In Depth

Bugatti Chiron vs Koenigsegg Agera RS: which is the king of speed?

Both have broken records but these are two very different hypercars

Since it was founded back in 1909, Bugatti has been known for producing some of the fastest and most expensive production cars money can buy.

The legendary French manufacturer’s most recent car, the Chiron, offers nearly 50% more power than supercars such as the McLaren P1, and a top speed of more than 260mph. 

One of the Chiron’s key rivals comes from Swedish hypercar maker Koenigsegg, whose Agera RS is almost identical to the Bugatti in terms of performance, yet costs half a million pounds less.

Both cars appeared in the headlines recently for breaking production car speed records - but which one takes the crown as the best hypercar on the market?

Performance

The Bugatti Chiron is powered by an 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 engine that delivers 1,479bhp and 1,180lb-ft of torque - 300bhp and 80lb-ft more than its track-focused predecessor, the Veyron Super Sport. 

Drive is sent to all-four wheels through a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, while a torque vectoring system manages the distribution of power across each wheel. This helps the 1,995kg hypercar generate more grip in corners by minimising understeer. 

Out of the factory, the Chiron is limited to a top speed of 261mph, but that could increase later in the car’s  cycle. 

Meanwhile, the Koenigsegg Agera RS features a mid-mounted 5.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 motor that outputs 1,160bhp and 1,735lb-ft of torque at 4,100rpm. Like the Chiron, the Agera RS comes with a seven-speed automatic gearbox, but power is only sent to the rear axle. 

Weighing in at just 1,395kg, the Agera RS is also considerably lighter than the nearly two-tonne French hypercar. 

Technology

The Agera RS is the more hardcore and track-focused vehicle of the two, with much of its technology aimed at increasing performance. 

It boasts an array of lightweight carbon fibre winglets, to generate downforce at high speeds, along with a high-tech active rear spoiler that can move to either increase the car’s grip around corners or to help achieve a greater top speed. 

Inside, it comes with an infotainment system with satnav and an MP3 player built in, as well as a USB connector so that drivers can sync and charge their smartphones. There’s also a switch to raise and lower the car’s ride height in order to help get over speed bumps. 

Bugatti has packed as much interior tech gear inside its hypercar as possible, which may explain its greater weight.

Although the Chiron gets a traditional analogue speedometer, says Top Gear, the hypercar gets a pair of TFT (Thin Film Transistor) crystal displays on either side of the speedo that offers “various entertainment and driving information”.

When the car is travelling at slower speeds, the website says, the screens show as much information as possible. However, “the amount of info on the screens thins out” when the Chiron is travelling at higher speeds, to allow drivers to “concentrate on keeping the car on the road”.

Records

Neither Bugatti nor Koenigsegg compete in any motorsport series, but that doesn’t mean the two companies aren’t locked in fierce competition.

The Chiron held the world record for the fastest 0-249-0mph (0-400-0kph) speed run, reports Autocar, which it completed in 41.96 seconds in August. Bugatti then launched the limited-edition Chiron 42 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September to celebrate the achievement. 

However, the magazine says, Koenigsegg took Chiron’s achievement as a challenge and completed the same 0-249-0mph run in its Agera RS – beating the French marque by 5.5 seconds.  

But the Swedish carmaker wasn’t finished, claiming the production car speed record from Bugatti less than a month later.  

During a test in the Nevada desert, the Koenigsegg Agera RS hypercar produced an average speed of 277.9mph - beating the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport’s record of 268mph, set in 2010.

Only time will tell if Bugatti removes the speed limiter from the Chiron – its successor to the aforementioned Veyron – in a bid to reclaim the production car record from Koenigsegg. 

Price

Koenigsegg has yet to reveal pricing for its exclusive Agera RS, but Cnet says a similar example of the record-breaking car - called Naraya - sold for around $2m (£1.5m) last year. 

That makes it approximately half a million pounds cheaper than the Bugatti, which according to Auto Express, will set buyers back £2.1m.

Verdict

Despite Koenigsegg’s recent success, it looks like the battle for the title of “world’s fastest production car” has just begun. 

Bugatti hasn’t really shown its full hand with the Chiron, as the French carmaker has yet to see how fast its hypercar will go without the 261mph limiter in place. As the manufacturer’s most powerful road car to date, the Chiron could still be capable of putting Bugatti back in the record books.

There’s also a third challenger on the horizon, with Texas-based tuning outfit Hennessey recently announcing its new Venom F5. The company says it has the potential to reach 300mph, but this has yet to be proven.  

Koenigsegg may be on top now, but it will have to fight to stay there. 

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