is the improbable successor to the Veyron, the most extreme automobile ever built. The Veyron was an ode to excess, the fastest, most powerful, most lavishly appointed motor car available at any price. Its specifications are legendary: 1,200 horsepower, a top speed of 268.9 mph, and an average price of $2.6 million. Bugatti sold every one it built—450 in all—and, the story goes, lost money on every last one of them. But profit was never the point. The Veyron was born of one man’s relentless pursuit of the best, regardless of time or cost. It was a vehicle to appease the unappeasable.
So how would a successor to the Veyron meet expectations?
The Chiron was designed to surpass the Veyron in every aspect. The engineering brief could be summed up as “more.” It is faster, more comfortable, more elegant, more unconscionably and unfathomably powerful. Its massive 16-cylinder engine produces 1,500 horsepower and 1,200 pound-feet of torque. Its top speed remains unknown, but software will limit customers to 261 mph. It starts at $2.6 million, and the deposit that secures your place in line would buy you a Lamborghini Huracàn.
In other words, it is an absurdity, or if you will, a work of art. Not a car, but a work of art.
“We are not talking about transportation,” says (Wolfgang) Durheimer (head of Bugatti). “We are talking about being very fast, being very unusual, being top of the top.” The Chiron spits gasoline in the face of practicality, then tosses a match on it. It exists simply because one man insisted that it would, then directed his company to once again expend the time, money, and effort to make it so. It exists for no other reason than because it could. Which may well make it the last truly great internal combustion automobile.
That one man is Ferdinand Piëch.