Is it this? Are we nearing engine peak? Automakers are stopping their development of internal combustion engines and switching to hybrid and electric power to power their most extreme models. So, along with a few other Bugattis with the same 1,578 horsepower engine, there’s a good chance that the Chiron Super Sport we just drove will be the most powerful combustion-engined production car ever produced by a major manufacturer.
Much could still happen. The new cars from Koenigsegg, SSC and Hennessey all claim equal or greater horsepower, but not all have yet been approved for road use and all require E85 fuel. The Bugatti develops its 1,578 horsepower on 93 premium octane, and deliveries begin early next year. When the history of the automotive internal combustion engine is written, that could be the last word.
How many superlatives would you want for your $ 3,825,000? The Chiron also claims to be the fastest production car in the world, after British Le Mans winner and Bugatti test driver Andy Wallace hit 304.8 mph in a Super Sport at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien track in August. 2019. This claim is not without controversy: the car was a prototype, and the speed was a peak, tuned in a way. Many others are aiming for the record, and Bugatti says he won’t defend it.
Yet to celebrate, he first announced the Super Sport 300+ with the same upgraded engine as the record breaking car. Only 30 will be made, all in the black and orange livery of the record holder. Owners will be able to have their 273 mph speed limiter removed from the factory if they wish to propel themselves beyond 300 mph. These cars are all sold, deliveries have just started and we are unlikely to have one to test.
Now comes this old Super Sport, which Bugatti says is also mechanically and aerodynamically identical to the record car, but can be specified however you like and the number is limited only by the fact that there are less than 50 left. of the 500 Chiron construction locations in total. Its top speed, however, is permanently limited to just 273 mph.
We drove him. It’s crazy. But if you can wait a bit to find out what it’s like to drive a car of such transcendent power, it’s worth browsing through the changes that have been made to break down that barrier. Despite all of its potential GOAT status (the greatest of all time), the modifications to the 8.0-liter W-16 engine are probably the least impressive. There are a bunch of detailed mods, but most of the extra 99 horsepower was bought cheaply with four bigger, more efficient turbos and a 300 RPM boost from the redline to 7,100 RPM, with peak torque of 1,180 lb-ft now available between 2,250 and 7,000 rpm, up from 6,000. Top gear (seventh) is now 3.6% higher. The suspension has been stiffened slightly and adaptive damping, electronic stability control and steering have all been modified for better stability at high speeds. Michelin developed bespoke Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires for the car, which are rated at 310 mph (another record) and were used on the platform created to test space shuttle tires to ensure that they could withstand the 5300g generated at this speed. Each is x-rayed for imperfections before delivery.
The aero package is arguably the smartest change, responsible for making this big car fly through the air at speeds above a race car with Volkswagen’s stability levels. The front features tiny fins and hard-to-spot holes designed to create perfect laminar flow along the car’s body. The nine that puncture the top of each fender relieve pressure in the wheel arches that could otherwise lift the front end. They also refer to the EB110 Super Sport.
The most obvious change is in the rear, the Super Sport gains an additional 7.4 inches of length with exuberantly shaped carbon molding that reduces drag by keeping the air attached longer and reducing by 44%. the “tear” area where he eventually leaves the car and becomes rowdy. The exhaust pipes are now stacked on top of each other, two on each side to increase the area of the diffuser. The latter is a long, gorgeous single carbon piece that starts amidships and rises aft, keeping the stern stuck at V-max with just one degree of wing angle.
None of these changes affect the Chiron’s remarkable docility at low speeds or its ability to squeeze through corners like a car with two-thirds of its mass on the narrow, two-lane French country roads near the Paul Ricard Circuit. Its good visibility, prodigious grip and fast, almost tactile steering make you quickly forget the value, size and power of what you’re driving. It’s not just a dragster, it’s made to be driven. It retains both the handling required for these mountain roads and the sophistication to make a steel-eyed industrialist travel from Munich to Monaco in the most complete luxury and before his Brioni pants have had it. time to wrinkle. Bugatti designed this car as a sort of ur-Chiron, with all the qualities of the original speed and power, but almost irrefutable. They might have succeeded.
Ah yes, that speed and that power. You have to be a neurological wonder to spot the difference from a standard Chiron on the road. A Pur Sport with only 1,479 horsepower but a 15% shorter gearing feels wilder, and Bugatti says it’s slightly faster up to 124 mph. It wasn’t until its next 186 mph acceleration metric that the Super Sport began to pull away, taking 12.1 seconds out of the 12.4 in the Pur Sport and the 13.1 in the standard car.
But when can you witness this? On a highway? Maybe, but briefly and very rarely. You can do this on the 1.8 mile Mistral straight from Paul Ricard. In a completely unscientific test, we exited turn 7 at roughly similar speeds in a Pur Sport and a Super Sport and went flat into the Mistral straight, braking early and at roughly the same spot. The Chiron’s configurable displays in the middle of the HVAC rotary controls showed that we had used all the power and revs of each car. Neither was done remotely after less than a mile, but the Pure Sport showed 206 mph at the Super Sport’s 217 mph braking point.
There you go: for a few fleeting seconds, you actually feel that marginal, usually academic, difference that manufacturers argue about and geeks obsess over and that customers pay for but seldom witness. The speed of the fastest car increases noticeably faster as it heads into the race car speed stratosphere and the exhaust note – a bit muffled in normal use – bellows like a god in anguish . The animal fear of what is being done to you is thwarted by the conscious knowledge that your car is following quite straight and true and that the stuffy old Volkswagen Group has endorsed this apparent madness. When you want it to stop, the rear wing straightens into its 39-degree airbrake position, shifts the center of pressure rearward, and lets you brake, knowing you’ve experienced something little. or no pure gasoline road cars will ever be able to match.
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