In Depth

Bugatti Chiron 2017: What’s it like on the road?

Critics hail ‘special’ and ‘monstrously rapid’ successor to record-breaking Veyron

Bugatti wowed fans when it unveiled its 1,479bhp Chiron at last year’s Geneva Motor Show and it appears the critics are equally as impressed.

Named after 1950s F1 driver, Louis Chiron, the car is a direct successor to the recording-breaking Veyron, which became the fastest production car in the world after hitting a top speed of 268mph in 2005.

Out of the factory, the Chiron is limited to a top speed of 261mph, although that could change at a later date, allowing the hypercar to challenge for a new production speed record.

Under the sleek rear bodywork sits an eight-litre W16 quad-turbo engine, producing 1,479bhp and 1180lb-ft of torque, 300bhp and 80lb-ft more than the hardcore Veyron Super Sport.

Drive is sent to all-four wheels through seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, while a torque vectoring system modulates the distribution of power between the wheels for the best traction and cornering grip.

It comes with a £2.1m price tag, says AutoExpress, while only 500 examples are set to reach production.

The Chiron's ability to constantly deliver more power and grip is what makes it "something special", says Evo, adding that while its "plateau of torque" means it's not as "flighty" as the McLaren P1 or LaFerrari, it still feels "planted" and "agile".

However, says the site, exploiting the power is difficult. Squeezing the throttle pedal "sends you surging down the road with the insistence of an avalanche", although luckily, the brakes are "more than up to the task" of stopping its 4,398lbs.

A firmer push of the throttle will produce "quite a lot" of turbo lag, Autocar says, and the exhaust note isn't exactly "soulful".

Nevertheless, "body control is always good", regardless of what driving mode you are in, and the firm ride is "rarely crashy". The steering weight is also "good" and the self-centring is "just right", it adds.

Car disagrees, saying the steering feels "muted" compared to a McLaren P1 and there's too much "heft" when running in Handling mode. Still, it never feels "nervous" and the steering has a better weight when in the regular EB driving mode.

The Chiron is most at home when on an open A-road, "sweeping effortlessly" around bends and "shrinking the bit between them to almost nothing", adds the magazine.

While £2m hypercars often favour performance over practicality, the Chiron's interior is ergonomically "as sound as almost any other VW Group product", What Car? says, and it's easy to get in and out.

It also has a good driving position, adds the magazine, with the electronically adjustable steering wheel sitting in front of an analogue instrument panel. What Car? also claims the decision not include digital instruments was taken because Bugatti "likes to think that, in 50 years time, when the Chiron is at a car show and kids are peering through the window to see 'what it’ll do, mister#, they’ll read that it has a 500kph, or 300mph, speedometer".

However, continues the critic, visibility is "less impressive" and the car's 79ins width means it's difficult to "see the extremities". The "large light bar" inside the cabin doesn't help neither, although it does bathe the interior in a "warming glow" and enhances the two-seater cockpit feel.

Car and Driver says that in a world filled with hybrid hypercars and super-electrics, the Chiron is the "last of its kind", with its primary selling point being as an "object d'art" from a group that produces tens of thousands of cars every day.

It considers the Chiron to be automotive art that can be appreciated in all weather conditions while maintaining the level of luxury offered by boutique manufactures such as Pagani and Koenigsegg.

It's "monstrously rapid" and more engaging to drive than the Veyron, but it "doesn't quite move the goalposts" like its predecessor did over a decade ago.

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